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Walk H: Flatford Focus

Flatford is one of the key locations we've been walking through. On this shorter walk, we take a closer look around Flatford

A focus on Flatford

Flatford is one of the key locations we’ve been walking through. On this shorter walk, we be take a different approach and explore the site in more detail.

Starting with viewing ‘River Stour’, a viewpoint we have passed by on several of our walks, we’ll take a short stroll along the lane to the Flatford Mill itself, and the renowned Willy Lott’s cottage. Undoubtedly Constable’s most famous painting, ‘The Hay Wain’ takes in this scene, but the 1831 print entitled ‘Mill Stream’ print is based on an earlier painting, ‘The Mill Stream’ (c.1814), which is now in the collections at Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich. This walk provides us with an opportunity to inspect this mezzotint.

Oliver Rackham, a historical ecologist, stayed at Valley Farm in Flatford several times on field trips to study the area. As we walk around, we can explore his notebook entries where he recorded his thoughts on the construction of Willy Lott’s Cottage, the impact of Elm Disease and river pollution, and the sunken lane (or holloway) back up towards East Bergholt.

We’ll also wander around to the other side of the river to explore the area around the lock, which leads down river and out to sea. Looking back towards the Flatford Bridge, we’ll inspect another print we’ve not yet had a chance to view, ‘A Lock on the Stour’.

In addition to viewing some of the prints we’ve not yet used, we’ll make the most of the opportunity to dwell in the natural environment of Flatford, by ambling a short distance upstream, and also to experience the sunken lane which heads back up the valley edge to East Bergholt.

“How Nature paints her colours: how the bee sits on the bloom extracting liquid sweets.

Paradise Lost (Book V), John Milton, 1667

The walking route