Essex/Suffolk Border

Taken from www.essextouristguide.com & www.nationaltrust.org.uk 

 Dedham Vale/Flatford 

boatsdedhamLocated at the heart of Constable Country and situated on the River Stour, you will find the former wealthy wool and market town of Dedham. Just a short drive down the A12 from Colchester and perched on the Essex/Suffolk border, you will find yourself amongst some of the most beautiful and picturesque landscape in the county. The River Stour forms the boundary between Essex and Suffolk and provides the many tourists visiting the Dedham Vale area with some stunning scenery. This remarkable landscape also features in many of John Constable’s paintings. A visit to the Boathouse Restaurant  will not only provide a friendly and relaxing atmosphere to enjoy a drink or even a meal, but as the name suggests you could also hire a rowing boat and take a leisurely trip down the Stour. If you have the energy, approximately a mile and a half down the river from Dedham is Flatford Mill, made famous by John Constable. The Water Meadows of the River Stour make for interesting and relaxing walks, with cattle and horses grazing nearby, sheep visible on Grove Hill and a varied wildlife.

At the centre of the village is the Parish Church with its 131 foot tower clearly visible. Dating back to the late 15th century, this magnificent building is close to my heart as my two Daughters were christened there. On permanent display at the church is John Constable's The Ascension, courtesy of The Constable Trust. So popular is the village that it attracts visitors young and old from across the world and gets very busy during the summer months. This can be confirmed by reading the guest book located in the Parish Church. With adequate free car parking and a coach park just a short walk from the village centre and the River Stour, getting to and around this historic village is stress free. With plenty of places to eat and drink, attractions such as the Sir Alfred Munnings Art Museum and the Dedham Art & Craft Centre, stunning views of the Vale and a warm welcome from the local townsfolk, why wait to visit. Although busiest and most popular in the summer, the scenery during the winter months is also not to be missed.

Mersea Island

Taken from Wikapedia image from Geograph

merseaMersea Island, meaning 'island of the pool', is the most easterly inhabited island in the UK, 9 miles to the southeast of Colchester. It is joined to the mainland by a causeway, known as The Strood. This carries the Mersea–Colchester road which is often covered at high tides and especially spring tides. There are two main settlements on the island, the small town of West Mersea and the village of East Mersea.

The Mersea Regatta is a week-long late summer festival of boat racing. The week of the festival changes each year depending on the tide tables - it is the last Saturday in August to have a high tide at around midday.

During the week, starting on Monday, there are races for many boat classes - from Optimists up to large yachts. The most celebrated race is the annual 'Round-the-Island' race in which about 200 dinghies attempt to sail all the way around the island, helped over the Strood by volunteers. These races usually take place in the Blackwater Estuary.

Mersea is a place to visit for the world famous Oysters, supplied to the Royal family, and the Oyster bar is worth a visit for Fish and Chips overlooking the harbour. 

You can find Cudmore Grove at the eastern end of Mersea Island, with fine views across the Colne and Blackwater estuaries. Walk the sea wall, explore the shore and watch for wildlife. Behind the sandy beach is an area of cliff top and grassland providing a tranquil open landscape for picnics, flying kites and other outdoor activities.

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