Stour Valley Path 7: Stoke-by-Nayland to Cattawade
21 August 2011
With one thing and another, it's been three months
since Stephen last did any stage walking on UK long-distance paths, on
the Stour Valley Path back in May. Today it was time to return to the
Stour Valley to walk the last stage, the whole of today's walk being in
the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which boded well.
Passing the Crown in Stoke-by-Nayland, with pleasant smells emerging
early on Sunday lunchtime.
Away from the village, heading across a sheep-filled field towards the
George looking clean and fluffy as we cross the Box.
Immediately downstream of the confluence of the Box and Stour, we cross
the Stour into Essex for the final time on this walk.
George in a field of onions
Walking near lakes not shown on the Ordnance Survey maps
Presumably the sand is for horses, though it ends rather abruptly behind
The old London-Ipswich road through Stratford St Mary, fortunately now
bypassed by the A12
From the A12, there is an extended very pleasant section walking along
the banks of the Stour. For a walk named the Stour Valley Path, although
we've crossed the river a fair bit, there has been very little walking
Approaching Dedham Mill, a rather unusual construction on the other side
of the river
The other side of the road from Dedham Mill, Sunday picnickers are out
in force, together with lots of people messing about in boats - sharing
the river with three cows.
Crossing to the south bank of the Stour at Fen Bridge, though remaining
in Suffolk as the county border has wandered to the south to follow the
Old Dedham River, perhaps the main course of the river before the Stour
was turned into a navigation.
At Flatford Mill we return to the northern bank
The Granary at Flatford is now a bed and breakfast
Willy Lott's house and a fair approximation of the closest one can now
get of the view painted by Constable in The Haywain - he compressed the
roof of Willy Lott's house for artistic effect.
Away from all the Constable visitors, as we near the end of our walk the
last pleasant section is across the edge of the marshes of the Stour
There then follows a section along a pavement with a protected roadside
nature reserve - the first time I've seen such a sign. It's good to see
the nature value of roadside verges being recognised, but I can't help
wishing that there were the resources also to offer a safe and wide
route for pedestrians (rather than its width being further constrained
by the nature reserve spreading across it), perhaps by putting it inside
So to Cattawade picnic site and the end of the walk; this is the point
where a couple of years ago I began the Stour and Orwell Walk, which
continues along the river, but a very different river.
Total 16.2 km in 4 hours. A shame that the last section was along the road but
overall a very pleasant walk, particularly the section east of the A12 along the
riverbanks which was delightful.