Daniel – Marketing – Flatford Mill Day Trip

Being born and bred in Suffolk you would forgive me for thinking I have enjoyed all the county has to offer. I have spent many a bank holiday or weekend on the beaches of Aldeburgh and Southwold, the market towns of Woodbridge and Bury St Edmunds and the amidst the tress and tranquility of Thetford Forest.

When this past Good Friday came along I was need of inspiration for a day out for my partner and I. Fortunately I work for a holiday company so inspiration is never too far away. A location that I have been intrigued to visit since going through the production of our 2012 brochure is Flatford Mill, which is part of our Constable Country tour.

Perfectly nestled within the patchwork landscape of Suffolk it’s easy to see how the area inspired John Constable to produce some of his most famous paintings.

The atmosphere is calm, relaxed and peaceful where visitors share the grounds with the local wildlife. Our day began with a brunch in the lovely riverside tea-room. Our table was just in from the large sliding class doors. It was one of those days when the sun was out but there was  a chill in the air. Our brunch consisted of a ham ploughmans, slice of carrot cake and of course a pot of tea. It goes without saying that the carrot cake was delicious, especially when eaten before the ploughmans.

After our relaxing brunch we spotted the rowing boats out on the narrow River Stour. We didn’t have to think twice about taking one out. It does seem odd to me that the action of rowing requires you not to see where you are going. At first the job of navigator was given to my partner, together we would discover all the River Stour had to offer. However this soon turned into us discovering river bank as we tackled the first bend. A tactical change was need.
I noticed the friendly gentlemen who help us aboard our wooden vessel placed in a rather small and plastic oar along with the two rugged and fearsome ones I was using to power us along. This smaller oar must be to steer. My partner was been given an honorary promotion to both Navigator and Helmsman.
All was going well, I was picking up a good pace and we watched the rolling countryside dotted with walkers, cyclists and a few dogs past us by on our starboard side. Before I could say the words ‘we are a good team’ I was launched from my seat to front of boat, barely holding on as I tried to find my balance I dropped my left ore into the river, needless to say we had crashed straight into a low lying branch of a tree.

From boat to foot we continued to explore the area trying to avoid any awkward confrontations with the ducks and swans. It goes without saying the title of ‘area of outstanding natural beauty ‘ is well deserved. If you pause for a moment you can really take in peaceful Dedham Vale as you will hear the sounds of the birds, the light breeze through the trees and arguably the fait sound of the A12 in the distance. As we loop back round towards the riverside tea-room we pass stunning historic thatched roof architecture. One of the finest examples is the The Granary B&B, perfectly located by river. As we walked past, and peered in, I thought to myself this would be great place for a wedding reception, I kept these thought to myself so no one got any ideas!

Before heading back to the car we take a walk around the Wild Life Garden. All the bugs and birds are really being spoilt at Flatford. They have endless acres of beautiful country at their disposable and a purpose built sanctuary / garden too! I think they deserve it, only nature could have done such as a great job in maintaining this wonderful location.

I would highly recommend a visit to Flatford Mill. The site is a real gem in Suffolk’s crown. All the family will appreciate the surroundings, architecture and nature. John Constable certainly found the perfect location to express his artistic prowess and im sure you will leave with a little bit of that inspiration and vision.

Daniel – April 12th 2012

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