Heart of Constable Country
This ride takes you right round the heart of the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, more commonly known as Constable Country. Best cycled as an anti-clockwise loop.
Mill Lane Public Car Park in Dedham village. Postcode CO7 6DH.
Take particular care on the first mile heading north out of Dedham, which can be quite busy. After that, the remainder of the route is all on quiet country lanes with very little traffic. There is just one 100m section of fast A road south of Nayland, but it has an extremely wide flat grass verge where you can keep off the road if you wish to.
Dedham has a selection of pubs, cafes and restaurants for refreshments before or after your ride.
On the route itslf, the main refreshment opportunities are at Stoke by Nayland (The Crown Inn, The Angel Inn & a village shop) and Nayland (The Anchor Inn on the riverbank).
Points of Interest
Almost immediately after starting this ride, you cross a bridge over the River Stour (and passing from Essex into Suffolk). Take a few moments to admire the view both ways along the beautiful riverside meadows.
There are some lovely old houses surrounding the small village green here. Leaving Higham you will cross the River Brett ( a tributary of the Stour).
Just south of this tiny hamlet, the route offers some delightful panoramic views over three local river valleys - the Stour, the Box and the Brett rivers.
This secretive hamlet clings to the hilly slopes on each side of the River Box. There are some delectable old properties to admire here.
Stoke by Nayland boasts some delightful medieval houses, two excellent village Inns and a stunning 15th century hilltop church which has been a prominent landmark in several John Constable paintings.
Nayland is a beautifully preserved medieval village on the banks of the River Stour. The Anchor Inn pub is an excellent pitstop where you sit outside right next to the river.
John Constable sat on top the church tower here to paint several pictures of Dedham Vale