Suffolk - South Suffolk & The Stour Valley


Church of St Peter and St Paul Clare Suffolk by Laurence MitchellChurch of St Peter and St Paul, Clare © Laurence Mitchell

The Stour Valley is still very much a rural idyll, as the Stour babbles its way through fields of contented cattle and past improbably perfect-looking villages. 

In the south of the county, the Stour Valley is still very much a rural idyll, as the Stour babbles its way through fields of contented cattle and past improbably perfect-looking villages. A chocolate-box scene as painted by John Constable – and it was … many times over. It is not so much that Constable was a great painter – although he undoubtedly was – but what he painted. Though the healthy character of Constable’s Suffolk has disappeared, the subject matter of many of his works is still easily identifiable almost two centuries later.

This gives all of us a warm, fuzzy sense of continuity and tradition, and delights even those who do not normally have much time for paintings. Most of all, it somehow encapsulates the essence of rural England. The irony is that many who live here among the Stour Valley’s timber-framed splendours are also those that have the most tenuous connections to the area – a classic incomers versus disgruntled locals dilemma. London and the Home Counties are sometimes just a little too close for comfort and the goose that laid the golden egg is in danger of being flattened beneath the wheels of a commuting 4x4. In the old days, geese would walk all the way to London from the area. There again, it was always just a one-way trip.

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Suffolk articles

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Pargeting

This art of decorative plastering is a regular feature of buildings across the county.

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The Angles Way in winter

Author Laurence Mitchell describes this delightful walk through the Waveney Valley.

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Molly dancing in East Anglia

Author Laurence Mitchell discusses this 'Morris dancing with a menace'.

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