1927 Tour 012

(If continuing the tour, reverse this section)

Ashen is on the verge of the Stour valley.  Onward the river is always near, as the way is made through Clare, past Cavendish church and Long Melford green, and into Sudbury, which, like Clare, is a charming country town full of old timbered and plaster houses.  By the north bank of the river the road reaches Nayland, once a wool town, and now, in its old age, an ideal place in which to count the sunny hours, catch perch or saunter by calm waters.  Over the bridge, and by the first turning on the left to Boxted, is the way into the haunts that once were trodden by the genial and inspired artist, John Constable.  The wide vale that he knew, and many of the things he loved to paint, cannot have greatly changed with the passing of the years.  The thatched cottages, the mills, the pretty villages, each with a square church tower, and the river winding between green pastures are still to be seen, clumps of trees, too, and lines of willows, and poplars, and elms, that bring a peculiar light contrast of colour to the deeper tones of the wooded undulations that encircle the vale.  The narrow lane from Nayland gives views across the river, with Stoke church – one of Constable’s favourite subjects – always high against the skyline.  After Boxted and Langham, where a capital mill may be found away down to the left, the Ipswich highway bears down Gun Hill.  From this point is an ideal approach to Dedham, embracing all the charms of the Stour valley scenery.  The village view makes an impressive group of church and red roofs set amidst the opalescent greenery of the foliage, and surrounded by water-meadows, patches of woodland, and sloping lands.  Constable was born in the neighbouring village of East Bergholt – the house has been pulled down – and by the river a mile away from the village are his famous subjects of Flatford Mill and Willy Lott’s cottage.

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