Visit Dedham Vale
The Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is situated along the River Stour on the Essex-Suffolk border in eastern England. The area further west along the Stour River, past Sudbury and on to Haverhill, is not within the AONB but is promoted as the Stour Valley region and also worth exploring at the same time.
Situated between the village of Bures and the small town of Manningtree, other Dedham Vale villages include Neyland, Little Horkesley, Polstead, Stoke-by-Nayland, Boxted, Higham, Stratford Saint Mary, East Bergholt, Flatford (home to the Dedham Vale Visitor Information Centre), and Dedham itself. Many of these villages are well worth visiting, each having its own particular charm with traditional houses and churches, 'chocolate-box' thatched cottages and centuries old pubs to enjoy.
The landscape along Dedham Vale comprises gently rolling countryside and the scenery along the river itself - the primary reason why the region has been designated and area of outstanding natural beauty and an attractive mix of watery meadows, marshes and small copses of trees with the slow flowing river as picturesque backdrop.
The region is also known as 'Constable Country' after the renowned artist John Constable who portrayed the scenic attractions of the region in many of his paintings.
Outdoors: cycling and Dedham Vale walks
Much the best way to enjoy the region is on foot ot by bike. There are lots of marked walks, while sections of the Stour Valley Path (a 60 mile trail that follows much of the Stour Valley) can also be walked, giving a lovely attraction to the region.
Being a cyclist I must suggest the Stour Valley cycle route, a 70 mile circuit which follows quiet roads along the valley (information available from Sudbury Tourist Offices - I can't find details on the internet, sorry!), but in any case if you follow the road that follows the valley Bures - Nayland - Stoke-by-Nayland - Higham - Dedham - Flatford - Manningtree with a few small diversions you'll be on the right track!