FSC Flatford Mill is the first and original field study centre set up in the UK during the 1940’s. It is the Centre for Constable Country, set amidst the quintessentially English countryside of the Dedham Vale in Suffolk and sits on the banks of the River Stour. Flatford Mill runs residential field study visits for school students and provides a very wide range of natural history and art courses.
Customers stay in our internationally important buildings such as Willy Lotts’ House, (built in the 1500’s and made famous by John Constable’s ‘Haywain’ painting), Valley Farm (a medieval great hall built in the 1450’s) and of course the Mill itself that was owned and renovated by the Constable family in the 1700’s.
Food at our centres
For one day visits you are usually asked to bring a packed lunch unless it is specified otherwise.
Residential visits include freshly prepared seasonal meals, with a hot breakfast, packed lunch and choice of evening meal. Food is sourced locally wherever possible and we can cater for any dietary requirements. All of our residential centres have been awarded the Soil Association’s Food for Life Served Here Bronze Award which recognises organisations which go the extra mile to make sure children are receiving healthy, nutritious and sustainable meals.
We want your stay to be as comfortable as possible. Our residential centres offer a range of room sizes and layouts from single and twin up to larger dormitories. Some rooms are en suite and others have shower and toilet facilities close by. Please contact us if you want to discuss your room requirements.
Each centre also has places to relax during any free time such as a lounge, games room and outdoor space.
Health and Safety
- Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge
- Carbon Trust Standard
- Food Hygiene rating: 5*
- Investors in People
- Secondary Geography Quality Mark (Geographical Association)
- Primary Geography Quality Mark (Geographical Association)
- Eco Centre
- Green Tourism Award Gold
- Met Office active participant
- Safety Shield Health and Safety Award (Moorepay) Gold
How to find us
As part of our environmental commitment, we encourage all visitors to travel by coach, train or public transport. FSC has developed links with First Travel Solutions to help reduce the cost of transport for academic groups to our Centres. If you would like to receive a quote from First (Education & School) Travel, ask our administration team for more information.
Our nearest train station is Manningtree, about four miles away from the Centre. It is on the main line from London Liverpool Street to Ipswich/Norwich. The journey time from London is approximately one hour. You can also travel to Manningtree station from the north via Peterborough and Ipswich.
For school groups, we can arrange free minibus pick up and return to the train station.
For our adult learners, several taxis operate out of Manningtree station and can be pre-booked by us to meet you at the station and return you there at the end of your course. Alternatively, to make life easier (and as part of our environmental commitment) we can arrange a pickup from the train station for visitors staying at the Centre. There will also be one minibus returning to the station after the course. Please contact Reception for more details as the times of these transfers will vary from course to course.
The Centre is located between Colchester and Ipswich and is about 10 miles from each, approximately 2 miles from the A12.
From the crossroads near the ‘Oranges and Lemons’ cafe in East Bergholt, turn down Flatford Lane. It becomes one-way in your favour after 300m. 300m further on, note the direction arrow to the Field Centre on the tourist sign and turn down a narrow steep-sided lane (do not go into or beyond the Flatford public car park). Bear left at the bottom of the hill. The Centre forecourt is then 200m further on, indicated by an FSC logo and sign on a low wall. Our car park is 150m further down the lane.
When you arrive, please announce your arrival at Reception. The entrance is by the sign on the far side of the forecourt.
By Bus, Bike Or On Foot
The 93 and 93A bus services between Colchester and Ipswich are operated by Ipswich Buses and run through East Bergholt. Ask for the Kings Head / Oranges and Lemons bus stop and then walk down to the Centre using the ‘By Car’ directions above. The Centre can be reached via the St Edmunds Way (which also goes past Manningtree train station) and Stour Valley footpaths. Grid Reference TM 07693322. The Centre is also within a few kilometres of the Sustrans National Cycle Network Route 1.
If you feel inclined and have the wherewithal / sense of adventure, it has been know, for people to use the River Stour and kayak….