Flatford Mill is located amidst the quintessentially English countryside of the Dedham Vale. It is only an hour from London with excellent road and rail access.
The Centre is set across four buildings in beautiful John Constable country in Suffolk. The Mill and Willy Lott’s House are instantly recognisable since they feature in many paintings by Constable (location of his Haywain Painting).
It is situated at the end of a lane that has no through traffic and offers visitors of all ages a much
sought-after sense of tranquillity sitting on the banks of the River Stour.
Its 7 hectares of grounds include riverside and lake margins, woodland and grassland, quiet areas with picnic benches all connected by circular walks. It is within close proximity to ‘Heaths’ Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Flatford Mill is the first and original field study centre set up in the UK during the 1940’s.
It uses 100% green electricity and aims to be as eco-friendly as possible.
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. Note: not all centres have single/twin rooms. All rooms are subject to availability. 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.
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 most 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 visitors are receiving healthy, nutritious and sustainable meals.
To get a better idea on what food we offer at our centres, please see our sample meals
Flatford Mill sits in the Dedham Vale AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), with deciduous woodland, freshwater lakes, rivers and ponds, grassland and wildflower meadows. With beautiful vistas across the Dedham Vale and River Stour, we are lucky to regularly hear Cuckoos in the Spring as well as at other times in the year, seeing Cetti’s warblers, stunning Kingfishers and Barn Owls hunting across the open fields. Mammals such as voles, shrews and stoats are regular sightings as well as Muntjac deer being seen and heard, Otters are also seasonal visitors to the waterways around Flatford. Bats are spotted at dusk commonly, Pipistrelle and Daubentons, but also the much rarer Barbestelle bat has been found in our woodland.
Around our waterways we are also lucky to see a huge variety of Dragonflies, swooping and skimming over the water with flashes of magnificent colour, and our particular success story is the re-emergence of Great Crested Newts after a pond restoration, as we now have a thriving population.
Further afield within a short drive, we have spectacular salt marsh habitats within the Stour Estuary SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), the estuary is nationally important for thirteen species of wintering wildfowl and three on autumn passage, for coastal saltmarsh, sheltered muddy shores, two scarce marine invertebrates, scarce plants and three geological sites. Birds include Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin.
For Geographers Walton on the Naze is one of our special sites which is important for many reasons. Not only for the study of coastal features, process and management, The Naze is a place where wildlife thrives, from insects and Sand Martins living in the cliffs to nesting birds such as Common and Lesser Whitethroat and Cetti’s Warblers nesting in the John Weston Nature Reserve at the North end of the cliffs. To the East of the peninsula are the famous cliffs, 50 million years old and a designated site of special scientific interest due to the important stratigraphy and fossilised shark teeth and mollusc shells.
Travel to Flatford Mill
As part of our environmental commitment we encourage all visitors to travel by coach, train or public transport.
By road – The Centre is located between Colchester and Ipswich and is about 10 miles from each, approximately 2 miles from the A12. From London take the A12, which is
the main access route to Suffolk. Take the B1071 marked East Bergholt and Hadleigh, at the bottom of the slip road turn left. As you enter the village of East Bergholt continue on the main road through the village and out the other side. Take the first turning on the right, Gandish Road, follow this down to a crossroads and go straight over, this will take you into a narrow, one-way lane. After approx. ½ mile you will see the National Trust Car Park for Flatford on your left, just before this is a lane to the left signposted ‘Disabled Parking and Field Centre’. You will need to follow this lane until you reach The Mill. Please take care going down the lane to the Centre as it is a popular area and there may be lots of people and families wandering around. Continue driving past The Mill and Willy Lotts Cottage, the trail bends to the right, and the car park is at the end. Please park your vehicle, and then walk to Reception which is located at The Mill.
If you are travelling from north of Flatford, you will need to come down the A12 until you reach the exit for East Bergholt, at the bottom of the slip road turn left and then follow the directions as above.
By train – The nearest train station is Manningtree which is a 15-minute drive from the centre. The East is served by ‘National Express East Anglia’ and leaves London from Liverpool Street. It is advisable to book a taxi in advance, especially on a Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday. Contact numbers for Taxi providers are as follows:
Riverside – 01206 397563
Ian – 07764 599261
Paul- 07860 284847 (8-seater)
By bus – The centre is not accessible by a local bus route – it is about a 40 minute walk from East Bergholt where the bus stops. Please note that the lane down to the Field Centre is unsuitable for anything above a 30-seater. It is ok to park in the National Trust Car Park to unload. Coaches can remain for the duration of your stay by prior arrangement. Flatford Lane itself is unsuitable for double decker’s.
Courses and Experiences at Flatford Mill
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