July 31 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Dedham Vale’s Flatford Mill, made famous by John Constable’s landscape paintings, has been named as one of Britain’s best green spaces in a new poll.
A nationwide survey carried out by home and garden retailer Homebase has ranked the 18th century watermill on the Suffolk/Essex border among the nation’s top five favourite green spaces in the UK.
The poll ranked Flatford Mill as Britain’s fourth greatest green space, just behind The Good Life’s television studio garden in Surbiton (third) and the original Blue Peter garden in London (second).
Sherwood Forest, the alleged home of heroic outlaw Robin Hood, was rated the country’s best-loved green space.
Flatford Mill was the inspiration of some of Constable’s most famous paintings, including the Hay Wain, which depicts a rural scene on the River Stour.
Sarah Milne, visitor service supervisor at Flatford Mill, said she was delighted one of Suffolk’s best tourist attractions had been recognised in the survey.
“Flatford Mill is a great family day out,” she said.
“We have excellent tea rooms by the riverside with fresh homemade scones, it is a great place to bring disabled people and for dog walkers, and a good place for boating.
“People always tell us they love it here. John Constable loved it around here all his life. He painted eight paintings here among countless drawings and sketches.
“We have had a fantastic start to the year (in terms of tourism) and long may that continue.”
In the survey, Flatford Mill was rated above London’s Regents Park, the inspiration for the garden scenes in Mary Poppins (fifth), Kensington Gardens, where Peter Pan flies from his nursery (sixth) and Plymouth Hoe, the site where Sir Francis Drake was playing bowls when he found out about the Spanish Armada (seventh).
Meanwhile in eighth position was Beatrix Potter’s Lake District, ninth was Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire, the location of the apple tree that inspired Sir Isaac Newton’s thoughts on gravity, and 10th was Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, Hogwarts film location in the first two Harry Potter films.
A National Trust spokesman added: “Flatford lies in the heart of the beautiful Dedham Vale. This charming hamlet was the inspiration for some of John Constable’s most famous pictures.
“Wandering beside the River Stour or looking at Flatford Mill and Willy Lotts House you can feel as if you are actually walking through one of his paintings.”
She added: “We have plenty of parking and you can also come on foot by following the River Stour from Dedham or Manningtree.
“This is great walking countryside so you can take the family out, walk the dog or simply step back in time and absorb the places Constable knew and loved.”