Gallery: Walberswick named best for ‘celebrity spotting’ as it appears alongside Clare and Dedham in Sunday Times’ Best Places to Live in the Countryside guide
Three of the region’s most picturesque towns and villages have been included in a national newspaper’s definitive top 50 countryside locations to live.
Walberswick, on the Suffolk coast; Clare, in the west of the county; and Dedham, in the heart of Constable Country on the Essex border, all feature in The Sunday Times’ Best Places to Live in the Countryside, to be published this weekend.
The annual supplement also names Walberswick – sometimes referred to as “Notting Hill on Sea” due to the number of film and television personalities living there – as the best place for “celebrity spotting”.
Film writer Richard Curtis and his partner Emma Freud are two of the most well documented residents.
Nick Attfield, landlord at The Bell, said although the village was home to many celebrities, they were left to live in peace.
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“That’s the way they like it and that’s the way we like it too,” he added.
Having spent most of his life in the area, Mr Attfield, 37, said he could understand the village’s inclusion in the list, though he feared such coverage would only exacerbate the influx of second homeowners.
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“It was always the bohemian, artistic place; slightly more eccentric than the gentrified neighbours of Southwold on the other side of the river, which was the charm of the place when I was growing up,” he added. “But it’s changed dramatically in the last 10-15 years since the tourism took off.”
Fellow landlord Mark Dorber, owner of The Anchor, agreed there were concerns about second homeowners, though he was also keen to highlight the village’s “unspoilt” beauty.
“The quality of its light, the contrast between reedbeds, shore, estuary and undulating wolds is endlessly fascinating and healing,” he added.
Parish chairman Esme Richardson said the village and surrounding countryside was “beautiful – absolutely stunning”.
To the west of the county Paul Bishop, chairman of Clare Town Council, said he was “very pleased” with his town’s mention.
“Clare is the smallest town in Suffolk,” he added. “It’s good, basically it’s got that in-between feel: it’s not a quiet, sleepy village, it’s not a big town.”
He highlighted the town’s independent businesses as further reasons for its success and also the country park, which as a “real draw for people”.
In the heart of Constable Country, Sheila Beeton, chairman of Dedham Parish Council, said there was many positive aspects to the village.
“The top thing is being in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and you can walk around the footpaths and do routes that Constable would have done when he worked in the area,” she added.
“Apart from a few natural changes where trees have died it has not changed significantly since Constable times, and in a world where so much is changing – often for the good – people do feel comforted that there’s some stability.”