I am very fortunate to be living in Boxted Village as it neighbours the Dedham Vale, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Its river, the Stour, runs along the Suffolk -Essex border through what is known as ‘Constable Country’, so-called after the paintings by John Constable, such as the infamous ‘Haywain’.
It is comprised of a serious of picturesque villages, ancient woodland, important wildlife habitats and, of course, the beautiful tree-lined river itself. The Vale also comprises an important system of flood meadows – which have been underwater since the thawing of our recent snowfall.
I was lucky enough to spend a very enjoyable morning walking part of the Vale with my good friend Karen (see picture immediately above). It was a bright sunny day with a chill wind, and the flooding caused us to vary our normal route. I really loved taking photos of the meadows – as nothing looked familiar, and it was hard to tell what was ‘river’ and what was supposed to be meadow…..it was disorientating but fascinating experience, like we had crossed over a threshold into a parallel universe – where the vale existed albeit in a differing form. Even the ‘pollarded’ willows looked like strange creatures wading through the water. The only beacon of familiarity we could see from the fields was the tower of Dedham church guiding us back home. We started and finished our walk there, the village being just inside the Essex border. It is a former ‘wool town’, and the architecture reflects its former glory. I must do a Dedham Photoshoot soon !