Rusty and I took a lazy late afternoon walk along the River Stour this week – setting off from our neighbouring village of Nayland, just over the border in Suffolk. Although the village is a well-known beauty spot within the Dedham Vale AONB, the walk along the river here is relatively unknown. We met only birds and animals on our travels, and the tranquility of the unspoilt countryside basking in the late afternoon sun was a pure joy….
Wissington is colloquially known as Wiston; in fact is pronounced by the older locals as “Wisson”. The river and meadows form the main scenery of this walk, which is punctuated by the highlights of the old mill and church.
The land bordering the river was mostly pastoral, and views like this one reminded me of rural France. Rusty had great fun exploring and decided to do some hunting poses for the camera…..
I was delighted by the simple rural vistas along our way, and the warm light gave an ethereal quality to the landscape.
The blossoming trees dotted the path, this apple blossom adding a pink hue to the main palette of yellows and greens……
Our first landmark along the way was Wissington Mill – an impressive wooden – clad building, that was a working mill from the 14th to the early 20th centuries.
The farm; to which it now seems to belong, was stocked with gorgeous spring lambs and their mothers. Surprisingly, they were very inquisitive, and several came right to the boundary fence to sniff at Rusty.
The mothers came too – and allowed me some wonderful opportunities to capture their young……..
My favourite shots were those of lambs doing what they do best – being playful……
The house attached to the mill had its entrance gate open, as if to invite us in to explore….
…..but Rusty was waiting for me to continue the walk.
We came to a choice of routes at this point, where a wide wooden footbridge crossed the Stour. I knew that we had to continue along our existing path, as I had caught a glimpse of a church spire up ahead, but we diverted to the bridge to admire the late sun illuminate the tree-lined river.
I could not quite believe how I had lived so close to this stretch of my local river for 20 years without finding this wonderfully unspoilt place before. I was so excited as I approached the church – which was set in an idyllic spot adjacent to tumble-down farm buildings and Wiston Manor.
It seemed to inhabit a world that time had forgotten, with its old wooden gate and abandoned farm machinery. It was not so much unkempt, as beautifully wild and natural. The church is one of the few Norman churches in Suffolk, and has fantastic medieval wall paintings within. I will need revisit to see those, as I was quite late and the church had been closed up for the evening.
I loved the colours the sun created on the old bricks and barns…….
Rusty was keen to get moving, as it was getting near his teatime, and I didn’t know how long we had been walking – such was my feeling of relaxation !
We walked steadily on our return journey, past Wiston Manor.
This front part of the Hall ( 1791) was built by John Soane; architect of the Bank of England, for the then Governor – Samuel Beachcroft.
As we returned towards Nayland our path took us closer to expanses of ploughed field, which I photographed for its abstract qualities…
Although the return journey was not as picturesque as my amble alongside the river bank, I was lucky to capture this welcoming vista of Nayland church . It heralded our destination, and conveyed a real sense of rural serenity. It was the perfect end to a delightful walk…..