Discover: Grove Farm
Set in rural landscape just outside of the tiny hamlet of ‘Priory Green’, we are accessed only by a single track lane with footpaths and fields to stroll through from our doorstep and a dog friendly Micro Brewery often with live bands performing just a couple of fields away, these cottages are the perfect place for a peaceful, rural break.
The South Suffolk Cycle Route runs right past these cottages, sign posting you through the most beautiful villages in Suffolk such as Boxford, Kersey and the ‘Lovejoy’ famed Long Melford with its many antique shops lining the longest village high street in England. Bikes are available free of charge, the perfect way to explore these quaint little villages.
I have marked out a walkers OS map with all of the best pubs, restaurants and village highlights to make your break easy to fill with great stuff to see and do.
There is a large car park for the guests of the Grove Farm Cottages overlooking the big Orchard which is doggy exercise area.
There are many pretty walks straight from the cottages with both the picturesque Church and the local Camra pub being just a 15 minute walk accross the fields.
Just 10 minutes away is Polstead where the steep little hills lead down to the river Stour, there are some wonderful walks here along the pilgrims way or explore the lovely woodland at Polstead called The Dollops where the bluebells put on a wonderful Springtime display: Polstead
Food & Drink
Try one of the many great Gastro pubs around like ‘The Lindsey Red Rose’ or ‘The Anchor’ in Nayland overlooking the river Stour. Or perhaps try the award winning ‘Crown’ in Nayland or Bildeston, The Great House Restaurant or The Swan Hotel in Lavenham which are fabulous restaurants.
In Charles Dickens’s days, boys living in Scotland and here in East Anglia would be allowed to leave boarding school a day early because it took so long to get back home to those places.
Even though we are just 60 miles from London, this area was always very inaccessible and remained so until very recent times.
Now the local mainline train journey to London is a mere 45 minutes and a car journey takes about an hour and a half.
But still Suffolk has retained an unusually strong independent rural atmosphere and one of the great joys of the area are the beautiful little hamlets that even locals get lost getting to though the meandering ‘spiders web’ of tiny lanes and byroads. Many of these villages are wonderfully preserved in their medieval origins, our local village of Lavenham being a fantastic example.
The area is very rich in History from the Saxon treasure of Sutton Hoo and the rebel Queen Boadicea who defeated the Romans, right up to the many expeditions of Settlers leaving for America – in fact the First Governor of Massachusetts came from this tiny hamlet of Edwardstone when I am based at The Old Grove Farm.
The landscape and the Architectural beauty of the area has long inspired Artists to work and move here. The greatest English landscape painter John Constable painted all his famous masterpieces along the Stour which is just 5 miles from The Grove Cottages. His work undoubtedly created this landscape as the quintessential English Landscape, which is one reason why visitors to the area feel so at home.
Flatford Mill where many of Constables most well known works of art such as ‘The Haywain’ were painted is now a National Trust area devoted to this artist and preserving his memory and the area he made so famous.
The Great Portrait painter Thomas Gainsborough lived in Sudbury which is the closest town to us and it is a real pleasure to visit his home which is now a very interesting museum and exciting showplace for local artists and events, it also has a wonderful print making workshop where courses on all kinds of printmaking are constantly held and very much sought after.
The great artist Sir Alfred Munnings, famous for his portraits of Rural Suffolk Life lived and had his studio close to the river Stour at Dedham and these are now an interesting museum devoted to him and his works of art.
For more information, please visit: my ’What to Do’ Web Pages where I have an extensive insider’s guide to South Suffolk
Above are a few photos I took around the area of Lavenham, Long Melford and Polsted – The seaside is at Aldeburgh which is a totally unspoilt seaside village, famous for its Arts events and good food – it is about 50 minutes from Lavenham.
About the Suffolk Coast
Below is a recent article about the Suffolk Coast
Joanna Symons, Telegraph Travel Newspaper January 2nd 2010.
“Popular though the Lake District and West Country are as tourist destinations, they can be rather damp. If you want to reduce the risk of a rainy holiday, statistics show that you should head east. Suffolk for instance, had only about a third as much rainfall as the Lake District last summer. It also happens to have one of the loveliest stretches of coastline in Britain.”
The Met office regional statistics per annum.
The Lake District Suffolk
Rain fall 2300 – 3900mm 600 – 660 mm