Monday, 10 October 2011

The Only Way is Essex (And a Little Bit of Suffolk)

So after the hot weather last weekend, this Sunday was the real start of autumn. The boyfriend and I went for a long walk in Manningtree following some of the Essex Way footpaths to Dedham along the river Stour and to Flatford. 

It was the most perfect autumn day with clear bright sunshine, a sharp breeze and fresh earthy smells.  Autumn colours were everywhere.  Wide open green meadows, brown, orange and yellow leaves, trees and lichens. 

The first five miles or so we didn't encounter any other people.  We did get a little intimidated by some horses crossing the footpath through a farmers field and so we hid under a fence.  But the horses were just being friendly.  Oh dear!

There was just something fantastic and romantic about being outside in the countryside. Hay barns, acorns, conkers, lichen growing up walls, little streams, kissing gates, styles, weirs, rusting roofes and an abandoned tractor.  For lunch we stopped off at a beautiful old yellow beamed pub in Dedham Vale for a ploughman's and pint of cider.

I grew up in Essex and can remember punting on the Stour in summer holidays so loved seeing the little fleet of boats as we wandered along the river after lunch.  There were more people on this stretch, although it was still quiet.

We reached Flatford, the home of John Constable and the inspiration for much of his art.  Willy Lott's cottage has been preserved and there's also a teaching facility in a national trust centre. Here is my almost Hay Wain. 

We made it back to Manningtree just before it got dark, slightly achy from a long day but happy and contended.  I've felt rejuvenated and calm all day.  We will go back. x

PS. I think  have mentioned before how outstandingly stylish The Boyfriend is? Well I thought I might add that while I wore old leggings and my gym trainers for our walk The Boyfriend was dressed head to foot in Albam

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