Constable Country Truly Local Guide

Forget the guide books, here are some truly local tips about Constable Country that you won’t find anywhere else!

Silk Capital of England

Did you know that there are 4 working silk mills in the medieval town of Sudbury? David Walters Fabrics, Sudbury, wove the silk for the wedding dresses of Princess Anne in 1973 and the Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. A successful textiles industry was first established here in the 14th century and it wasn’t until the 19th century that the silk trade became established in this area. Sudbury remains the centre of the UK silk manufacturing industry and produces a wide range of quality fabrics. Today it is celebrated as the Silk capital of England, although the town has historically tried to keep this quiet, that is all about to change as various events and festivals are due to take place in 2018 to celebrate the silent industry that prospers in this historical part of Suffolk including a silk exhibition at Gainsborough House and silk walks through the town.

Wild swimming

The River Stour is a main feature of this part of South Suffolk. It may be beautiful, but it also offers several wild swimming spots! Wild swimming has become increasingly popular over recent years and is one of Summer’s greatest pleasures. Whether you are an advanced wild swimmer or fancy trying something new, there is a lovely spot at Fen Bridge near Dedham, which is quiet with fairly deep water. Remember, wild swimming should only be undertaken by strong swimmers, and that any wild swimming you do is always at your own risk. Before you set out make sure you are aware of weather conditions, water levels, exit and entry points, and anything else that might affect your safety.

Foraging in Constable Country

There’s nothing better than foraging for your own food, and Constable Country is the ideal place for gathering wild food with the Dedham Vale AONB... If you know what you’re looking for then the countryside is your larder! Otherwise, book yourself on one of the Spring Forage and Wild Food Cooking Courses at Arger Fen & Tiger Hill in Bures. You’ll be guided through the countryside by an expert where you will be shown what to pick and how to cook it. Remember, you must never pick anything that don’t know what it is and if you are unsure seek advice from an expert before eating any foraged foods.

The Museum of Hot Chocolate

If you, or someone you know, is a chocoholic then this is the place for you! Marimba chocolate shop in Sudbury has recently opened a museum dedicated to hot chocolate. This specialist museum charts the history of hot cocoa from the early civilisations of central America, through the Spanish conquistadors to more than 400 years of chocolate beverages in the UK. Items of interest for the area include a cocoa pack from the 1940s that was produced by a grocery store in local village Stoke-by-Clare.

Dark Skies

The Dedham Vale AONB is trying to achieve dark sky status thanks to its stunning sky quality at night which is appealing to expert and novice astrologers alike. Until it gets the accreditation it deserves you can still enjoy the incredible dark skies, which are particularly in the off peak months when the nights are longer and the skies are at their darkest. The Cock Inn at Polstead is known to hold astrology events.