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RSPB Wildlife Garden in Flatford

RSPB Wildlife Garden 2012In a quiet corner on the Suffolk/Essex border, the RSPB have brought to life their exciting plans to transform an overgrown, forgotten garden into the RSPB’s first dedicated wildlife garden.

The garden, in the pretty hamlet of Flatford, belonged to two sisters, Sylvia and Margaret Richardson. They ran a tea garden on the site for decades – they were charismatic ladies  who are still fondly remembered by local residents.

The Richardson Sisters, as they were known, were great nature lovers, and as such, they bequeathed their land to the RSPB to care for. It has taken 10 years for the plans to come to fruition and a new era has begun for the sisters’ garden.

In 2011, the RSPB opened the gates to a small wildlife haven.  There are sweeping flower borders, rich with nectar and pollen, a meadow full of wildflowers to support a myriad of insects and an orchard planted with local heritage apple varieties  that will provide pollen and nectar in the spring, and fruit in the autumn.
The RSPB hope through this garden, to inspire  people and to teach them how  to make space for wildlife in their own gardens.

To find out more about this project and to get all the details of their opening times, please visit the RSPB website. You can also find out what species of birds you can expect to find, news of their events what facilities they have and how to get there.

Just next to the wildlife garden is a National Trust tearoom, gift shop, a John Constable Exhibition, Willy Lott’s Cottage, Flatford Mill, where John Constable used to live and there are also several scenes that he painted (including The Haywain) that are pretty much unchanged from when he lived and worked there. There are also some beautiful countryside walks across the fields to Dedham, along footpaths to Manningtree and up to the village of East Berholt, where Constable was born. You can also row a boat down the River Stour from Flatford to Dedham.

Dedham has some lovely pubs and restaurants to linger in, lots of little shops to explore, a magnificent church to wander around and the wonderful Castle House Museum that used to be the home of Sir Alfred Munnings. Well worth a visit, even if you are not a fan of his artwork. His studio, left exactly as it was when he lived there, is a fascinating insight into a bygone era.

Make sure you allow plenty of time to explore this gorgeous part of the Dedham Vale. You can easily spend a day there or even two!

 

Written by Karina



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