The Blyth Valley is situated inland from the popular seaside resorts of Southwold, Walberswick and Dunwich.
A haven for creative activities, an area of fascinating historical sites, and a gentle countryside home to lots of wildlife, it is an area that is rich and diverse in art, history and nature.
The town of Halesworth is situated in the centre of the valley, a place bestowed with the epithet “the town of content” due to its friendly inhabitants and unhurried feel.
"The stuff of dreams...the faded glory of a tall, early 19th century redbrick house, a crinkle crankle wall, a bridge over the river alive with ducks, towering trees, romantically dishevelled gardens and timber framed rambling buildings..."
Take a stroll up the pedestrianised high street and soak up the atmosphere.
Additional settlements in the valley include Heveningham, with a lovely mix of colour-washed cottages and handsome houses, built around a green triangle on which stands the Church of St Margaret of Antioch.
Downstream is Huntingfield, tucked away into the valley side. The Church of St Mary the Virgin can be found here, its traditional exterior hiding within a truly remarkable 19th century interior. Also nearby is the grand, Grade I-listed Heveningham Hall, built in 1778 amidst lush acres of tree-studded parkland. The vaulted hall, designed by James Wyatt, has been dubbed the most beautiful rooms in England.
Walpole sits on the river bank, with its timber-framed, 16th century Old Chapel. Nearby Holton boasts the Grade II-listed Holton Mill, the white sails of which rise above the trees.
Mells is a tiny hamlet on the south bank of the River Blyth, today a quiet place, with the ruins of the Norman chapel of St Margarets sitting upon a knoll. From here there are far-reaching views over the valley.
Through the heathland is Wenhaston, with its highly acclaimed Woottens plant nursery, and the Wenhaston Doom in St Peters Church, a Judgement Day painting dating back to the 1500s.
Stay in Wenhaston - Rose Glen (sleeps 5) sits on a quiet lane in the rural village.
In Blyford you will find a scattering of farmhouses and cottages, as well as the former Bulcamp House of Industry, a site of vicious riots in the late 18th century. Read more about the rebellion here.
In the pretty village of Blythburgh, you will find the Blythburgh Holy Trinity Church, which overlooks the serenely beautiful stretch of water and mudflats, earning it the name of Cathedral of the Marshes.
This magnificent building is flooded with natural light from high clerestory windows, illuminating its famous angel roof, with not a Victorian stained window in sight.
Stay in Blythburgh - Amrose Cottage (sleeps 4 - 5), with access to pool and gym, is the pretty end terrace of a 17th century property. Red Sails (sleeps 2), also has access to an indoor pool, gym and tennis courts!
The New Cut is an arts-centre forged from one of the old Maltings for which Halesworth was famous in its beer-brewing days. As well as art galleries, dance studios, and a cafe and restaurant, the centre showcases a range of performing and fine art events through the year.
The Halesworth Art Gallery is a premiere art gallery located on the first floor of fine old almshouses. Over the years, the gallery has hosted the works of local, regional and nationally recognised talents.
Halesworth Museum, in part of the Victorian station buildings, carefully displays local history and artefacts. (Open mid-week days and Bank Holidays)
Holton Airfield Museum might be small, but it holds a fascinating and extensive collection of memorabilia of the WWII air war, when Holton was a base for the famous USAF 56th Pursuit Squadrom (‘Zemke’s Wolfpack’), and later the home of the 489th Bomb Group. (Open Bank Holidays and Sundays)
Laxfield Museum is located in the magnificent medieval guildhall, and traces the history, society, and ecology of the village of Laxfield through inventive tableau and associated stories and images. (Open Spring, Summer and Bank Holidays)
Valley Farm Vineyards, home to Wissett Wines, is an impressive vineyard making a fine selection of English wines. (Open daily with produce shop)
The King’s Head in Laxfield is a picture-perfect, 16th century pub, unique for its Tap Room, which exists in place of a bar. With intimate communal drinking rooms and open fires in winter.
The Queen’s Head in Bramfield is a fine, 16th century, beamed pub, open to the rafters, with a huge inglenook fireplace.
The Queen’s Head in Blyford is a 15th century thatched pub, with a pretty garden for the summer and roaring log fires in winter.
Stay in Bramfield - The Manor House (sleeps 10), a delightful regency manor; Holly Meadow Cottage (sleeps 3) is child and baby friendly; Brights Farm Lodge (available as a sleeps 3 and a sleeps 6) is set amidst a 250 acre organic farm!
Moo Play Barn, Brampton is an indoor and outdoor adventure play area, as well as petting and grooming ponies, pigs and goats and alpacas
Oasis Camel Centre offers family fun, with camel, donkey and llama walking expeditions, a pets’ barn, outdoor and indoor play areas, a bouncy castle, and land-train rides! (Open April to September)
Walking the myriad paths is a perfect way to explore the timeless Blyth Valley landscape. Find a list of itineraries to try here.
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