All the information you need for a great day out, walking through the fantastic pastoral landscape of Dedham Vale. Prepared by Dedham Parish Council, with grateful assistance from Essex County Council.
A list of recommended walks is available, see the menu alongside.
This guide is designed to allow visitors and residents to enjoy the large number of footpaths that exist in and around the historic village of Dedham, in north-east Essex. Many of the views that you will see have been immortalised in the pictures of John Constable RA, who lived in the neighbouring village of East Bergholt, and attended school in Dedham.
The guide contains a map showing all of the footpaths in Dedham (and some of the key paths in neighbouring parishes), and also features a number of "recommended walks" of varying lengths, which it is hoped will be particularly helpful to people who do not know the area well. In order to keep the footpath details up to date, also included are any Public Path Diversion Orders. Provision has been made, by means of Adobe Acrobat© ("pdf") files, for you to print details of the walk(s) of your choice and bring the details with you.
Public Rights of Way will be cut in accordance with the following schedules. Please be advised the timings are only given as a rough guide, and cutting will only take place on footpaths around the perimeter of a field. Footpaths and their structures (stiles/kissing gates etc) that cross property remain the landowners responsibility.
Footpath cutting Schedules
(The Walks files are large and are not recommended for the users of dial-up lines.)
The generous support of Essex County Council for this guide is gratefully acknowledged. The maps (which are mostly based on the Ordnance Survey "Explorer" series, sheet 196) are reproduced under licence number 100047627. In some places, where the route of the footpath is complicated, annotated extracts of larger scale Ordnance Survey maps have been included.
The Guide was last updated on: March 16, 2010, a further update in August 2014. Diversion order added January 2015. New map added March 2016
Dedham and its Footpaths
Throughout this area, it is policy to replace footpath stiles with kissing gates, and this process is well under way. Be prepared for some stiles, however.
The use of wheelchairs on rural footpaths is not easily achieved, but we have identified a 1.8 mile (non-circular) walk which will allow a wheelchair user to enjoy some of the best countryside.
We welcome well-behaved dogs. Please keep them on a lead as a courtesy to landowners and fellow walkers, and to ensure that livestock and ground-nesting birds are not disturbed. Please make sure that your pet does not foul the footpath, which is, by definition, a place where others will be walking!
Eating and Drinking
There are two pubs in the village of Dedham, each of which usually offers lunchtime and evening food, together with real ale and other drinks. The Marlborough Head (01206 323250) and The Sun (01206 323351) are located virtually opposite St. Mary's church in the centre of the village.
The Essex Rose tea rooms (opposite the church) offer non-alcoholic beverages and light snacks, and there are a number of other teashops in the village.
During the summer months a tea room is open at Flatford Mill, and for those undertaking the "Westerly Walk" there are a number of pubs in the picturesque village of Stratford St. Mary.
The Dedham public toilets are located adjacent to the sports field, and can be reached by walking down the footpath that runs southwards from Royal Square, close to the church. There are also public toilets at Flatford Mill and, for rail travellers, at Manningtree Station.
Within Dedham the primary car parks are located in Mill Lane (about 200 yards down the road opposite the church, see the map). There is also a car park at Flatford. (Please note that this is not owned by The National Trust, and a charge is levied, even for NT members.) Those undertaking the "South Easterly" walk might consider leaving their car near Lawford Church (just north of the A137 Colchester to Harwich road) where free, short-term parking is available, and joining the circular walk at this point.
Distances and Completion Times
Distances are noted in Imperial measurements. A mile equals just over 1.5 kilometres, and a yard is a little less than a metre. When estimating completion times, modest progress of two miles per hour has been assumed.
If you don't know the area particularly well, you may find our "recommended walks" helpful. These provide a range of possibilities, with maps and directions.
We really welcome your constructive feedback. Did you find this Guide misleading or confusing? Does something require enhancement or correction? Please do let us know, if only to say that you found the guide faultlessly helpful! Please email Sheila Beeton using the feedback form.
Great care has been taken in compiling this Guide, and it is periodically updated to reflect changing circumstances. Please note, however, that neither Dedham Parish Council nor Essex County Council can accept liability for problems arising from errors or omissions.
A lot of time and effort is put into trying to ensure that paths may be easily walked at any time of the year, but during the prime growing period (late Spring and early Summer) some of the lesser used paths may not be as accessible as we would wish. Especially during the Winter, the River Stour periodically floods the water meadows in the valley. Walkers should exercise extreme caution under these conditions, since water currents may be swift, and ditches may contain deep water.
This Guide is the copyright of Dedham Parish Council but may be freely printed out to assist you in your walk. Further publication of the Guide or the individual photos contained within it may only be undertaken after written permission has been obtained from Dedham Parish Council.