Go Wild in the Stour Valley

Kids doing some crafts at an event

The Dedham Vale and Stour Valley on the Suffolk Essex border is a beautiful place to explore and discover the natural world and wonders of our past.

There are so many incredible places to visit and activities that you can do when you get there. So why not – Go Wild in the Stour Valley – this half term!

Check out our Family Activity leaflet for more information or the Stour Valley Education Network (SVEN) discovery Factsheets, which are full of interesting facts, places to go and activities to do.

Some outdoor learning providers from the Stour Valley Education Network (SVEN) have created self-guided family trails at their sites which you can visit and do for free. Follow the links below to find out more.

Rowley Wood

Rowley Wood

Established in 2001, Rowley Wood is a diverse range of habitats including an old cherry orchard, rough grassland, wildflower meadow, woodland, a pond and wetlands, managed for the benefit of local community.

Name of Trail: Rowley Wood Trail

Location: Rowley Wood is south of the village of Stoke by Nayland, on the road to Nayland. Park in School Street (on the road or the recreation ground car park) and access wood from the footpath.

There are two signposts to help. One is behind the school and the other behind the guildhall.

Arger Fen

Arger Fen and Spouse’s Vale

This Suffolk Wildlife Trust woodland is a fascinating mosaic of ancient coppice woodland and new naturally regenerating woodland alongside wet meadows. It’s best to visit in spring when you will be greeted with a fabulous display of bluebells accompanied by the magical song of woodland birds.

Name of Trail: Suffolk Big 6 – hedgehog trail

Location: Arger Fen & Spouse’s Vale, near Assington, Sudbury. CO8 5BN

Flatford Wildlife Garden

This RSPB family-friendly wildlife garden is designed to pass on ideas visitors can incorporate into their own gardens. Follow the trail featuring carved wooden garden creatures at the entrance to the garden.

Name of Trail: Spot the difference…..woodpeckers

Location: Flatford Road, East Bergholt, Colchester, CO7 6UL

Foxearth Meadows Local Nature Reserve

Meadows, ponds, boardwalk and riverside paths in 11 acres alongside the River Stour, managed particularly for dragonflies and damselflies but with a wealth of other wildlife. Either download trail or pick one up from the car park.

Name of Trail: Foxearth Meadows Quiz Trail

Location: From the A1092 west of Long Melford take the turn south down the land signposted ‘Pentlow Road’ (just east of the B1065 to Glemsford). 

After 500m turn left and the car park entrance is 300m along on the left. 

Clare Castle Country Park

Clare Castle Country Park

A beautiful quiet space to relax, play, get close to nature and learn about Clare’s fascinating history and heritage – with remains of a medieval castle and Victorian station.

Name of Trail: Family Explorer Trail – Join Otto and Woody at Clare Castle Country Park

Location: Malting Lane, Clare, Sudbury, CO10 8NW

Melford Hall

Melford Hall

Melford Hall is a stately home in the village of Long Melford, Suffolk with beautiful gardens and a lovely tea room.

Entry is free for National Trust members or £10 per adult & £5 per child or £25 for a family ticket or £15 for a 1 adult family ticket.

Name of Trail: Bad Bugs Trail – Go in search of the BadBugs that make their way into books, carpets and furniture. There are four pesky pests to find hiding around the house.

Location: Long Melford, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 9AA