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Flatford RSPB Wildlife Garden

Flatford Mill Flatford East Bergholt Suffolk CO7 6UL

01206 298260

RSPB Wildlife Garden 2012In a quiet corner of Suffolk, exciting plans to transform an overgrown, forgotten garden into the RSPB’s first dedicated wildlife garden have come to fruition.

The garden, in the historic village of Flatford (just up the lane from the site of Constable’s Haywain), 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 remembered with a smile.

Being great nature lovers, they were kind enough to bequeath the land to the RSPB to care for. It has taken 10 years for the plans to come to fruition, a new era has begun for the sisters’ garden.

In 2011, the RSPB opened the gates to an innovative and beautiful garden, designed for both people and wildlife. There are sweeping flower borders, rich with nectar and pollen for our beleaguered bees and butterflies. A meadow full of wildflowers to support a myriad of insects to feed our declining sparrows and song thrushes.

An orchard planted with local heritage apple varieties will provide pollen and nectar in the spring, and fruit in the autumn. It will hopefully stand there for many years to come, slowly accumulating the startling biodiversity that old orchards are known for.

The RSPB hope through this garden, to inspire people to make space for wildlife in their gardens and minds.

Gardens cover three times more land than all RSPB nature reserves put together, and therefore are a huge potential resource for wildlife if they provide the right conditions. They could help to create links throughout the wider landscape between the shrinking areas of good habitat that are left after the depredations of the last 70 years.

This is vital for freedom of movement and ultimately the stability of wildlife populations in a changing environment.

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. 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. Allow a day to explore this gorgeous part of the Dedham Vale.

 

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