Aspiration for Boundary Review

Aerial view of Dedham

It was an aspiration since 2009 of the Dedham Vale National Landscape and Stour Valley Partnership (a grouping of around 26 organisations with an interest in the area) to extend the nationally designated National Landscape boundary. 

The Partnership wanted to see the National Landscape boundary moved upstream to include the areas painted by Gainsborough to complement the currently designated area made famous by the artists Constable and Munnings.

We sought to understand if this aspiration ws shared by others that live, work or visit the area. We undertook a short survey to help us understand if others share the Partnership’s view or have a different opinion.

In 2016 the National Landscape Partnership commissioned Alison Farmer Associates to undertake an evaluation of an area between Bures and Sudbury to determine its suitability for achieving National Landscape status.

The western National Landscape boundary previously ran between Nayland and Bures, and the evaluation area is shown in this map (PDF).

Previous Information

In late 2013 the Dedham Vale National Landscape and Stour Valley Partnership submitted a request to Natural England that the boundary of the Dedham Vale National Landscape be extended westwards towards Sudbury. This submission was subject to a Stage 1 assessment by Natural England in the early part of 2014. Additional information, submitted as a Natural Beauty Evaluation Table, was sent in July 2014. The process will take many years to complete.

Here is the press release explaining the position from February 2014 (PDF) and the proposed area of search (PDF).

August 2017

The Combined Advisory Committee and Dedham Vale and Suffolk Coast & Heaths Partnerships sent a letter (PDF) and produced a paper (PDF) on the process of Boundary Review.

This was following discussion with Lord Gardiner at the Dedham Vale National Landscape Forum in June 2017 and further discussion at National Association for AONBs conference at Winchester in July 2017.

A photo of cows in a field under a tree

"The Stour Valley is one of those subtle English places which tend not to declare themselves in any deliberate way. We see today what Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable saw.

For someone like myself, the valley is extraordinarily beautiful and I would like others who do not know it to come to is and to experience its unique landscape." 

Dr Ronald Blythe, eminent writer and local resident (July 2014).