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Constable Park
Brantham, England
1 acre
A holiday and leisure park ideal for kayaking and paddleboarding, with premium glamping options
Constable Park is the ideal holiday and leisure park for water babies. Situated along Suffolk's River Stour and overlooking the picturesque Dedham Vale, here you can hop in a kayak or clamber onto a paddleboard directly from the site, or bring your own watercraft if you’re a seasoned aqua adventurer. Coupled with some terrific glamping options and an on-site coffee house, this park has exactly what you need for an easy-going but exciting trip into the heart of “Constable Country.” It’s no wonder famed Romantic landscape painter John Constable made Dedham Vale and the nearby hamlet of Flatford his muse; the location is a stunning slice of rural Britain, and Constable Park hosts Ian and Sarah, along with their son Ollie, have called it their home for 20 years. The park, originally a field of brambles, was initially used to give Duke of Edinburgh students somewhere to pull up their canoe and wild camp. However, the site today is much different, expanding to cater to everyone looking to escape and rejuvenate along the riverside. The pièce de résistance of Constable Park is undoubtedly Heron Lodge, premium accommodation with its own private deck area offering picturesque views over the RSPB reserve. Its sloped roof, open-plan living room, and tastefully decorated interior perfectly complement the scenic surroundings, providing a luxurious stay for those seeking extra solitude by way of its positioning slightly away from the rest of the park. The cabins are the next in line; timber-clad, upscaled steel constructions with all the home comforts, and central heating for the colder months of the year (making them ideal for a winter stay!). Glampers on a stricter budget — or who simply want to embrace the communal experience of a group of tents encircling a sunken firepit — can enjoy the Touareg or bell tents, the former a more practical, square tepee, and the latter an ideal little pitch for couples or small families. Visitors can pitch their own tents, too, with there being provided spots in Constable Park for those who want to bring their own tents and enjoy what the site has to offer. The convenience of Constable Park is further exemplified by its on-site coffee house, serving delicious brunches, lunches, and specialty coffee right on your doorstep — just make sure you don't take to the water on a full stomach!
Wildlife watching
Natural features
River, stream, or creek
Not currently accepting bookings on Hipcamp
Brantham, England, United KingdomTo respect the Host's privacy, the precise address of this land will be provided after booking
Hosted by Sarah W.Joined in August 2021
From the host
What is Constable Park? Set in the heart of Constable Country overlooking Dedham Vale and the RSPB nature reserve in Brantham, Constable Park is a new holiday & leisure park, uniquely offering direct access to the River Stour for day visitors and holiday makers alike. All visitors are welcome in our on-site coffee house with a great range of breakfast, lunch, specialty coffee and of course homemade cake! You can also hire a paddleboard or open kayak, both available as single or tandem hire. The accommodation side of the park offers a range of options from cosy, fitted out bell tents and upcycled, super-wide containers, to our premium ‘Heron’ lodge with a private balcony and BBQ offering stunning views over the RSPB reserve and beyond. You don’t need a car to enjoy the area as we are only a short walk from Manningtree train station. The perfect base to explore Flatford and Dedham Vale on foot, cycle the many miles of Suffolk cycle routes, or hire a kayak to see Constable country from a new perspective. The bustling town of Manningtree is also only a short distance away with several pubs, restaurants and bars for a more lively evening during your stay. Who are we? Ian and Sarah, along with their son Ollie, have lived in the area for 20 years. Ian is an approved activity provider for the Duke of Edinburgh Award and is unique in offering Gold canoe expeditions in the East Anglia region. Sarah is a local PE teacher with wider responsibilities for department standards and teacher training. Ollie is a keen paddleboarder, so often helps out with the watersports! Where did Constable Park come from? “We originally bought a field of brambles with a view to allow our Duke of Edinburgh’s Award students to have somewhere to pull up in their canoe and wild camp. Having done this for several years and with support and encouragement from the AONB and the local planning department, we decided to develop the site for others to enjoy too: an ideal place to sit by the river, enjoy the water or visit for a holiday. We’re also off-grid! Everything has been up-cycled where possible to minimise our carbon footprint.” The family benefited from a Rural Development Grant as the park provides employment opportunities as well as benefiting the local community with a new leisure facility.
Nearby attractions
Constable Park’s Watersport Centre provides paddleboard and kayak hire, allowing guests to row through the River Stour that runs through the site. Guests can book throughout the autumn season (weather permitting), while in the summer they can also enjoy guided tours along with special events, such as free rescue training and guided sunset paddles. Both kayaks and paddleboards can be hired for up to six hours, while tandem paddleboard and kayaks are also available for those who want to experience the Stour in a pair. Off-site, guests are a short walk away from Manningtree train station https://www.greateranglia.co.uk/travel-information/station-information/mng, which links to Flatford and Dedham. The small hamlet of Flatford https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/flatford is known for its Flatford Mill, Willy Lott’s Cottage, and Bridge Cottage, all of which served as the inspiration behind revolutionary landscape painter John Constable’s works. As such, visitors can ramble through the Flatford and Constable country walk here, enjoying panoramic views of this beautiful area in a walking trail featured on ITV’s Britain’s Favourite Walks. ‘Constable Country’ also includes the village of Dedham, which has a high street for shoppers to peruse, the Munnings Art Museum (01206 322127), and the picturesque Dedham Vale, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Food and drink
Constable Park’s on-site coffee house (01206 984100) is situated to the east of the site, offering guests plentiful indoor seating and a large outdoor terrace area to enjoy a wide range of brunch and lunch options, along with specialty coffee and homemade cake. Off-site there’s the Ark Bar and Restaurant at Cattawade (01206 396777), a 10-minute walk from Constable Park and offering music each weekend with drinks and snacks. A similar distance is the Crown (01206 392800), also at Cattawade, with Easter, summer, and winter events, views across the Stour, and various pub games. The Royal Oak (07979 655515)  — known by locals as The Dickie — is a five-minute drive, hosting various events, including rotating food vendors, throughout the year.
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