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19 January 2008

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Quality of life

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River Stour

The Stour rises in eastern Cambridgeshire and flows for 76 km (47 miles) through East Anglia to the North Sea at Harwich.

This beautiful river, which forms most of the county boundary between Suffolk and Essex, runs in a southerly and then easterly direction through a still rural landscape with few towns, but many unspoilt villages such as Dedham.

The River and the landscape around it were made famous by the many paintings of the area by the artist John Constable (17761837), who grew up beside the river at Flatford, where his father was the miller. Thomas Gainsborough and Paul Nash have also preserved the river and the valley on canvas and, like Constable, as a working river and not a pastoral fantasy.

In 1968 the River Stour Trust was set up to ensure that future generations will be able to navigate the river. Several locks have been rebuilt in the traditional style, and it is planned that more locks will be brought back into working order.

Today, much of the Stour valley rich in wheat, pastureland and fine trees is designated an Area of Outstanding Beauty. The estuary provides sheltered water allowing a variety of boating activities. The river itself is really only suitable for small manually propelled pleasure boats as powered craft are only permitted between Ballingdon Bridge and Henny.

River Stour

River Stour

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Author: Julie Clarke | julie.clarke@environment-agency.gov.uk