is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
on the Essex
border in east England
. It comprises the area around the River Stour
, including the village of Dedham
in Essex. It is part of the area known since the artist's lifetime as Constable Country
, as it was made famous by the paintings of John Constable
. Among many other works of the area is Dedham Vale 1802
in the Victoria and Albert Museum
It supports a viable and diverse agriculture with a mix of farm sizes. The majority of the land in the valley is still farmed despite development pressures. Farming is the primary tool for supporting the area’s landscape and wildlife.
Throughout the valley Eocene
and glacial deposits overlay chalk deposited during the Cretaceous period
. London Clay
and sands are often exposed on the valley sides as the river and its tributaries cut through the deposits. The composition of these layers and where they occur is paramount in determining what species will grow, which habitats can occur and how the area is farmed.
The river is the key landscape focus for the valley, its course is defined by bank side trees and wet meadows. It supports a variety of riparian (river) habitats.
The valley floor has a large areas of functioning floodplain
. Water quality
is good, meeting levels demanded in regulations. The catchment meets sustainable demands for water supply
, flood control
and recreational use, whilst... Read More