Published: 03/01/2019 By Susie BullmanYou’d only want to live here if you like peace combined with a lively sense of community. A Suffolk village, with protected ‘Constable’ views. You can hear the cows, and the church bells, and the sound of leather on cricket bat. You’re still on the grid but you’re away from it all…
As you drive towards Stoke By Nayland (15 minutes from Colchester, heading directly into the countryside), you pass those little stakes in the ground that tell you about the latest fete or fair taking place there. And whatever the time of year it is, they tend to appear. That’s a strong indicator of the lively community at this pretty Suffolk village.
You’ll see more evidence of it on the noticeboard outside the village school (which has recently converted to a voluntary controlled academy), round the other side of the vast recreation ground at the village hall, and of course in the window of the local village shop: craft fayres, concerts, jazz lessons, coffee mornings, plant sales, art exhibitions.
Nayland and Stoke by Nayland are neighbouring villages (a drive from one to the other shouldn’t take longer than a couple of minutes unless you’re going at tractor speed) and both feature quaint Suffolk-pink cottages, timber framed farmhouses, churches, pubs and shops.
Nayland is the lower village, on the River Stour, and Stoke by Nayland is 1.5 miles away, nestled on top of a hill. Both are in beautiful Constable Country, which has inspired writers and artists, and is famed not only for its picturesque walks, farmland and the sound of eager-to-be-milked cows in the morning but also because the Stour Valley is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
In 2011 the population was 682. It’s hard to think where all those people are hiding when you visit the village though. Signs of life on a quiet half term were really just deliveries to the very popular Crown pub and hotel and the Angel Inn. Weekend and evening visitors come from far and wide to sample the food and accommodation at these really rather lovely establishments.
Opposite the Crown is the village shop, which has recently changed ownership and is very much “on the up”. This morning a grandpa in wellies with his black labrador, was waiting outside while his grandson darted in for some sweets. He waved hello to a couple who’d popped in to pick up their morning paper. A car drove slowly by and tooted – it was like the opening scene to a feel-good British movie, something featuring Hugh Grant perhaps. Well, the village is set out around St Mary’s church after all, and the village hall features prominently in village life. There is even a very interesting-looking bookshop, which is open on Friday and Saturdays only… and some Sundays… (only people who live there know which ones)
Where is Stoke By Nayland?
Stoke by Nayland is a small village in the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (If you look at it on Google Maps, you’ll see the area is coloured green). It’s roughly 5 miles from the A12 and it is possible to commute to London from it too: Colchester train station is a 15-minute drive (without tractors!). That’s not a bad pre-train commute considering that this village is very much in the heart of the countryside and on top of a hill to boot.
The trains themselves take 50-60 (ish) minutes to get to London depending on whether it’s the slow or the fast train you jump on at Colchester station. You may find that you prefer to go to Manningtree station, which is also about 20 minutes’ drive away. Trains from here take about 10 minutes longer to get to London.
Stoke by Nayland has 10 local bus services, connecting with local villages and larger towns as such Sudbury and Colchester.
Stoke by Nayland schools
There are a number of schools in the area. Stoke by Nayland Primary VE School has recently converted to an academy. It’s a popular school despite its ‘needs improvement’ Ofsted rating. Nayland primary school, in the nearby village, currently has an ‘outstanding’ rating. Another popular one nearby is St Peters Church of England School in Boxted (‘good’). Littlegarth Independent school is close by in Nayland.
Stoke by Nayland Activities and Community
You can’t visit Stoke By Nayland without being impressed by the beautiful church, OR the sheer size of the recreation ground!
St Mary’s Church with its 15th-century tower, features in several of romantic painter, John Constable’s work dated around 1810. It’s a dramatic building, and one that if you’re are a painter, or a photographer, you’re going to want to capture. It’s an active church with Sunday services, bells pealing, weddings, christenings, wakes… it’s part of life in this village. And when you visit on a weekend, you’ll often step outside to the sound of a village football match on the adjacent recreation ground.
This recreation ground is a huge gently rolling plain, with tennis court and play area on one side. The next event is the fireworks on 4th November with a barbecue and drinks.
And mention of Stoke by Nayland wouldn’t be complete without the Stoke by Nayland Golf Club, Hotel and Spa. It’s a golf championship venue, Tourism in Suffolk award winner, Essex Tourism and Hospitality award winner, and has the Silver Award for Excellence from Visit England. It’s just outside the village and deserving of a visit from anyone who’s considering buying a property in Stoke By Nayland.
For Sale in Stoke By Nayland.
We are currently marketing Wick Farm on the edge of the village – A beautiful listed home with some superb views.