The Waveney Valley is one of East Anglia’s undiscovered gems. The unspoiled river valley teems with wildlife and has excellent footpaths and cycling routes (there is an Ordnance survey footpath map in each cottage and suggested routes can be found on the Harleston website here).
The local market town of Harleston, 2 miles away, provides wonderful shopping of a kind rarely found in England these days. The main street has independent shops offering excellent food and friendly service. Our favourite butcher, D A Browne & Son, has a board behind the counter naming the local farms from which different meat has come. Adnams, the Southwold-based brewer, also has a shop in Harleston with a wide selection of wines to suit every taste and pocket. There is a good-sized Co-Op with plenty of (free) parking in the centre of town too. While in Harleston there are several places to stop for a coffee or snack such as The Apiary and Egg and Easel.
Nearby Bungay has the wonderful Earsham Street Deli where you can buy the award-winning Baron Bigod cheese which is made between here and Bungay at Fen Farm Dairy. You can also buy cheese, butter and raw milk directly from Fen Farm.
Beer lovers are spoiled for choice with two excellent breweries nearby. St Peter’s Brewery and Grain Brewery. Both offer brewery tours at certain times and an opportunity to buy directly from the brewery. As well as the excellent Adnams shop in Harleston, the wonderful Flint Vineyard is just short drive along the valley towards Bungay. The vineyard has started cultivating vines on the south-facing slopes of the Waveney Valley. They also offer pre-booked tours (see website)
Our village pub, The Sir Alfred Munnings, is open for lunch and dinner daily except on Mondays. It’s a five minute walk from Mendham Mill (although it’s one of the few pubs locally which did not allow dogs inside). For fine dining, the renowned Fox & Goose is just 4 miles away in Fressingfield. There is a lovely walk across the water meadows which takes you to The Bell in Wortwell which serves food as well as beer. A slightly longer walk (or short drive) gets to The Black Swan in Homersfield which has a good beer garden. The Cratfield Poacher and The Low House (aka The King’s Head) in Laxfield (famous for not having a bar! It has a traditional ‘tap room’ instead). The Old King’s Head in Brockdish (about three miles away) has a simple menu based around delicious home-made pizzas and pasta and has become well-established as a local favourite. There are plenty of others too and we can advise you where you might enjoy eating.
Places to Visit
There are a large number of places to visit from Mendham Mill. These are just some of the places visitors have enjoyed:
Southwold and the East coast seaside towns of Warbleswick and Dunwich, just 35 minutes drive away. Southwold, with its pier and beach huts is a quintessentially English seaside town.
Boating on the Broads: either from Beccles, just 25 minutes away or from Wroxham.
Norwich. The Cathedral City is 20 miles north of Mendham Mill (30 minutes drive)
Flatford Mill, Dedham and ‘Constable Country’ is 45 minutes away. Dedham is also home to The Munnings Museum at Castle House which was Sir Alfred Munnings’ home in later life and is now a museum with a large number of his paintings.
Some people prefer just to stay at Mendham Mill itself, fishing, canoeing or simply enjoying the grounds!