Hadleigh Road, to South and West
This section runs from the village centre at the Gaston Street junction, from The Gables* along the western side of Hadleigh Road to the junction with Hughes Road (* The Gables is a listed building which sits in the current Conservation Area).
While the eastern side of the road is not for conservation area consideration, (mainly lined with set-back 20thC and 21stC houses and the school playing field), it does contribute to the attractive natural tree cover that characterizes the road.
Together with the western side, the mature trees create a pleasing “tunnel” effect over the road at all seasons. The tree-lined frontages for historic buildings such as Gatton House and Ackworth House, which are spaced out along the road, with driveway entrances such as the one for the Gattinets business units. Generally, these historic buildings are only partly visible from the road where the vegetation predominates, with no pavement on this side.
At the top Hadleigh Road intersects with Hughes Road and Elm Road, before it continues northwards. Here there is a large open meadow in front of the historic Allens Farmstead, and features the gated drive to the Grade 2* -listed “The Lodge”, which is not really visible from the road.
Hadleigh Road in its current line appears on some of the earliest historical maps of East Bergholt, such as the Brassier map of 1731, and Hodgkinson’s map of 1783.
The curve of the road follows the top of a hilly ridge which descends down westwards to Dedham Vale and the Stour. The route historically followed the topography to join the old Roman road to Holton, Hadleigh and Ipswich, which became the A12.
It is therefore an historic, and un-changed, entrance route into the village from the north and west.
It is the setting for a sequence of historic and listed houses spaced apart along this western edge; starting with The Gables (16th C Grade 2*), Gatton House (1809 Grade 2), Ackworth House (1840 Grade 2), Allens Farm (19th century Farmstead), and The Lodge (early 16th C Grade 2*, and Lodge Cottage (late 16th C Grade 2).
Assessment of Special Interest:
This section of Hadleigh Road has a special character due to the curve of the road, the magnificent tree cover and the historic buildings located on the western side. When Gatton House was built on the 26th of June in 1809 John Constable’s mother wrote to him concerning the house: “It is a great improvement to the entrance of our pretty village, and so you will think.”
The natural arbour of mature trees across the road is impressive at all seasons, and on the western edge is reinforced by dense vegetation allowing glimpses of the historic houses and their parkland and gardens.
As well as an impressive vehicular entrance to the heart of the village, it is a much-loved pedestrian and cycle route for residents and schoolchildren.
Aspects of Sensitivity
- It is an important and historic entrance to the village.
- The western side is line with a sequence of historic and listed houses, effectively spaced apart from each other.
- There is a special “natural” character to this section of Hadleigh Road created by the arbour of mature trees, the hedges and the gentle curve of the road.
- Insensitive development in the future on this well-used route could severely diminish the character and simple attractiveness of its setting.
- The 2020 Heritage Collective Historic Landscape Study records this as an area of HIGH heritage sensitivity.
Relevant Reading, Documentation, Maps and Photographs:
- “Historic Landscape Study of East Bergholt and the Cultural Legacy of John Constable” by Heritage Collective (2020).
- Brassier maps (1731)
- Hodgkinson’s map of East Bergholt (1783)
- The enclosure map (1817) Suffolk Records Office.
- Historic England’s Listing Records for properties mentioned above.