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Our favourite Suffolk villages: Polstead

PUBLISHED: 17:43 23 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:24 20 February 2013

Our favourite Suffolk villages: Polstead

Our favourite Suffolk villages: Polstead

Family connections give Polstead a special place in Jayne Lindill's heart

Family connections give Polstead a special place in Jayne Lindill's heart




If theres one Suffolk village that calls to me, Polstead is it. Polstead is famous for cherries and its magnificent pond, which dominates the view of the village from the main road. Indeed, the meaning of Polstead is the place of pools.
As villages go its not conventionally pretty, but the jumble of timber framed houses and lime-washed cottages clustered around the pond, over the bridge and up the hill give it an irresistible charm.
Ive never lived in Polstead, but various members of my mothers family have over the last 100 years and whenever I go there it has an uncanny familiarity about it.
For more than three decades, one set of great grandparents lived in a little cottage just off the green (its still there), while another set of great grandparents owned the cottage in Martens Lane that was the home of ill-fated Maria Marten, whose violent murder in 1827 at the hands of local farmer William Corder made Polstead even more famous. My mother, her grandparents, her parents and several of her siblings all lived there at some point and Im still regaled with tales of their life in Polstead and nearby villages to this day.
You can do an easy four-mile circular walk of the village, starting at the pond, passing through meadows, along the Red Barn Path close to the site of the Red Barn where Maria was murdered, to Polstead Heath through bluebell woods, finishing at the green and the Cock Inn, where you can enjoy real ale and good food. It was here that the inquest on Maria was held after her body was found.
Dont forget to visit the lovely church, with its splendid views of the surrounding countryside and, if theyre in season, pick up some cherries sold at one of the farms in the area.

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