We have listed some of the Alde Valleys outstanding food businesses below. We recommend all of them if you are visiting the area or looking for food and refreshments to bring to the Big Spring Picnic on Saturday 16th May for the Finale Weekend of the 2015 Spring Festival.
The inland tributaries of the Alde Valley [the Fromus, Upper Alde and Ore] run from Saxmundham, Badingham and Framlingham to Snape. Thereafter the river broadens into a wide estuary that flows past Aldeburgh to Orford and Shingle Street.
The landscape in the Alde Valley is a mixture of arable farm land, quiet inland river valleys, woodland, pasture, broad coastal estuaries, marshes and heathland. Dotted among these are numerous small hamlets and villages, most medieval or earlier in origin with small flint-work churches. Some settlements have their roots in Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods. Most date at least from the time of the Domesday Book.
Among the villages are larger settlements and market towns : Leiston, Saxmundham, Framlingham, Snape, Orford and Hollesley. These were and to a large extent still are the focal points for local life and trade. Most of the towns now have town centre supermarkets, but there are at present no out of town superstores. One consequence of this local retailing policy is the dramatic expansion of the local food economy. It has been dented recently by the arrival of new town centre supermarkets, but it is still vibrant and diverse – and exceptionally job-creative.
We have compiled a short list of food outlets and independent stores in each town and some of the principle villages. The list is by no means comprehensive – research commissioned by the Alde Valley Spring Festival in 2012 showed that at least 280 food businesses are operating in the local area. But we hope the listings give you a start ! Happy Food Adventuring.