Charsfield sits in the Potsford Valley, approximately 5km upstream from Wickham Market. Although the centre of the village is only some 25 metres above sea level, the relatively steep valley sides rise to beyond 40 metres and give
extensive views across the village to open countryside beyond.
The area is characterised by mainly arable farming with pockets of woodland in a gently undulating landscape. Fruit farms formerly dominated the valley but many of the orchards have subsequently been turned over to arable use.
Some enterprises in the parish are engaged in pig and duck farming. The B1078 road skirts around the village centre which retains a relatively quiet rural feel although speeding and heavy traffic on the road currently has a detrimental impact on the village.
The main thoroughfare in the village “The Street” comprises a visually pleasing mix of housing from the 16th to 20th centuries. Many buildings are of local red-brick under traditional pan-tiles.
The village pub “The Three Horseshoes” acts as a focal point for The Street.
The village school is sited opposite the parish church and currently accommodates 53 children from age 5 to 11.
Charsfield is a small Suffolk village of approximately 250 residents, 3 miles (4.8 km) from Wickham Market, 7 miles (11 km) from Woodbridge and 12 miles (19 km) from Ipswich and is located near the villages of Debach and Dallinghoo.
A Civil Parish in East Anglia, Charsfield was famously used as one of the key locations in the 1974 film Akenfield, based loosely upon the book Akenfield: Portrait of an English Village by the historian Ronald Blythe (1969).
Charsfield hosted the first Greenbelt festival – an annual festival of arts, faith and justice – on a pig farm just outside the village over the August 1974 bank holiday weekend.
Famous Charsfield residents include Charles Webb, a respected Victorian architect and Peggy Cole, a frequent speaker on BBC’s Radio Suffolk.
Until relatively recent times, many local residents were engaged directly in agriculture, especially fruit growing. The dominance of arable farming, mechanisation and automation of most tasks have caused a rapid decline in the numbers employed in the sector. At the same time, increased mobility and increases in “normal” travel-to-work distances have led to a much greater number of people travelling out of the parish to work.
Charsfield falls within the Earl Soham ward (the smallest administrative unit making census statistics available). Selfemployment was reported as 17.5% of the working age population as compared with the Suffolk Coastal District Council
(SCDC) figure of 10.5% and the national figure of 8.3%. (Source 2001 census dataset / Office for National Statistics).
Reported social grades show a relatively high level of AB (Higher and intermediate managerial / administrative / professional) population.
[courtesy of Charsfield Parish Plan 2011]