Ivy Grange Farm is the place to head for idyllic glamping in Suffolk countryside; we're on the edge of the village of Westhall, (find us here) close to the beaches of Southwold and Walberswick in the north of the county. The farmhouse and barn date back to the early 17th century and the countryside reflects older farming practices!
Our glamping yurts and shepherd's hut are sited in a three acre meadow which we manage in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner - the ox-eye daisies are doing well and we have a very good supply of bird's foot trefoil and the occasional bee orchid (see our section on Sustainability for more info about what we're doing on all things Green) and have been planting native whips which have now begun to look nicely established. We regularly see and hear owls (barn, little owl and tawny - have a look here at some footage shot recently by one of our yurt guests of a barn owl in the meadow), bats, hares, rabbits (of course), red legged partridge and a fantastic range of birds, including buzzards, kestrels and sparrowhawks, green and great spotted woodpeckers, yellowhammers and many smaller and migrating species; the spotted fly catchers in the summer are some of our favourites. If you are good with birdsong, you'll be able to pick out the various warblers that live in the rich habitat around the fields. In fact with a bit of luck you should be able to see all of the birds after which the various yurts are named during your stay (with the exception of Lapwings which tend to be around over the late autumn and winter months, grazing on the local arable fields). We've also been excited to see stoats and weasles around and about the meadow, so keep your eyes peeled. One of our young yurters also tracked down a glow-worm!
We have a pond (fenced off, if you are worried about small children!) and ditches that encourage huge dragonflies in summer and early autumn and we have recently spotted water voles and a water shrew (the UK's only venomous mammal!) Ducks and moorhens nest wherever they can find a well-hidden spot. Our two small copses are home to aconites and bluebells in spring and wild cherries later in the year, and we are working to create a wildlife-friendly environment around the margins to encourage nesting and hibernating habitats for a whole range of species, including our hedgehog families. We have also been planting willow poles, elders, buddleia and many native trees and shrubs in the meadow including damson, crab apple, hazel, guelder-rose and dogwood.
We love the yurts because they sit quietly in their surroundings, are snug as well as very comfortable - they all have wood-burners inside and “proper” double beds - and allow you to enjoy the natural environment to the full. They’re fun too and, as keen campers we aim to include all the best bits from various sites we’ve visited over the years – campfires come top of the list, closely followed by the pizza oven! So once the sun starts to go down you can sit round the campfire watching the stars come out and enjoy the peace. The sky is wonderfully dark at night, and when the moon is full it’s great fun to go for night hikes or bike rides (remember to like us on FaceBook page for details of our monthly Full Moon Walks).
Westhall and the surrounding area is mainly devoted to arable farming so if you are a fan of agricultural machinery you’ll be happy! The farms are mostly small scale with plenty of hedgerows and gentle rolling landscape – this isn’t big industrial farmland. The lanes are quiet for cycling or walking and there’s plenty to see and do in the area. We’ve also got plenty to occupy you in the barn with table tennis, table football, books, maps, as well as WiFi if you really feel you can’t tear yourself away from the outside world for too long.
We hope you will want to experience the beautiful natural surroundings for yourself by coming to stay in one of our yurts or the shepherd's hut soon!
If this isn't quite what you are looking for, then why not check out Norfolk holiday cottages here.
Photos - Carl Lamb - http://www.ambientlight.co.uk/
Website - Flat Peak - http://www.theflatpeak.com