Yurts and Coronavirus

First of all we should stay that our thoughts are with all our lovely guests and we are hoping that you and your families are keeping safe and well.  We continue to be open for short breaks and holidays throughout the year and are monitoring government announcements on a daily basis and will keep this blog as well as our FaceBook page updated with where we're at.  We've been in touch with our April guests to offer to move their breaks to later in the year for anyone who would prefer that and will contact May guests within the next week or so, once we see how things are looking.  In the meantime if you have any questions do please give us a call on 07802 456087.  We have put measures in place to minimise the risk of catching Coronavirus, with a new paper towel dispenser installed and a stack of 10,000 paper towels to go with it; we have a good stock of bars of soap, information about hand-washing (though everyone must be familiar with the routine by now), a huge stack of tea-towels and appropriate laundry baskets and bins dotted around.  We are also blessed with plenty of fresh air and, of course, each yurt has their own cooking facilities and equipment for cooking at the yurt, in addition to the shared facilities.  We're also expecting a surge in the use of the (heated) woodland showers this year, so they are freshly serviced and all ready to go.  We've been heartened by the responses from many of our returning guests, who are happy with the cleanliness and standards of hygiene at the yurts and tell us that they are very much looking forward to their Easter breaks, and we look forward to welcoming many returning and new guests this year.  With a heartfelt thanks for your continuing support in these difficult times, and best wishes to you all. And, we have to stay, after a good amount of winter rain the flowers are looking fabulous!

Pizza Oven Course

We're just back from a one-day course in Fleggburgh in Norfolk (just an hour's drive) run by Kate Edwards, learning how to build a pizza oven from cob.  There was a great group of us and we had a lovely time learning all about cob and making the oven (we decided to add a dragon design to the oven, though I'm not sure how dragon-like it is!).  Kate spurred us all on at lunchtime by lighting her own oven and getting the pizzas through at record speed - they cooked in a couple of minutes and we had a lovely time watching (and filming - take a look at this clip!) before tucking in.  

The yurts come down and get packed away for the winter at the end of October and once we've done all our re-proofing and sorting jobs, our next job will be to build our own pizza oven for the yurts!  We're having fun at the moment working out the best site for it (as well as getting really ambitious with plans for cob benches...) and are really looking forward to getting stuck in.  We have plenty of our own clay that we can use (cob is part clay, part sand, part small gravel and part straw), so we'll only need to buy in some sand and gravel and then we're off.

If the idea of building your own pizza oven appeals, Kate runs day courses throughout the spring and summer - it takes an hour to get there from Ivy Grange Farm and we can highly recommend it.  You can see more of what she does here.  The course takes place is the most beautiful setting and I can guarantee that by the end of the day, you'll be dreaming of not just your own pizza oven but your own cob house, inspired by Kate and her amazing skills and enthusiasm.   

Watch this space for news of our progress...

Smoothing the cob bricks to create our dome shape for the oven

Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival

All you foodies out there, take note of the Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival coming up later in September.  There's masses to see and do as well as a vibrant fringe festival (yes really) with events taking place throughout the whole of East Suffolk which is earning a great reputation as a foodie haven.  Whether you want to enter the 2nd World Pickled Egg Championships (and who could resist being the winner of that title?), going along for the Food Security Debate hosted by Sheila Dillon of Radio 4's Food Programme, or just checking out the wonderful goodies from over 80 local food and drink producers, there's plenty to do.  There will be demonstrations from celebrity chefs including Valentine Warner, Thomasina Miers, Sarah Raven and Daniel Clifford of Midsummer House in Cambridge, as well as some local stars, Madalene Bonvini-Hamel of the British Larder and Paul Foster of Tuddenham Mill.  The main event run overs the last weekend in September, followed by the fringe over the next fortnight.  We're an easy drive (or slightly longer cycle) to Aldeburgh and Snape Maltings where the main events are held and are a great base for explore some of the amazing food and drink of the region.  Book your tickets and yurts now!

Campfire cooking

Our lovely Bell Tent guests, Tom and Kirsty, cooked up a storm on their BonFire tripod over the campfire and they sent us some photos of the things they'd cooked - courgettes from the field, chives in the omlette from the herb bed, cherries and raspberries (first time we've managed to keep any cherries from the pigeons!) and wilted spinach and new potatoes from the veg beds.  The SoulPad Bell Tent is proving a hit with our guests and we've been really pleased to have it up this year; it's been a bit of an experiment and one that we're very pleased with.  It's open for a shorter season than the yurts - May to September - and the wood-burner keeps it cosy at the cooler ends of the season.   Still have vacancies in September, so let us know if you  fancy the ultimate camping experience!

Late Availability in Bell Tent!

Just a quick up-date in the very busy summer season!  All the yurts are full for August, but we have 5 nights free in Bell Tent from this Sunday (11th).  The forecast is looking good and Bell Tent is beautifully equipped for the best of under-canvas experiences, complete with BonFire tripod, dutch oven (stewpot) grill and coffee pot/kettle - have a look at the photos on our Gallery to whet your appetite.  Our minimum stay is 2 nights, so if you want to come, get your skates on!  

Full Moon Night Walk event

We're really looking forward to our Night Walk event in September!  Travel Journalist and author Dixe Wills is joining us here at Ivy Grange Farm to introduce our yurt guests to the delights of Night Walking.  We're taking advantage of the Full Moon for a fun 8 mile walk round the local lanes, footpaths, shoreline and estuaries.  Dixe, as an experience Night Walker, will give an introduction and top tips for Night Walking on Friday evening around a communal campfire and then on Saturday evening once dusk has settled and after a campfire meal, he'll set off with the group on the night walk adventure!  The night is capped off by hot chocolate all round on returning to Ivy Grange Farm.  We ran this event very successfully last year and it worked well for a wide range of people, including a family with a 10 and 12 year old (who turned 13 on the Night Walk night itself!).  The weekend is suited to anyone who is reasonably fit and used to walking (and remember, there are no hills in Suffolk!) and is a great family event.  See our Courses page for more details.  We'll hope to see you there!