Blyth Rise Stays: Convene with nature at this luxurious glamping spot
He’s pecking his way around blades of grass glistening in early morning dew. It is silent outside, save for the swoosh of a gentle breeze through bamboo planted by the little stream outside my window.
I’m cozied up in my Igluhut, a very hygge (the feeling of contentment in Danish culture) bolthole, leaning against massive pillows, coffee in hand.
Barely visible from the road, six fabulous Igluhuts and six beautiful wooden lodges are dotted around a man-made lake.
Welcome to Blyth Rise Stays, located just beyond the neat little Suffolk town of Laxfield.
We arrived the previous evening and the electronic gates swung open, welcoming us like open arms. We drove down the pebbled road through grounds with grassy mounds, hand-woven fences and artfully placed low borders made from tree trunks.
Thousands of recently planted young trees are dotted across the lawn. In a couple of years, this place will be an enchanted forest of field maple, silver birch, Douglas Firs, larch and hazel trees. Nevertheless, now it is still a sublimely calming environment.
Barely two years ago, this plot was just that. There was no water, no electricity and no greenery, bar for some trees previously planted by the Grinsted family who have owned the land for years, but too busy to do anything with it.
After thirty years working in the fruit industry, Pam and Mark decided to retire. It didn’t last long. This incredibly energetic couple soon had itchy feet.
So it was, during a visit to an exhibition in London, that the idea of opening a retreat evolved.
Spying the Igluhuts on display instantly planted the seed. They immediately placed an order for six Igluhuts.
Over the next two years, they cleared and landscaped; planted and laid cables across the ten acres. They dug the lake and a winding stream which they planted with reeds and filled with carp.
The whole operation was largely a family affair. Pam and Mark are very much hands on people. Daughter Katie, a qualified yoga instructor, effortlessly manages the property conducts yoga classes on a specially built outdoor platform. Son James is an architect and Jake, a web designer. All had a hand in creating this special place.
The Igluhut’s interiors tick all my favourite style boxes – colourful sisal rugs, a plumped up bed of crisp white linens, two toffee-coloured Scandi-style armchairs and a perfectly formed kitchenette with hob, convention/microwave oven, and a smart black Smeg fridge freezer. Leading off the kitchen is a little bathroom with a super-powerful shower, loo and handbasin.
Thanks to its curved roof and white spruce walls the hut feels remarkably spacious. It’s light too. Three arched windows come with identically-shaped removable screens, held in place by little magnets.
Being novices when it comes to glamping, we’re a little disorganised when it came to stocking up on supplies. Thank goodness, then, for the on-site ‘honesty shop’. The garden shed masquerades as a mini-market stocking the best of local Suffolk produce and ready-made meals. We snapped up some fresh asparagus from a tin bucket; a chunk of Baron Bigod Cheese, some decadent chocolate brownies and spanakopita rolls. There’s even Oat and Almond milk and Hill Farm Honey for morning toast.
Evening entertainment came in the form of tucking into our tasty impromptu dinner with a glass of chilled wine watching the flames in the fire pit move on the breeze. Simple pleasures.
Sadly, thanks to Covid restrictions the saunas – mini versions of the Igluhuts – weren’t open.
I did spy a bunch of birch leaves on the wooden seating, presumably for whipping one’s back to encourage circulation. Perhaps it was a good thing it was closed.
Wandering through the grounds, we found the more traditional accommodation of six lodges set around the lake.
With full-size kitchens, massive living areas and huge decking, they’re perfect for families or two-couple gatherings. Inside are velvet chairs, massive sofas and huge beds swathed in Egyptian cotton. And while you might be wondering, there is no swimming or paddle boarding allowed on the lake.
Convening with nature – with luxurious accommodation thrown in – is a given at Blyth Rise.
What you see is what you get and it’s a fabulous sight too.
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