First look: Glamping and leisure park to open in heart of Constable Country
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
A new off-grid holiday and leisure park will offer glamping, kayaking and paddle board hire along the River Stour in Brantham – bringing a “wilderness experience” to Constable Country.
Constable Park is being built between Brantham and East Bergholt by Holbrook couple Ian and Sarah Williams, who hope to open have the centre ready for May half term next year.
The Williams’ bought the field, off Bergholt Road, five years ago before undertaking a lengthy planning process, meeting with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and giving two presentations to the parish council.
Mr Williams decided to invest in the new venture after running Anglia Adventures for more than 20 years – following two decades in the RAF.
He had noticed a lack of places in the area to rent canoes and go on adventure trips, such as those completed by Duke of Edinburgh’s Award participants.
The pair received a rural development grant to help with the build of Constable Park, which Mr Williams says has helped make the project “financially viable”.
On-site there will be a luxury lodge for a family of four, three steel containers which will be converted into family holiday pods, two shower blocks, a toilet block and seven glamping bell tents which will all be centred around a fire pit.
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The steel containers will be “repurposed”, with green roofing to blend into the natural landscape and Mr Williams eventually plans to replace the glamping bell tents with round top wooden glamping pods in the future.
His vision is to enhance the space – which had been a fly-ash tip since the 1950s – with visitors eventually coming to bird-watch in the area.
The other part of the site will be the cafe, kayak and paddle board hire – which will also welcome day visitors.
The cafe will be named ‘The Kitchen Garden’ after one of John Constable’s famous paintings.
“I hope people will come and enjoy the views, hire a kayak or a paddle board and have a spot of lunch,” said Mr Williams, 59.
The entire site will be off-grid and use solar electricity, with Mr Williams keen on enhancing the environment, not damaging it.
“A lot of thought and vision has gone into Constable Park,” he said.
“We are fully invested in this and it is really exciting but also scary – however, I am confident it will work.”
Eight jobs will be created across the site, which is being built by JG Contractors.
Two families who live nearby have already booked the entire site for weddings and local schools have been in contact hoping to bring groups down next summer.
Mr Williams is also hoping to start a ‘Friends of Constable Park’ group with volunteers to get the locals involved and help keep the river clean.
You can follow the progress of Constable Park by visiting their Facebook page.