Suffolk holiday cottages firm Woodfarm Barn branches out into barges to house growing guest count
- Credit: Kevin Snell/Flyibot
A Suffolk holiday cottages businesses has branched out into boats.
Woodfarm Barns, based at Stonham Aspall, near Stowmarket, has taken on two historic Dutch sailing barges moored on the River Deben at the Tidemill in Woodbridge, and on the Orwell at Pin Mill.
Owner Carl Scott, who has named his new venture Woodfarm Barges, said the expansion was a natural progression and resulted from his need to find more space to house his growing number of guests.
“I love boating so the natural expansion for me was to take my business onto the water,” he explained.
His biggest challenge was lack of availability as his bookings were so full, he said.
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“I’ve been letting people down for a long time, saying that: ‘I wish I could grow more cottages’.”
Carl, a former property developer and recruitment firm director, said he had developed a really strong brand and business, with well over 10,000 followers on social media and a “huge” database.
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“Woodfarm contributes well in excess of £1m annually to the tourism sector in Suffolk,” he said.
Woodfarm Barns, started eight years ago, has gone from strength to strength and was awarded the Quality in Tourism Gold Award from Visit England for all seven of its Suffolk holiday cottages.
“I have worked my socks off to build it because I can’t just sit back,” he said. “So we have pushed it really, really hard - a lot of the time I am turning business away.”
Carl, who is keen on boating and has a motor yacht at Woodbridge, saw barges as an obvious diversifation to the business.
The new water-based accommodation includes Twee Gebroeders in Woodbridge, which was built in 1897 and sleeps two to four people and comes with a cast iron range cooker.
The second barge, Onderneming at Pin Mill, was built in 1899 and sleeps six to eight people, and is described by Carl as “cavernous”. Already, bookings are pouring in with no vacancies until October.
Carl believes there is plenty untapped tourism potential in the county. “There are tons and tons of things here - where I spend most of my time is promoting Suffolk.”
He is keen for visitors to have a rounded experience and promotes other businesses, he says.