CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to EADT Suffolk today CLICK HERE

Retreat back to nature

PUBLISHED: 10:48 23 January 2018 | UPDATED: 13:06 23 January 2018

Retreat East

Retreat East

Archant

It’s taken years in the making, but lawyer Peter Ede has created a state-of-the-art private members retreat in the heart of the Suffolk countryside, just outside Ipswich. Frances Hopewell-Smith took a look

Retreat EastRetreat East

The Retreat East sign is subtle and discreet, and yes, of course, I sail straight by and have to ‘perform a U-turn’. I casually ignore the hedged parking area by the entrance and head down the sweeping drive to an extraordinary collection of vernacular buildings.

Peter Ede, lawyer and owner of Retreat East, is there to meet me, and confirms I have a dispensation to drive right to the doorway.

Retreat EastRetreat East

“You’re fine this time since we’re not officially open, but when we are, members will just drop off their belongings and then this central space will be car-free.” In front of us is a group of beautifully converted farm buildings, which have been laid out and designed to maximise privacy, peace and comfort.

The biggest part of the redevelopment from farm to state-of-the-art retreat was the Great Barn, the only significant new-build among the original buildings, a club room with bar and dining room attached. The room is impressive with its massive traditional oak frame, a huge brick-built open fireplace, magnificent curved ceiling beams and clubby nests of chairs and sofas with subtle, warm lighting.

Retreat EastRetreat East

Next door is a ten-seater cinema, the restaurant, and a bar with a proper billiards table. There’s a spa and deliciously scented treatment rooms as part of the health complex.

Teams of local craftsmen have been on site for two years, and the chief carpenter, Ben Poole, tells me how much he’s relished the job of recreating age-old traditions of timber-frame building, and the degree of expertise and knowledge needed to make them. That’s just half of it, says Poole.

Retreat EastRetreat East

“I’ve built a bridge, log stores, outbuildings and cedar-cladded spa rooms too, and, of course, all the wood fixtures and fittings.” Here is a man justifiably proud of his achievements at Retreat East and he says he feels a degree of ownership.

The individual barn exteriors are timber clad and each has its own veranda. Interiors are all immaculately furnished, colour themed and extremely comfortable. Smaller ones, designed for a couple, have a neat kitchen, dining and living area as well as a big double bedroom. And it is the details that make a difference – storage spaces, lighting, facilities and equipment all distilled from Peter’s years of experience and research.

When it comes to the furnishing, Peter sourced as much as possible in the region, including most of the paintings (Jelly Green’s gorgeous cows are much in evidence), and worked hard to get the look he wanted.

Retreat EastRetreat East

At least this was in his control, unlike the application for planning permission, which took two and a half years and a fair amount of legal wrangling. Luckily Peter’s profession as a lawyer came in very handy, but it was a frustrating time, he says, to-ing and fro-ing with planners and other council officials. As we tour the grounds Peter runs through the thinking behind his scheme.

“This is aimed primarily at city-dwellers who want the ultimate ‘lock up and leave’ place in the country. It should also cut down on the amount of affordable housing being snapped up as second homes. It’s not far to the local shop in Coddenham, which is a perfect village store, and we believe we’ll bring a lot of custom to the shop and to other local businesses.

Retreat EastRetreat East

“Having booked their nights (each of the optimum 500 members is allocated 15 as part of their one-off debenture), they can let us know in advance if they have any special requirements. We can stock the fridge, organise private parties here, have meals made ready to heat and eat, and generally take all the angst out of getting away for a few days.

That way members arrive here and can unwind straight away. Their home will be warm in winter, clean and tidy with fresh bed linen and all the essentials for a relaxing stay. Plus there’s always someone on hand to help with little problems or extra requests, so no worries about fixing things. A lot of people with second homes spend so much time either doing or organising maintenance, and that’s not fun.

Retreat EastRetreat East

“We have 20 farm barns and 35 acres here for people to enjoy, get back to nature and not have to worry about the upkeep. We employ at least 15 people to do that. We’re working with Aspall to create an apple orchard and got advice from Suffolk Wildlife Trust to make the fields as organic and wildlife-friendly as possible.”

As a dog-lover and owner himself, Peter is more than happy to have well-behaved dogs year round – as long as they don’t scare the wildlife – and they’ve built a wonderful wash room just for muddy dogs called the Four Paw Spa. Children under 14 are welcome at Retreat East in school holidays, but obviously there are restrictions on their use of spas and bars, and they mustn’t scare the wildlife either.

Retreat EastRetreat East

“And we want to include people in the area,” says Peter, “so we have a day membership scheme if you just want to come and use all the facilities and get away from routine.”

Tempted as I am to hide away in one of the barns I have to get back to my routine. It seems to me like they’ve thought of everything at Retreat East and all of this luxury is right here in the middle of our beautiful unspoilt Suffolk countryside.

Retreat EastRetreat East

Retreat East Limited

Brick Kiln Farm

Sandy Lane

Retreat EastRetreat East

Hemingstone

Suffolk IP6 9QE

01449 761971

unwind@retreateast.farm

www.suffolk.farm

Barn Membership £35,950 one-off fee plus £1,423 annual charge (two double bedrooms)

Studio Membership £18,950 plus £1,323 annual charge (one double bedroom

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other EADT Suffolk Magazine visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by EADT Suffolk Magazine staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique EADT Suffolk Magazine account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Homes & Gardens

Mon, 17:10

When it’s frosty outside there’s nothing better than coming home to a crackling open fire - here are 6 great businesses who can help you find the perfect woodburner, fireplace or stove for your home

Read more
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

As we head into Autumn, the change in season is all around us. From the leaves on the trees turning burnt orange and fiery red, to dark mornings and nights bookending our days. As we put the clocks back an hour to battle the darkness, here’s some top tips on how you can keep your home warm and costs down this Autumn.

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Peter and Lorraine Finn have found their ideal place to get away from it all right on their Woodbridge doorstep | Words & Photos: Tony Hall

Read more
Friday, August 31, 2018

Rural energy provider, Calor, gives some top tips for homeowners wanting to make their houses cosy and warm in time for the colder months.

Read more
Thursday, August 23, 2018

When you are next looking to build a brand new kitchen or revitalise your existing kitchen, you should consider these 6 top bespoke designers

Read more
Friday, August 10, 2018

When Jan Packard and Mark Haines were looking for somewhere to share their love of boats they couldn’t resist the unspoilt charms of the Alde and Ore | Words and Photos: Tony Hall

Read more
Sunday, July 1, 2018

Residential property company heylo recently signed the Armed Forces Covenant, pledging its commitment to fair treatment and support to the Armed Forces community, including regulars, reserves, veterans and their families. The signing took place in a ceremony held at Wellington Barracks

Read more
Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A trip to Wingfield on the historic houses scheme, Invitation to View, reveals a medieval college and royal stories aplenty | Words & Photos: Lindsay Want

Read more
Thursday, June 21, 2018

Here at Suffolk Hideaways, we have chosen our top 3 beaches to visit whilst staying in Suffolk. Suffolk Hideaways is a self-catering agency which offer coastal and country retreats, many being dog friendly, family friendly or ideal for a romantic retreat

Read more
Friday, June 15, 2018

James and Liz Day recapture the magic of their childhood holiday haunts at their family retreat, Amber Cottage in Aldeburgh | Words & Photos: Tony Hall

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

EADT Suffolk Magazine regular newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search