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Eco campsite offers new magical Wonderland experience

PUBLISHED: 06:30 27 June 2016

Holly and Joe Putnam pictured in front of the new red Lotus Belle Wonderland tent at Wardley Hill Campsite in Kirby Cane. 

PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Holly and Joe Putnam pictured in front of the new red Lotus Belle Wonderland tent at Wardley Hill Campsite in Kirby Cane. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

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An eco campsite nestled in the heart of the Waveney Valley is proving to be a real labour of love for its owners.

The eat me and drink me playing cards in the Wonderland tent. 
PHOTO: Nick ButcherThe eat me and drink me playing cards in the Wonderland tent. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Wardley Hill Campsite in Kirby Cane, run by Holly and Joe Putnam, has been in Mrs Putnam’s family for generations, with its six acres forming part of her father’s farm.

Once home to limousin cattle, the land now attracts both barn owls and buzzards, making it the perfect surroundings for some back to basics traditional camping, alongside tents with extra creature comforts.

The couple are now entering their second full season and have introduced a number of new camping experiences for this year, including a tent with an Alice in Wonderland theme.

Campers can either take their own small camper vans or a standard tent, but the glamping tents and luxury holiday homes are the piece de resistance.

Inside the Wonderland tent.
 PHOTO: Nick ButcherInside the Wonderland tent. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

There’s a Shepherds Hut, introduced last year, which has a wood burner and can sleep up to four, a traditional family bell tent which is decorated in Bedouin style and a Lotus Belle which has an oriental feel.

And new for this year is a tree tent and a hammock hut housing two hammocks and a map of the world on the ceiling for holidaymakers to study.

The red Lotus Belle tent affectionately named Wonderland is perhaps the most revered piece on the site.

Based on the classic Lewis Carroll novel Alice in Wonderland, it has a black and white floor, butterflies adorning the canopy and even ‘eat me’ and ‘drink me’ playing cards placed on the tea and biscuits.

Another of the special tents on offer at Wardley Hill Campsite in Kirby Cane. 

PHOTO: Nick ButcherAnother of the special tents on offer at Wardley Hill Campsite in Kirby Cane. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Mrs Putnam said: “I think we had the new Alice in Wonderland film in mind and we wanted to create something quite different. We know an amazing carpenter who made some wonky furniture for us. I think it’s quite an experience and we have had a lot of people who want to stay in it.”

Although Mr Putnam has experience running a campsite, the business is quite a departure from the pair’s previous careers, with Mrs Putnam a trained silversmith and her husband an ex-lorry driver for touring artists such as Metallica and Elton John.

“We opened for a short time last year and trialled it the year before, but this is our first full year. We are open all year round and last winter we had people doing proper Bear Grylls style camping,” said Mrs Putnam.

“We have old washing machine drums that can be used for fires above the ground and mostly no electricity, so it’s really very back to basics.

“It’s great to see kids with sticks building dams and catching water shrimps, just some proper family time.”

And last year, despite only being open a few months, Wardley Hill was named one of the top ten campsites in the country by The Guardian newspaper.

“We have secluded pitches for tents, space for group camping, camper van spaces and then our Belle tents so there’s really something for everyone,” said Mr Putnam.

Plans for the future include an extra shower to accompany the open topped facility already available and to transform a boat, named ‘Bob’ by their son Ralph, five, into self contained accommodation to sleep two.

Mr Putnam said: “Holly’s always been self employed, but it’s great to work now as part of a team together and keep it in the family.

“It’s really fun and we are lucky to have the opportunity. It’s our big playground and we are really enjoying making it work.”

For more information visit www.wardleyhillcampsite.com or call 07733306543.

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