Enjoy Mongolian yurt holidays in Suffolk

A WESTHALL couple are ready to offer a Mongolian experience after self-funding �100,000 for a new holiday park.

Nick and Kim Hoare have spent nearly two years planning the project and are getting ready to open their yurt doors to the public next Wednesday at Ivy Grange Farm in the village.

A keen camper, Mr Hoare, 55, explained: “We wanted to think about how we could make a local living and this is the beginning of it.

“It started when we spent a wet camping trip in Devon and we thought we just can’t do this any more.”

Mrs Hoare, 50, was then made redundant from her job as a television programmes commissioner and Mr Hoare now works part-time for a mental health charity. He said: “We wanted to do something together and do a business which fits in with our ethos. People will be offered the experience of staying in one of the two yurts available; a traditional Mongolian yurt or another dubbed the English one.”

Costing �10,000 each, the yurt comes to pieces like a jigsaw and is primarily structured by the five walls which keep it in place.

“And everything that goes on to it holds it solidly,” Mr Hoare explained.

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It takes the couple about half a day to put one up and, because there is no electricity inside the yurt, the couple have placed solar powered lights and lanterns in them.

People staying on the site will also be invited to dig up their own food in the many fruit and vegetable patches, which includes different varieties of potatoes, courgettes, tomatoes, rocket, beetroot and raspberries.

Mrs Hoare said: “There will be a variety of things on offer and the idea is to have different things whenever you come.

Not only did we want to do something holiday related but we also wanted to have a low carbon footprint.”

The couple may also give discounts for people who travel to the site by public transport.

But this is more than just a business to the them.

“It is in the middle of nowhere but pretty well connected and it’s beautifully quiet,” Mrs Hoare said.

“There’s lots of wildlife around; It’s fantastic. The more we can do to get people to engage locally, the better.”

The planning application was submitted last September and accepted within eight weeks. Although the couple currently have two yurts, they have permission for a total of five yurts on the site.

Other facilities at the site include a woodland shower which is heated by solar power, on-going recreation projects in the barn, fridge freezers, extra cooking facilities, a washing-up area, extra showers and toilets and barbecues.

Mr Hoare said: “We are hoping to eventually run courses about local industry, bird watching, painting, yoga, to be run by experts for special weekends. People will also be able to borrow bikes eventually.

“It will certainly bring some jobs and revenue to the area in the future.”

Mrs Hoare added: “We are very much actively a local business and it is very much about getting people to spend money locally.” The couple is also holding an Open Day on Sunday for local residents and business owners to come and visit the site.

Mr Hoare said: “We are very passionate about the site and really excited.”

Mrs Hoare added: “It will be lovely to have people here. It’s been 18 months in the planning and really intensive building since December so we really hope people like it.”

For more information visit www.ivygrangefarm.co.uk

Yurt Facts

- They are traditionally Mongolian

- They are also referred to as ‘gers’

- They are insulated with sheep felt, which is virtually indestructible by fire

- The top section is called a wheel

- 72 poles are used to assemble the yurt

- The door is meant to face south

- There is lots of symbolism surrounding the wheel, the purity of circles in emphasised.