Wilderness Reserve

Situated on a sprawling estate in a little-discovered pocket of East Anglia, Wilderness Reserve is collection of cottages rewriting the traditional self-catering stay. Spend days free-wheeling through woodland or foraging in the bucolic grounds.

This article appears in Volume 32: Homegrown.

Those looking to escape could do far worse than the newly expanded Wilderness Reserve, a Suffolk estate that stretches across 5,000 Edenic acres in a forgotten corner of East Anglia.

This is a place that's reshaping the mould of the traditional self-catering stay. The sprawling Chapel Barn, a restored 15th-century barnhouse, invites up to 42 guests to dip between its pool, sauna and individually decorated sleeping quarters, while the ironically named, one-bedroom Hovel is ideal for a lovers' break thanks to its gaping fireplace and vast Crittall windows.

Though all the cottages and lodges are decked out with high-spec kitchens, it's worth giving your culinary skills a rest for at least one meal - chefs draw on Suffolk's bounty of produce to throw together hearty meals and hampers guaranteed to warm your cockles. My drop-off dinner is a moreish chicken casserole, with caramelised apples and vanilla custard for pudding.

Days are best spent in nature, free-wheeling through the woodland on a Pashley bike, foraging and fire-making on a survival course or paddleboarding on the lake. I join a wilderness walk with ranger Steve, who reveals that the estate is home to 125 species of birds and is in the midst of a tree-planting program designed to help wildlife thrive.

You're a short drive from Suffolk's seaside towns of Southwold and Aldeburgh, where you can promenade, fish and chips in hand - though having discovered Wilderness Reserve, you won't want to stray too far.