Many of you will have seen or even experienced our Glamping site on the top field of The Grove, which backs onto Warren Woods, complete with fire-pits for your burnt bangers and red-raw burgers, hammocks for those lazy sunny days and wood burners for those not-so-hot nights. Now, entering its second full year, this is the story of how it came about.
In 2013, we decided to experiment with glamping and put a few tents on the top field through an external company. This proved popular, but was not without its faults and we needed to take control of it ourselves. The timing couldn’t have been better for Ruth Graveling, who has a growing reputation for innovating projects, and just happens to be one of the partners of The Grove. In late 2014, she set up The Grove Glamping as her own business and hasn’t looked back.
“Setting up The Grove Glamping has been a bit of an adventure for me. In April 2014, I sold my house in Gloucestershire and headed back to my home of Norfolk. I love my family and the family business, The Grove, and wanted to invest in it in a creative way.”
Ruth got the inspiration for glamping when she experienced it first-hand. “I had been glamping at a friend’s 30th birthday and thought that The Grove would be a perfect location for me. I wanted to do something that was my own business that I started from scratch. I sat down with my friend, Kate, in The Red Lion pub one evening and drew on a napkin the plan that I had for the glampsite.”
There was a huge amount of work to be done on the site as it was on a gentle slope, which meant a lot of work levelling and building the decking for the tents “I loved the idea of up-cycling, which was where the pallet based decking, on recycled car-tyres came from.” Ruth continues.
“Throughout the winter of 2014/15, I would chat with my Dad, who was a structural engineer, about the design of it all, and we would put plans in place for the following day’s work. I got some help from my family – my brothers Rich and Chris were sometimes seen outside with a shovel, Dad helped loads and Mum made sure I had bunting and was well stocked with cake and drinks!”
It wasn’t just a family affair. There was also a lot of hard work put in by About With Friends, a local based Charity who do a lot of our gardening, and Nigel, our groundsman.
In March, The Grove Glamping opened. It was hugely rewarding for all, and especially Ruth, to see it all built and ready to go. The feedback was really positive, although people would have liked more toilets and showers to go alongside the ones in the pool. So we are have listened to what people have said and we are putting in a new toilet/shower block this winter. We are also changing from bell tents to yurts. The bell tents are great, but yurts are more robust, warmer and provide a bit more space too. They also should produce the ‘wow effect’ when you walk in. Lots of people have already booked for 2016 and we are excited to see people enjoying The Grove Glamping for a second season.
So it’s onwards and upwards for The Grove’s latest accommodation and it is all thanks to Ruth Graveling and, of course, the hundreds of people who have come and stayed and relaxed and enjoyed this lovely location.
And as for Ruth, the adventure continues…