March 10 2014 Latest news:
Monday, February 10, 2014
A Broads holiday centre is using the traditional skills of its boatbuilders to create an upmarket camping experience.
For alongside their work on boats, the craftsmen at Waveney River Centre have designed and are building chic ‘glamping’ pods.
Three of the escape pods were successfully trialled at the site next to the River Waveney, at Burgh St Peter, near Beccles, at the end of last season.
Now director James Knight is planning to add three more to create a cluster behind the site’s popular conventional camping pitches.
Following the positive comments from customers last year he has also decided to sell the pods online at http://myescapepod.co.uk
Mr Knight, who runs the site with his wife Ruth, said his team of Steve Charlton, Nick Potter and David Gaze had gone out and looked at other designs and “come up with their own twist”.
He said: “A lot of pods just seem to use the ground level, but using the skills of boatbuilders they have come up with a design that makes the most of the available space, raising the level of the double bed and creating storage space.”
As well as marketing the pods to other holiday centres he believes they could also be bought for other purposes such as garden studios, unusual sheds or guest accommodation.
He said: “They fit in well with the environment and are made with sustainable timber – larch on the outside with a pine interior.”
Double insulation using sheep’s wool made them cool in summer and warm in winter.
The pods, which take two weeks to build, are being marketed fitted out for £11,500 including VAT.
Mr Knight said such diversification ensured a more sustainable future for traditional boat building. Following a lean season last year, caused by the previous washout summer, bookings at the centre are 30pc up compared to last February – and pods are proving very popular.
To further improve visitor numbers to the centre, which also offers upmarket lodges, a marina and fleet of day boats, the Knights are investing a six-figure sum in the on-site pub and planning a new menu with locally-sourced food.
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