Holiday resort Constable Park in Brantham offering glamping lodges, kayaking and paddle boarding, set to open this weekend
A family-run glamping retreat offering upmarket lodges alongside outdoor water sports and activities will open from tomorrow - six months after a 'devastating' burglary set back its original opening date.
Over a year in the making, Brantham's Constable Park owners Ian and Sarah Williams are ready to open their doors to the public from Saturday, with what started as a plot of land with eight-foot-high bramble bushes now transformed into a luxury glamping site.
Although those wishing to stay in one of the lodges will have to wait until the first week of July, families and kayak enthusiasts are welcome to visit the site from tomorrow.
Mr Williams said: "It's been a long journey, I’ve been running gold Duke of Edinburgh canoe trips for over 10 years and having a bit of grass where you can pull up to in your canoes is something I’ve been looking for, for a long time.
"I had a chat with the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and they said they could support my application. I went to the planners with a concept, and they liked the modern design.
"I got the go-ahead from the Royal Development grant and they supported us with a massive £124,000 grant, which helped make it all happen and instead of me being 60 and retiring, we are now fully invested in this."
Mr and Mrs Williams' vision for the layout of the site has been brought to life.
Guests will notice the owners' creative flair in details such as the Kingfisher mosaic on the outside shower that Mrs Williams completed by torchlight in January and the outside fire pit, where guests are welcome to toast marshmallows under the stars.
Constable Park will be split into three smaller businesses operating simultaneously - the glamping site, the paddle board hire, and the café.
The café's opening has been delayed as it is not able to access clean drinking water in time for tomorrow, but manager Hannah James said: "I’m just so excited to show people our café.
"They can enjoy cake whilst watching the world go by on the river and we are going to have a wonderful team of people working here, it's going to be brilliant."
The road to reopening has been far from plain sailing as the site was broken into in November last year, and while nothing was stolen from the property, there was thousands of pounds' worth of damage to the lodges.
As a result, Mr Williams ended up staying on the site for months after, without lighting or heating, to keep an eye on the area.
But now that things are up and running and the site is secure, guests have a lot to look forward to, such as paddleboard weekends, which start at £95 for basic camping and water sports.
Those looking for a shorter stay can camp out in bell tents starting at £75 a night and include a double bed and views of the river.
There are also a range of cabins that guests can hire which cater to a variety of needs, as well as an access-friendly cabin which is open planed for ease of mobility.
Guests can make use of the outdoor kitchens, fitted with barbecues that they can use at their leisure.
Although the site is on the river, Mr Williams has ensured there is no risk of flooding by digging a two-meter-deep trench filled with concrete and reinforced with steel around the site, so even on the wettest weekends, guests will be safe.
Returning guests will be able to see the site change with time as the owners have plans to add in a climbing corridor for young children, as well as an infinity pool-style hot tub on the river in the future.
Those wanting to paddle board and kayak will not need to book - they can just turn up on the day.
Reporting by Kirsty Barrott