A gathering of Land Girls at the Leavenheath WLA hostel

Where it all began

Apple Tree Lodges are part of the family-owned enterprise, The Boxford Group, founded by Devora and her second husband Bill Peake in 1938.
What started as a small 120-acre apple farm, is now a second-and third-generation business that continues to diversify and thrive with the help of an excellent team of almost 600 dedicated members of staff. The award-winning Boxford Group includes Apple Tree Lodges, Stoke by Nayland Resort, Boxford (Suffolk) Farms, and Peake Fruit.

The Women’s Land Army

During WW2 tens of thousands of young women were recruited by the government into the Women’s Land Army, to keep British farms going after the conscription of their usual workers, and to feed the nation. Coming from every walk of life, these girls often left their families, friends, and all that was familiar to them, to be posted at hostels across the country. The recruitment posters painted an idyllic picture for the Women’s Land Army, but the reality was extremely hard work for very little pay.

In 2012, five eco-friendly lodges were hand-built on the site that had once been home to the Leavenheath Women’s Land Army Hostel and was purchased from the War Agricultural Department back in 1950, by Bill and Devora Peake.

The couple also bought the surrounding 500 acres for just £12 per acre, including the farmhouses. The Peake’s then employed Italian prisoners of war, who were living near the site during the 1950s, to help plant up the original apple orchards.

This land was eventually developed into the two Championship golf courses and the adjoining apple orchards that you see today. In this beautiful corner of Suffolk, more than 20 different varieties of apples are still grown in the family’s orchards surrounding the Lodges.

The Women’s Land Army hostel site has been sensitively renovated to ensure that this piece of important British history, and the Land Army Girls’ tremendous hard work, continues to be remembered.

In commemoration of the site’s wartime history, the former water tower serves as a permanent tribute, displaying a variety of photographs and memorabilia from the period. The Lodges’ interiors also reflect the era, with décor that nods towards the 1940s, including Women’s Land Army recruitment poster artwork.

Take a sentimental journey and find out more about the fascinating story behind the Apple Tree Lodge site.

Address
Apple Tree Lodges, Keepers Lane, Leavenheath,
Colchester, Essex CO6 4PZ

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Address
Apple Tree Lodges, Keepers Lane, Leavenheath,
Colchester, Essex CO6 4PZ

Connect with us

Be the first to hear about our latest offers
Please send us your email address and we will update you with regular offers and packages

Address
Apple Tree Lodges, Keepers Lane, Leavenheath,
Colchester, Essex CO6 4PZ

Connect with us

Be the first to hear about our offers
Please send us your email address and we will update you with regular offers and the latest news

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