Beautiful golf course on Essex/Suffolk border
Apple picking
Anaerobic Digester Plant at Boxford Suffolk Farms
Gro Organic Fertiliser

Proud to be a "Green" business

The Peake family is passionate about conserving this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in which they all live and work. Their long-term strategy has always included investment in green practices in order to be responsible custodians of the countryside and to create a robust and sustainable business to pass on to future generations. This philosophy goes back over 70 years to when Bill and Devora Peake were founder members of the Soil Association and practiced organic husbandry, way ahead of their time.

Both the farming and leisure businesses within the family’s Boxford Group have won a number of awards over the years in recognition of its green initiatives, including Best Green Enterprise, Sustainable Tourism, and the international AD and Biogas Industry Award in 2019.

The Anaerobic Digestor at Boxford Farms uses organic bi-products from fruit growing, fruit processing and maize, and the fermentation process produces a biogas which is converted into heat and power for the farms and Resort. The residual “digestate” contains essential macro and micro-nutrients which are immensely beneficial to the soil. This has been used by the company for several years as a rich, sustainable feed for its fruit orchards and golf courses. This digestate has now been commercially dried, packed. and launched to the public as an exciting new 100% organic fertiliser called “Gro”. Find out more about Gro here!

The AD Plant and biomass boilers on the farm, plus air source heat pumps and solar panels at the Resort and Lodges together produce more green energy than is actually required by both the Apple Tree Lodges and Stoke by Nayland Resort.

Apple Tree Lodges are Green

These stunning eco-lodges have been carefully hand-built to sit perfectly, and very naturally, within their idyllic woodland location. Their exterior walls are made from sustainable Iroko hardwood and the rooves are constructed using natural cedar tiles which age to a beautiful silvery grey.

Sustainable solar and photovoltaic panels on the rooves, as well as air-source heat pumps, provide power for underfloor heating, lighting, and hot water. With all of these initiatives, there is enough green energy to satisfy all of the lodges’ power requirements, and the team is proud to have won several environmental awards and to have become a “Green 100 East Anglian Business”.

Our Golf Courses are Green

When the Gainsborough and Constable golf courses were constructed around the lodges’ site in the 1970s, conservation was a priority for Bill and Devora Peake. They planted 60,000 trees and created picturesque lakes and water features, taking great care to work with and enhance the inherent beauty of the landscape. After the courses were built, the area became part of the Dedham Vale designated “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”

  • Six hectares of species-rich semi-natural grassland and permanent very low-input grassland on the golf courses are managed in such a way as to encourage and protect wildflowers and provide a habitat for small mammals, as well as butterflies and insects.
  • A pro-active woodland management system.
  • We log fallen trees into piles to encourage wildlife.
  • Our hedges are managed to encourage their use as nesting sites for the numerous birds in the area.
  • Grass from the golf courses is collected and either composted with the waste food, digestate, and ash or is sent to the AD plant on the farm to be fermented to produce biogas for conversion into green energy.
  • Pest and disease control are carried out within an IPM (integrated pest management) programme to minimise the use of fertilisers and chemicals into the environment.
  • Regular ecological assessments are carried out via English Nature, STRI, and the EGU.
  • We work closely with the Environment Agency, Suffolk Wildlife Trust, Writtle and Otley Colleges, the PGA, and European Seniors Tour to ensure best practice is maintained.
  • A register is kept of any hazardous materials, and such materials are securely stored and usage is monitored.
  • The water used on the golf courses comes from one of four reservoirs on site and is distributed by an intelligent irrigation system, which carefully monitors soil moisture and applies only the water that is needed.

Our Resort is Green

Stoke by Nayland Resort employs green initiatives wherever possible across all of our facilities, including our bedrooms, spa, fitness, dining, retail, and functions.

  • We use low-energy lamps, equating now to 60% of the Hotel lighting, or low voltage light fittings.
  • The heating/lighting in our bedrooms is only activated when a key card is placed in a designated slot.
  • Most of our public areas, function rooms, toilets, etc. are on movement detector sensors which will only activate lights once movement is detected.
  • Our heating systems are on time clocks.
  • Hotel guests are encouraged to re-use towels/linen each day to save on washing energy and detergent.
  • We ask Hotel and Lodge guests to support our green practices by re-using towels when possible and recycling waste using special bins provided in the lodges.
  • Inverter-driven heating systems are used throughout the Hotel as an alternative to more traditional heating systems.
  • We use water savers in all flushing toilets.
  • An in-line oil/chemical catchment tank has been fitted to the storm drain leading from the maintenance facility and car park.
  • We use thermal covers on the swimming pool and spa to prevent heat loss when pool areas are closed.
  • We use local companies and manufacturers for our produce and supplies.
  • Warm air is heated by reclaimed heat from the pool.
  • Low levels of chemicals are used in the indoor pool.
  • All of our kitchen oil is sent for recycling.
  • Bottles are recycled via our own bottle bank.
  • Re-use of envelopes and other paper for internal communication.
  • Use of e-mail wherever possible to save on paper.
  • Recycling of our empty ink cartridges and toners.

Our Farms are Green

Now a third-generation company and employing 250 staff, Boxford Farms produce over 6,200 tonnes of apples, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries from 200 hectares in the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Stour Valley. Widely recognised for our innovative and sustainable practices, the Farms have won Best Soft Fruit Grower and Best Top Fruit Grower of the Year awards in recent years.

  • A 1.25 MW Anaerobic Digester plant on the farm utilises by-products from fruit-growing, fruit juice processing, and other local resources to produce renewable, green electricity and heat sources for the farms, the Stoke by Nayland Resort, and an adjacent fruit juice producer. This process lowers input costs, reduces carbon footprint and in turn benefits local communities and the environment. Additionally, heat by-product is used to dry woodchip for biomass boilers to heat our soft fruit glasshouses, and dried digestate from the AD plant provides rich organic fertiliser for our crops and orchards – creating a perfect circular economy!
  • Heat from the CHPs is used for 3 log dryers to dry wood from our own orchards, woodlands, and other local suppliers.
  • Dried wood is chipped to fuel 6 x 199kW Woodchip Biomass Boilers for heating 5 glasshouses producing high-value, out-of-season strawberry and raspberry crops.
  • CHP heat warms permanent polytunnels, growing vegetables and fruit for the SbN Resort.
  • Heat is used in 2 digestate dryers to produce Gro Fertiliser and Soil Improver for sale to gardeners and growers around the country.
  • AD digestate in all forms, is used for fertiliser as mulch/soil treatment on Boxford Farms fruit crops, maizefields, and the SbN golf courses for soil improvement and fertiliser reduction.
  • The dried digestate has Soil Association Organic Accreditation to sell to organic farmers and growers.
  • Our use of organic digestate reduces chemical inputs, the irrigation volume requirements on the farm and golf courses, and creates improved natural habitats and biodiversity.
  • On our farms and in our packhouse we have eliminated unused crop residue and waste, as well as reduced pest and disease risks around our production sites.
  • Millions of litres of rainwater are harvested from our greenhouses, polytunnels, and farm buildings and recycled via our reservoirs to irrigate our orchards and golf courses.
  • We use computer-controlled drip irrigation to minimise water use and apply water-retaining mulches under our fruit trees.
  • We are members of the Higher Level and Entry Level Stewardship schemes on our farms which commits us to 3 yearly hedge cutting, 6 metre field margins, and providing birdseed, pollen, and nectar mixes.
  • We use beneficial insects to control pests which minimizes our use of chemical pesticides on crops.

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

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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

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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