The Badwell Ash Story

The Old Quarry

The area that is now Badwell Ash Holiday Lodges was initially developed as a sand and gravel quarry. After some years the quarrying stopped and the natural springs in the bottom of the quarried area flooded the gravel pits and the new lakes were formed. 

The cottage on the site where we live, Mill Cottage, and the neighbour’s house, Mill House, were so named because at the Northern end of the site there was an old mill which was destroyed in the 1920s by a severe storm. We understand from local residents that in the 1920s there was a drought and people came from miles around to this site as this was the only place where the natural springs kept the mills running. Those same springs feed our lakes today.

In the 1990s the owners of Mill Cottage ran the site as a commercial fishery for a few years. By 2005 the site had become very overgrown, but with a great deal of effort the land was cleared and the lakes de-silted and deepened. Planning Permission was obtained for the holiday lodges, which opened in 2006.

The Lodges

The four Lodges were sourced from the Baltic. The extreme Baltic winters (often -30°C) cause the trees to grow slowly and the timber is therefore very dense. As a result the lodges remain very warm inside even in the coldest mid-winter weather. The lodges were assembled by a team of skilled joiners over a number of weeks using floating platforms. Each lodge sits on 19 concrete and steel piles drilled 12 metres into the ground, and each has its own over-water decking and balcony.

In August 2006 the new holiday site was finally opened. In the summer of 2021 we are excited to be opening Damsel, our fabulous new Shepherds Hut.


We love trees! More than 500 trees and shrubs and around 4000 reeds, lilies and wild flowers were planted around the lakes and around the rest of the site. We have continued this process by planting more trees and shrubs in 2020 and 2021 and also encouraging wildflowers to grow. Apart from the areas where guests may wish to sit or fish, we keep the lakesides in their natural state to allow the plants to grow and wildlife to flourish. We keep the edges tidy - not quite wild but certainly not manicured!


During the development of the site in 2006 the three lakes were restocked with fish; common and mirror carp, tench, perch, rudd and roach. Since then the stock has naturally increased annually. In 2015 and again in 2018 we had the lakes netted in order to assess the quality and quantities of fish stock. The fish, some which have been in the lakes since the 1990s, were found to be in excellent condition. A good stock of bream was added in 2019 and has established itself. We netted the lakes again in February 2021 and removed a large quantity of smaller fish in order to let the larger fish grow and thrive. We have added more carp, some of them large in Main Lake, and we have restocked the two smaller lakes with a good quantity of medium sized silver fish which has really enhanced these fisheries. We have also improved access to the fishing by replacing worn fishing decks and adding new ones including in Kingfisher Lake and Mill Pond. Finally, we have improved the habitat by removing large quantities of duck weed and adding calcium carbonate (chalk) to the water – which improves the ecology of the lakes.


We bought the holiday lodges and Mill Cottage in July 2020. The prior owners, Penny and Antony, have now moved on to pastures new. They had taken over in 2015 from Clare and Stephen Edmondson, who in turn had bought the business in 2010 from the Slades. Our predecessors have built a wonderful countryside retreat here at Badwell Ash, and it is really important to us that we maintain the beauty and tranquillity of the site, and high level of service, to ensure that our guests have a relaxing and memorable experience staying with us. We aim to offer high standards of care and accommodation, and create a calm oasis in this beautiful Suffolk hideaway. We hope you will enjoy your stay and return with your friends and family for many years to come.

VisitEngland - 4 Star Gold Award 

VisitEngland is the national body for the tourism industry in England and is responsible for awarding Star ratings and Gold and Silver awards determined by the services and facilities provided for guests and also by the quality of the welcome, service and hospitality of the staff, the food and the cleanliness.

The whole Badwell Ash site and each of the Lodges individually are assessed annually against the standards. To achieve 4 stars, as the business has done since its inception, an overall score of 84% must be achieved in all assessed areas. The Badwell Ash site has also achieved a Gold Award. Gold awards are made in recognition of exceptional quality within a property's star rating and for outperforming that star rating. Thus, achieving the Gold Standard is particularly important to us as it recognises that the site has otherwise outperformed its 4 star rating.

TripAdvisor - Certificate of Excellence

We are very proud to have been awarded a Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor for many consecutive years, based on our consistent achievement of high (5/5) ratings from visiting Travellers.  We are very grateful to those of our guests who take the time to review us on TripAdvisor and for their lovely comments.  Don't just take our word for it - we encourage you to read the reviews and see what others have to say about the Lodges, the site and the service we offer!

Finally ...

We do hope you agree that Badwell Ash Holiday Lodges is a special haven of peace and tranquillity and that you feel as welcome here as indeed you truly are. 

Enjoy your stay and come back soon! 

All best wishes

Will and Sarah Draper