Wilderness Reserve

For various reasons I haven’t had a holiday for 13 years, shocking I know! But this year I felt it was time and I have had my eye on Wilderness Reserve for quite a while now. In February, when it was actually my birthday, I booked a stay at the Sibton Estate in a property called Stump.

What particularly drew me to Wilderness Reserve is their focus on conservation.

Wilderness Reserve is an 8000-acre estate managed for wildlife. The estate has recorded 153 species of birds, 33 mammals, over 300 plants, 736 moths, 28 butterflies, 20 dragonflies, 4 species of amphibians and 3 reptiles. 2,000 bird nest boxes have been installed, 90 for Barn Owls and the rest for smaller birds such as Tits, Robins and Spotted Flycatchers. Many acres of wildflower seed has been sown and carpets of vibrant golds, reds, yellows and blues are on display during the spring, summer and autumn seasons.

Wilderness Reserve is about a 1 hour 20 minute drive from my house so it’s pretty quick to get to and an easy drive. When you arrive you check in and are then escorted to your property so you don’t get lost, but also so they can go through a few things with you. Once I arrived at Stump catering were there dropping off some of the food I had ordered. Oh yeah, didn’t I forget to mention you can arrange to have them make and bring you food? They also offer fine dining where you can have a chef come and cook for you in your property. They will even bring staff to serve you. As I was on my own I didn’t think that was really necessary, but if you are going with a group I think it would be nice.

I had ordered a cheese and charcuterie hamper for the night of my arrival. This came with prosciutto, salami and chorizo, as well as a range of local cheese, crackers and olives. At the same time my breakfast was delivered so that I wasn’t disturbed in the morning. I went for a continental breakfast which consisted of cereal, granola, yoghurt, berries and pastries. When I booked my stay I was asked if I was celebrating a special occasion. I joked saying it was my first holiday in 13 years so maybe I should celebrate that. They actually made me a cake! And there was a lovely bottle of Malbec waiting for me.

Stump comes with a range of amazing facilities. Aside from a natural pool which came complete with it’s own jetty, rowing boat and paddle board, there was also a hot tub where you could relax and enjoy the amazing views. There is also a lake house with a sauna, steam room, and an outdoor kitchen which features a Big Green Egg. When I booked I let them know that I would like to make use of the Pashley bikes that they have available. You can even have complementary use of an electric BMW during your stay! I decided that I wouldn’t be leaving the estate so it wouldn’t be necessary.

The next day I was actually up very early. I woke up at 4:30am, which isn’t unusual for me as I often wake up when it gets light. When I opened the door to the lake I had been visited by a variety of wildlife like rabbits and hares. There was even a family of pheasants drinking from the pool. After a leisurely breakfast I tried my hand at a spot of rowing before going for a paddle board.

Around midday catering arrived with my afternoon tea which consisted of a selection of sandwiches, sweet treats, a sausage roll and a scone with jam and clotted cream. This went down a treat, as did the bottle of Champagne that it came with. Housekeeping also checked in which was nice as I had previously said that I wouldn’t be requiring anything. It was nice that they check in anyway just to make sure that nothing has changed.┬áThat evening I relaxed in the hot tub with a lovely glass of Champagne.

On my final day I was up early once again and I had some new neighbours, some very friendly sheep. It meant that I had plenty of time to enjoy a cycle around the estate before having to check out at 11am. My drive home gave me time to reflect on my stay. As someone who lives, and predominantly works, on their own, going on a solo trip felt completely normal to me. While you know there are other properties around you, you can’t see them from your property so you very much feel alone. It really gives you time to relax and reflect without distractions.

Would I return to Wilderness Reserve? Definitely. While it was great to go alone, I think it would be lovely to return with friends or family. I forgot to mention is that you can have a range of spa treatments from the comfort or your property. If you are part of a larger group you can even do a yoga session. Wilderness Reserve also offer a range of experiences with rangers like falconry. There is plenty to do to keep you occupied!


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