History/About Us

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The Family

The Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa is a subsidiary of The Boxford Group, a family-owned business, founded by Bill and Devora Peake in the 1940's. The Peake family has been farming in Suffolk for well over 60 years; from a small 120 acre apple farm, their entrepreneurial skills have Peake family photodeveloped a thriving and diverse group of companies which have grown to include a hotel, golf, leisure and conferencing business, and fruit growing and processing, on around 900 acres of land.
 
In the early years the farm produced a very wide range of products which they delivered all over the country. Apple growing was always their main activity and over 20 different varieties of apples are still produced today in their orchards surrounding the golf courses and beyond. Other enterprises included dairy farming and cheese production, sheep and turkey rearing, the growing of organic vegetables and wheat - even stone-ground organic flour was produced on site. Top London hotels and department foodhalls were among their regular early customers. Bill and Devora were founder members of the Soil Association and together with Lady Eve Balfour they even set up a school for Organic Husbandry on their farm at Boxford - they were way ahead of their time.
 
In 1969, after Britain joined the EEC and the import tariffs on apples were lifted, the Peakes decided that to survive they would diversify into fruit juice production, and Copella farm-pressed English apple juice was born - in the farmhouse kitchen! The name was derived from a combination of Cox's Orange Pippin, the main apple variety used, and the name of the youngest Peake daughter, Carmella.
 
A year or so after launching Copella Bill and Devora decided that, as there was a shortage of golf courses in East Anglia, they would convert 300 acres of their undulating arable land into two 18 hole courses, and with the help of a well respected golf architect, were the first farmers in the UK to diversify into golf.
 
The Peake family business was brought into the spotlight by Sir John Harvey-Jones in three of his BBC Documentary SeriesSusanna Rendall "Troubleshooter" in 1989. 1992 and 1999, and he formally opened the new Hotel, Conference Centre and Spa in his last programme. He advised the family about their various enterprises including "Copella" Apple Juice, (sold to Tropicana UK Ltd. in 1998) Stoke by Nayland Golf Club, Boxford Suffolk Farms and "Peake Fruit", their fruit storage, packing and marketing company.
 
In 1996, in recognition of her lifetime's work, Devora Peake was awarded the MBE for services to the Fruit and Fruit Juice Industries and she was made a fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society.
 
Bill Peake died in 1979 and Devora in 1999, but their children, who have been working in the family business for a number of years, are now running the Group and its subsidiaries. Susanna Rendall is the Group Managing Director assisted by Brother Jonathan Loshak, sisters Tamara Unwin and Carmella Meyer and Susanna's son Robert, who are all Executive Board Directors.
 
 

History - The Golf Club

Stoke by Nayland Golf Club was originally developed in the 1970's by Bill and Devora Peake - the Gainsborough Course was built in 1972 followed by the Constable Course in 1Bill Peake and Lol Tricker 1970s Golf Course 17th green979. Originally arable farmland, the two 18-hole golf courses were constructed on 300 acres of magnificent, undulating Constable Country on the edge of the picturesque Dedham Vale which is now a designated "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty". With conservation always a priority, the Peakes planted 60,000 trees which now line the fairways and form many areas of indigenous woodland. There are also natural and man-made ponds and streams, together with four large lakes which all serve to enhance the overall beauty of the courses.
 
The challenging picturesque courses are now well-established and have earned the reputation of being among the finest in East Anglia, regularly hosting National and Regional Events and Pro-Ams.
 
After the family sold the Copella Fruit Juice brand to Tropicana UK in 1998 they embarked on a major expansion programme, creating a 30 bedroom hotel, a conference and banqueting centre for up to 450 guests, and a state-of-the-art health and fitness complex - with a view to maximise visitors' and members' enjoyment of this idyllic location.
 
In 2004 Peake Fitness and Spa was further extended to include a large air-conditioned Peake Spa at the Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf and Spaaerobics studio, exotic Rasoul and Hammam therapy rooms as well as other new treatment rooms, and a spacious relaxation area by the pool. In addition new private terrace areas were added to the Devora Suite and Constable Rooms.
 
In 2007 a further 50 air-conditioned bedrooms were created making a total of 80, as well as a new restaurant, glass-fronted Golfers' Bar and Gallery Lounge with 180 degree panoramic views, Pippin retail shop, new changing rooms and Pro Shop.
 
The hotel is now established as a popular venue for corporate functions and weddings as well as for golf and leisure breaks. It is also regularly used by Premiership and other football teams when they visit the region. An array of signed shirts from top Premiership clubs is proudly displayed in the hotel foyer.
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