Our delicious little Vineyard Cottage is tucked away in rural East Ruston. Up a private drive, just off Chequers Street, which is a field lined country road with very little passing traffic.
Owners Graham and Collette bought Vineyard Cottage as part of Poplar Farmhouse (and the vineyard – more of that below!) in 2021 and have fallen in love with this fabulously rural part of Norfolk as well as the coast and nearby Norfolk Broads. We think you may too!
They share their new country life with two 5 yr old dogs (sister crosses to a finely built Wire fox terrier mum and a more solid Airedale Terrier dad). These two girls have their own separate and enclosed garden to explore and do so in their usual bouncy and inquisitive manner. Be rest assured they are never a bother.
Collette and Graham say…”We are lucky and enjoy the peace and tranquility that East Ruston village offers and being on the outer edge means there is unhindered views of open fields, woodland and the big sky experience - it really has to be seen to be believed.”
There are a LOT of really good and easy walks from the door and walking your dogs along the road is safe as the occasional cars are local and considerate and there is plenty of space to get off the road. The Weavers Way is 100m from the cottage and links the North Norfolk coast to Great Yarmouth. It is 61 miles long and links the diverse landscapes of woodland, mixed farmland, historic country estates, disused railway lines, riverside walks and the famous Norfolk Broads; a big one on the 'must do’ list for many a keen walker and rambler. Have a look at the Norfolk website here to see a lot more about it and a selection of the routes – short and long.
There is great choice of mixed footpath walks and quiet lanes all around the village and it’s worth heading over to the East Ruston Poors Allotments – an unusual area of mixed woodland, heathland and marsh where only the locals walk and the wildlife thrives!
So about the vineyard …. “It has been producing delicious English white wines for the past 15 years. The previous owner started it – small but perfectly formed, and we have spent the first year here on a very steep learning curve. It’s been a fascinating entry into viticulture and we are thrilled to add to the ever growing wine producers here in the Norfolk – it really is an exciting time for this amazing industry. Our first harvest was fine, given that it was a difficult growing season and we hope to get our first tastings in 2022"
The farm that Vineyard Cottage and the vineyard itself are on is roughly 6 acres in size and is surrounded by fabulous open fields with unhindered views.
Given the huge space on the farm, Graham and Collette decided to fulfil a lifelong ambition and brought 3 bee hives into the well-established fruit orchard (producing plums, apples, blackberries and pears).
Graham said "Becoming a beekeeper is nothing short of mesmerising – looking after the hives and the 50000 ladies (well most are female) is nothing short of being a privilege, especially when you sit back and watch them fly off for yet another foraging mission. With a good over-wintering we will hope to be producing our very own East Ruston Farm honey, jams and chutneys as well as the wine".
There are more plans afoot and Graham and Collette hope to roll out more exciting things over the next year or two – think wild flower meadows, farm walks and a fine kitchen garden and of course the home produce for guests to enjoy.
For the 2022 season, guests of Vineyard Cottage (I hope you now see why they changed the name from Snowdrop Cottage) will be able to enjoy a free guided tour of the Vineyard and apiary. There will be an area for guests to enjoy a summer time picnic next to the Vineyard – an idea given to Graham by another local vineyard owner nearby.
The farm has an array of solar panels which generate the electricity used on site and Air source heat pumps to reduce the carbon footprint to the lowest level possible plus large composting facilities.
Graham says "As time goes by we are planning to add to these conservation measures and hope to be as self sufficient as we possibly can. Vineyard Cottage has been designed with comfort in mind but also with an eye towards efficiency. We only install LED low wattage light fittings, the house is insulated to the highest level and a LPG gas boiler is also as efficient as it can in producing the instant hot water and heating during your stay."
Fancy a stay here? Head on over to the website page to see what is available and get you and your dogs booked in!