Your hosts - Jane, Andrew and Chris Leng - celebrated 20 years at Longacre in 2011. One of our greatest joys has been the gradual transformation of the property from intensively cropped arable fields to a private nature reserve.
We planted over a thousand native trees and shrubs after we arrived, which have grown into pleasant spinneys. There is abundant wildlife. We've put up bird and bat-boxes; the grassland, grazed by our Soay sheep, has grown increasingly species-rich. The barn owl box in the bottom wilderness is occasionally occupied and can be seen from the edge of the Lodges area.
Our pastures bear a profusion of wild flowers, providing habitat for butterflies and small mammals. Two spinneys of mainly native trees and shrubs line the boundaries of the property. The Lodges' dell has harebells and cowslips with brambles and berry-bearing shrubs round the edge, which support butterflies, nesting whitethroats and finches.
The exciting display flights of Marsh harriers and buzzards can be seen overhead. Barn owls, kestrels and sparrow hawks regularly hunt around Longacre; nightingales are sometimes heard. Rabbits are everywhere and deer might be glimpsed at dawn and dusk. Guests are welcome to explore the many paths. Look at our sketch-map for the lay-out and some of the plants and animals we've seen.
Longacre is only a 45min walk, mostly through the reserve, from the Visitor Centre at Minsmere bird reserve and the coast. The bridge over Minsmere River north of Eastbridge is a lovely place to walk to in the evening (15 min). With views across the marshes and Reserve, it is used by local bird tour guides for watching barn owls. The Eels Foot pub (10 min) is on the way; the Lion is a 10 min walk in the opposite direction.
Theberton Village has a historic thatched church with an unusual round tower. The towns of Leiston and Saxmundham are three to four miles away. Longacre is within easy reach of the Suffolk Heritage Coast with miles of footpaths, good cycling, safe beaches and acres of marsh, heath and forest.