Run Cottage History
Andy and Michele purchased the land at Run Cottage in 1998 to build a family home, having lived at the opposite end of the village for a number of years, we knew of the old derelict cottages that were there but the whole site was so overgrown with trees and brush we didn’t know how much land came with it, it turned out the cottages stood on 1 acre of land.
We took over the land on February the 1st 1998 and started demolishing what was left of the old cottages and clearing the land, we soon discovered the original Run Cottages had quite a bit of history, the original Run Cottages dated from around the time the Martello towers were built along the coast and built of the same type of brick, the “BB” Martello tower, this tower was never completed as they tried to build it on a shingle bank and the weight of the tower was just too much and it subsided and finally demolished in 1822 so maybe the cottages were built form the surplus building materials, what is known is that the cottages along this stretch of coast supplied the naval fleet with fresh produce when anchored in Hollesley bay, and the inhabitants of run cottage were probably glad of a little extra income from this, in fact this coastline has always played an important role in any warfare throughout history and subsequently the buildings and people, during the second world war Run cottage was not commandeered but all the cottages which can be seen at shingle street were and there are rumours, some say fact that we were invaded by Germany during the second world war as bodies in German uniform were washed up along the beach at Hollesley bay. The cottages themselves got their name from the river run (more of a stream) that runs along the northern boundary, the land more recently was used as grazing pasture and willow production for making cricket bats, the local farm still grows some willow on neighbouring fields.
We finished building our house ready to move into in May 1999, in 2000 while talking to the farmer that owned the adjacent cricket bat plantation to the rear of the cottages we asked if he would be interested in selling some more land, not expecting him to say yes! But he did so we purchased another acre of land but now we have it what were we going to do with it, well we were caravaner’s we had only sold our caravan to build the house, and its every caravaner’s dream to own a small site, so we contacted the caravan club to see if they were interested in a C.L in this location as there were none in the area, they agreed and after some preparation laying on a water supply, chemical toilet emptying point, five electric hook ups etc etc; we very nervously opened as a C.L in march 2000, we were soon a popular site and had trouble limiting ourselves to only the five caravans we were allowed, one weekend we had a visit from the local caravan club inspector who was not very pleased to see eight caravans in the field he said “Mrs Stebbens remind me not to come on a Saturday again you are becoming too popular” , he was right to our surprise in 2002 we won the Caravan Club’s regional C.L of the year voted for by the members that had visited us fantastic.
Later that year however disaster struck as Andy was made redundant from his job and suddenly everything was in jeopardy, what do we do, well we went back to see the farmer again to try and purchase more land, he agreed so we took a chance spent all the redundancy money and bought another acre of land, it took us nearly two years to get permission to extend into the next field and build a new shower block, in the meantime Andy went back to his old trade as a blacksmith, and with Michele helping in the workshop where she could over the next three years we managed to make a living out of the blacksmith shop and build the shower block, Andy continued in the blacksmith shop and we opened as a 20 van site in 2005, the site has gone from strength to strength getting more popular year on year until again to our surprise in 2012 we were nominated finalists in the top 100 campsites for Practical Caravan and Practical Motorhome. In 2013 we were again fortunate to be nominated as finalists in the top 100 campsites with Practical Caravan and again with Practical Motorhome but this time we won the Practical Motorhome regional site of the year this is a big, big thing for us as it is voted for by our valued customers, thanks to everyone who voted for us. With renewed confidence we again decided to approach the planners to see if we could expand into the next field and in July 2013 we got our planning approval to extend the site to have 45 pitches open all year spread over 4.5 acres with two new luxury sole bathroom suites allowing us to get an AA 4 star rating, 2013 also saw us awarded a Premier Park status, 2014 who knows??