Established pool in Ipswich
Wood Farm in Hemingstone in Suffolk, has a long history in the area dating back some 400 years. Since then elements of the property have been modernised including the addition of the Georgian façade, which took place around 150 years ago.
When Paul and Claire Willcox and their three children moved to the property in 2006, Wood Farm was no longer a working farm and most of its land had been sold off. The property was in need of restoration and so the family began an extensive renovation programme including the conversation of the old stable block into accommodation.
Another element of the redevelopment was the large garden. As a Shipbroker in London, Paul clearly has an interest in water and, as he is a keen swimmer too, a pool was planned to be a major feature in the garden redesign. The family did not like the look or the smell of traditional bright blue chlorinated pools and as Paul and his wife are keen gardeners, they felt a natural swimming pond would provide beauty and interest in the garden throughout the seasons.
Initially the Willcoxes contacted a pool supplier who were not a BIOTOP UK partner but who were offering natural pool construction. However, it soon became apparent that the company did not have the skills or expertise required to build a successful natural pool and so the family looked elsewhere. They soon found Woodhouse Natural Pools in Cambridge which has over 13 years’ experience and specialism in natural pool design and construction.
Following detailed discussions with the Willcox family, the Woodhouse team designed the 180m2 natural pool to resemble a typical pond in Suffolk. The shoreline of the pool mimics those of the local rivers, including areas of sand bank. Locally sourced rocks and stones were incorporated into the design to ensure it blended effortlessly with the surrounding landscape. As well as the verdant planting in the regeneration zone the Woodhouse team created a beautiful wild flower lawn to run alongside the pool.
Although Claire prefers to stay dry and admire the pool from the deck, Paul and his four year old Labrador Alfie both enjoy a swim every day. , “I use the pool from mid-April to early October on a daily basis (twice daily at times),” Paul says. “There is no better way to start a working day in London than with a swim in the early morning sun. It is a good idea to get ‘shorty’ wet suits as they substantially extend the period when the pond is comfortably usable – which I feel is down to about 12C.”
With regards to the ongoing maintenance of the pool Paul says, “It is very easy. Apart from a thorough clean at the beginning and end of each season I sometimes do a couple of hours cleaning once or twice a year e.g. before parties, and I find it quite relaxing. The filter needs emptying every day, but it is not a chore.”
“I find that most of the basic servicing can be carried out by me and our occasional gardener. But Woodhouse advise me on maintaining the proper balance and the team are always available to help if I’m feeling lazy.”
Paul and his family have been delighted with their natural pool and were highly impressed with the professionalism of Woodhouse’s design and construction. The pool is now a major part of their family life. Paul said, “The pond is a focus for meals, parties and gatherings throughout the summer. We always host big events here for our church choir, my local athletics clubs, and visiting clubs from overseas, and our children and their friends hang out round the fire pit long into the nights.”