Search

SEE INSIDE - Railway carriages and fairground wagons transformed into unique holiday lets at Coppins Farm

PUBLISHED: 19:27 26 January 2020 | UPDATED: 13:41 27 January 2020

Sharron Nichols and John McGlashan have created holiday lets out of showman wagons and old railway carriages. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Sharron Nichols and John McGlashan have created holiday lets out of showman wagons and old railway carriages. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Railway fans can find their own holiday heaven at Coppins Farm in Suffolk.

Sharron Nichols and John McGlashan are working on another railway carriage which will be able to sleep up to 6 people.                   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSharron Nichols and John McGlashan are working on another railway carriage which will be able to sleep up to 6 people. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

John McGlashan and partner Sharron Nichols have created unique holiday lets out of railway carriages and fairground wagons at the unusual site, in the village of Alphamstone, near Bures.

The couple decided to set up the holiday lets in 2005 after what Sharron described as a "Eureka moment in the bath!"

Sharron Nichols and John McGlashan have created holiday lets out of showman wagons and old railway carriages. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSharron Nichols and John McGlashan have created holiday lets out of showman wagons and old railway carriages. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The accommodation includes a genuine Victorian Eastern region first class carriage, which sleeps four. The carriage is also under a giant pitched roof for outside seating and dining.

There are also two fairground wagons, one maroon and one green, where holidaymakers can get a taste of the way fairground families lived in years gone by.

Sharron Nichols and John McGlashan have created holiday lets out of showman wagons and old railway carriages. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSharron Nichols and John McGlashan have created holiday lets out of showman wagons and old railway carriages. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

For the showman's wagons. Sharron said: "John put a wanted ad in a vintage plant magazine and had two replies. He bid on both to be on the safe side and much to his surprise got them both."

The railway carriage came from a private steam collector and was a shell. It took a couple of years by a patient and skilled local artisan to convert it.

Sharron Nichols and John McGlashan have created holiday lets out of showman wagons and old railway carriages. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSharron Nichols and John McGlashan have created holiday lets out of showman wagons and old railway carriages. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Rail enthusiasts come from far and wide to stay and young train fans are often treated to a holiday by their parents. Nature lovers are also attracted to the site.

Looking to the future, the couple are adapting another carriage, which will sleep six.

Sharron Nichols and John McGlashan have created holiday lets out of showman wagons and old railway carriages. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSharron Nichols and John McGlashan have created holiday lets out of showman wagons and old railway carriages. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Sharron added: "We have amazing feedback from visitors who are so refreshed by the peace and simple beauty of the farm and its wild flower meadows. 'It's so quiet' is the usual refrain. The most memorable was 'It's bigger than my flat!'.

The newest addition is Coppins Den, a library-cum-museum housed in a railway carriage, with wi-fi and activities for children and adults.

Sharron Nichols and John McGlashan have created holiday lets out of showman wagons and old railway carriages. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSharron Nichols and John McGlashan have created holiday lets out of showman wagons and old railway carriages. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The Den sprang from an off-the-cuff comment by John while standing inside an ancient railway carriage that stood in the visitors' car park. "I always thought this would make a good farm and natural history museum," he said.

Sharron took up the challenge and started work on the Den at Easter last year, aiming to feed curiosity about nature. A neighbour contributed microscopes and another donated a fox tail and from there the collection has kept growing.

There are three bookcases crammed with books on birds, butterflies, local walks and just about every natural history subject. Visitors are encouraged to add to the display with their own finds, and there are seven jars of metal detecting finds from across the farm, where there was once a Roman Villa.

"There's just something magical about Coppins which would be impossible to describe. It means many things to many people and our return visitors just can't get enough," Sharron said.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Sudbury Mercury. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Sudbury Mercury