Valley Ridge

Nature recovery as part of a world class leisure destination

A CGI Render of Valley Ridge Resort. The resort building is proposed within a re-purposed quarry. The valley hosts outdoor adventure spaces with highwires and climbing walls up the valley sides. The valley is flanked by woodlands, green space and planting areas.

Valley Ridge


Valley Ridge Holdings


115 ha (284 acres)




Workplace & Leisure


leisure resort & parkland


350 lodges

100 apartments, 350 bed hotel & 200 bed hostel



neutral development

An illustration showing the vision for the landscape at Valley Ridge. © BMD

The Valley Ridge resort will be a unique visitor destination, that combines the natural beauty of a reclaimed quarry with world class facilities for indoor skiing, winter park, spa and aqua park.

The resort is a 284 acre site in Great Blakenham, Suffolk, 5 miles north of Ipswich city centre. BMD was appointed by Valley Ridge Holdings to provide landscape design and assessment services, working alongside Holder Mathias Architects and the Buro Happold sustainability team.

The stakeholder consultations were paramount with regards to gathering local people's opinions and have assured the carbon neutral development will utilise the site's natural assets and integrate the proposed landscape and buildings into the stunning setting of the former quarry. The experience of moving through the quarry to the leisure destinations is a central component of the site's opportunity, transitioning from 'real world' to 'lost world' and creating a destination of 'escape' in the process.

Image caption: A landscape vision for Valley Ridge. © BMD

A hand drawn sketch of the Valley Ridge resort. © BMD & James Holyoak

Nature Based Activity

A hand drawn sketch of 'The Ridge' activity space. © BMD &  James Holyoak

BMD have ensured a nature-led approach to the landscape at Valley Ridge.

The public realm provides a rich and dynamic experience, with visitors descending into a layered valley of lush multifunctional spaces, which spill out onto a plaza with stunning views over the quarry and cascading lakes.

With a focus on nature recovery, BMD have designed a mosaic of environments including woodland, wetland and habitat mounding with sensitive walking and cycling trails throughout.

Image caption: Aerial sketch of The Ridge. © BMD & James Holyoak

An illustrative masterplan of the Valley Ridge development. © BMD

Brownfield Biodiversity

A hand drawn sketch of 'The Lodge' at Valley Ridge. © BMD & James Holyoak

The landscape within the former quarry has started it's own journey of recovery.

From a site of man-made destruction pioneer trees, shrubs and groundcover have recolonised large areas within the site, creating a rich habitat mosaic that supports valuable wildflower and invertebrate populations.

This provides a significant landscape framework for development that is rooted in the importance of biodiversity, but also needs to 'work hard' to achieve net gain for the development.

Image caption: Aerial sketch of the Lodge. © BMD & James Holyoak

A CGI render of the leisure centre at Valley Ridge showing outdoor activities within the Valley setting. © HMA

Delight in Landscape

A hand drawn sketch of 'The Valley' at Valley Ridge. © BMD &  James Holyoak

Combining the landscape assets with biodiversity enhancements, BMD set out to achieve a design that gives people the opportunity to take delight in a natural and unique landscape.

Much of the focus of the masterplan development was spent on providing meaningful, nature-based experiences on the cycle and walking trails. With the obvious challenges of topographical variation within this former quarry site, creating routes that were both accessible and rich in landscape quality was a detailed process. Whilst the main attractions for the site were undoubtably the ski, swim and stay facilities, it was important to also ensure there was 'down-time' leisure provision for those staying on the site over a few days.

Image caption: Aerial sketch of the Valley. © BMD & James Holyoak

A CGI render of the lakeside lodges nestled in wetland and tree planting. © HMA