Racing couple expand after successful diversification

The view from the hot top at Sun Hill Lodges.

A prominent racing industry couple who have diversified by building a cluster of luxury lodges are expanding their holiday business to meet demand.

Racehorse trainer Ann Duffield runs the Sun Hill yard, near Constable Burton, with husband George, a former top jockey, who rode 3,000 winners and was awarded the MBE.

They built their first wooden lodges at the top of the gallops in 2013 and now have eight cabins, and planning permission for a further six.

The lodges come with an outdoor hot tubs, where guests can relax while looking out over the countryside of lower Wensleydale. Some also have a Scandinavian sauna.

The furnishings have all been chosen by Ann, who says she takes great joy and pride in equipping the lodges with designer furniture and fittings.

Ann says the decision to diversify has paid off.

“We were standing on top of the gallops and looked out at the amazing view and wanted to share it.

“As well as creating new jobs, the lodges help to support the yard. In racing it is difficult for the smaller yards to compete, but the lodges help us do what we do well, which is provide a friendly and welcoming environment for our owners.”

Ann and George Duffield. Photo: Louise Pollard.


The lodges already provide accommodation for around 34 people. There will be space for another 24 when the new lodges are built.

As well as holidaymakers to the Dales, the lodges are proving popular with hen and stag parties, as well as groups of artists and even yoga workshops.

Ann and George are keen that the wider area benefits from the visitors, with guests encouraged to spend time in local towns and eat out at the local pubs and restaurants.

The development has cost in excess of £2.3 million so far with the original four cabins being supported by a 35 per cent grant from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

It is estimated the complex will boost the local community by at least £1m annually when the new lodges are built.

The lodges are not the only new addition at the yard, with horses as well as humans coming to Sun Hill for some R&R.

The Sport Horse Fitness and Rehabilitation Centre was launched as a separate business this year.

The facilities include the region’s only equine cold salt water treadmill, which boosts core strength and fitness.

For more details on the lodges, visit