My Suffolk - James Hopkins
James Hopkins is the executive chairman and the driving force behind Hopkins Homes, East Anglia’s premier award-winning residential developer. We asked him to tell us about his Suffolk
Have you always lived in Suffolk?
I was born and brought up in Southwold where my father was a local doctor. We lived in a house on the seafront looking out to sea. My parents moved to Wangford when I was ten and I went to school at Ampleforth on the North Yorkshire Moors. I moved away from Suffolk for a few years but I soon came back. It’s such a wonderful place to live. It must be one of the best places to live in England.
Where do you live now?
I have a farm with an organic livestock operation not far from Southwold. We have Suffolk Red Poll and Lleyn sheep and we sell the beef and lamb locally. We also show the cattle at the Suffolk Show. I am very passionate about local food, it’s another reason why Suffolk is such a fantastic place live. There are a great many people interested in local food production and together we form a very strong community. The Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival is a great new addition to Suffolk life.
If you were entertaining people who’d never been to Suffolk before where would you take them?
Maybe Snape Maltings and the Aldeburgh Festival. It’s a wonderful asset for Suffolk. I like all music and dance and at Snape they have a very varied programme to cover most tastes.
What about if you were going on a family day out?
There are so many places I’d take the family. There’s nothing better than sailing on the River Alde, either up river to Snape past Iken, or down to Orford with a pint at the Jolly Sailor.
Where would you recommend as places to eat out?
There are so many different places, The Anchor at Walberswick, followed by a walk on the beach and The Crown at Southwold. I also like Pinney’s at Orford, it’s a wonderful place for fresh fish and just last week I tried the British Larder at Bromeswell which I though was fantastic.
Have you got a favourite place to walk?
At home. I walk round the farm most days to check the animals are all Okay. I like to spend time on the farm early in the morning. We have only had the farm for five years but it’s very rewarding. From an economic point of view the livestock needs to be self sustainable in feed. The animals graze on the grass in summer and we make silage for the winter. We also grow vegetables for feed.
Adnams or Greene King?
It has to be Adnams because I worked there during a summer holiday when I was 16. My job involved carting the barrels around the brewery. In my day you had to pick them up and they were very heavy! Adnams is also very close to my heart as we achieved one of the UK’s most highly regarded design accolades form the Housing Design Awards panel for our development at the distribution centre right in the heart of Southwold.
Have you got any other interests?
Art has always been a great passion of mine since I worked at Christies. Originally I wanted to be involved in art as a career but then I started building houses! I am particularly interested in British 20th Century artists and I love going to auctions. There have been some great artists who have painted in Suffolk and there is a vibrant and thriving community today.