Amelia and Richard Leach designed, built Sutton Hoo Farm themselves. A seven year labour of love during which they lived in safari tents on site. A small section of what was once the ten thousand acre Burguret Estate of Sir Alfred Bight. They spent a full year studying the wind patterns and logging the days when the weather conditions favoured a view of Mt Kenya to the East or the Aberdares Mountains to the West before making the final decision on where to place the main house. During that first year they laid the foundations for the landscaping and constructed the 20m swimming pool and pool house. Over the following four years they married, finished the main build and completed their family with the arrival of twins. A further two years of landscaping and architectural tweaks, they added the gym, tennis court and breakfast room bringing us to the present day.
History Behind the Farm's Name.
Sutton Hoo Farm is named after the house in Suffolk, UK where Amelia’s grandmother was born and raised. In 1939 achaeologists studying mounds in fields of the property discovered the greatest Viking burial treasure trove to be unearthed in the United Kingdom.
Griffon Africa was formed to follow on from Richard’s successful enabling company, Hybrid Solutions which supported oil exploration in East Africa. The Griffon, a hybrid of lion and eagle.
Meet Your Hosts.
The great niece of celebrated British painter William Nicholson, and talented artist, Amelia studied Spanish and History of Architecture at Newcastle University before packing her bags for a trip to Kenya. Five years later; having been the Camp Manager at Rekero Lodge in the Masaai Mara and at Island Camp on Lake Baringo; Amelia returned to England and worked in the marketing department at Loreal, at Burberry and then joined Guards Polo Club PR & Marketing department. Through polo Amelia ended up working as a journalist covering the sport in England, USA and Argentina, where she also presented polo on ESPN. Amelia returned to Kenya in 2009 to volunteer for Unique Eco, a marine conservation NGO in Nairobi where she met Richard. Amelia speaks fluent Spanish in addition to colloquial Kiswahili.
Richard, studied Agriculture and Newcastle University and then joined the British Army where he spent six years as a commissioned officer in the infantry. Always planning to fly Helicopters with the Army Air Corps, he resulted in prematurely leaving the services with irreparable knee and spinal injuries. What better to do than take up motorcycle racing, set up a company, MHL Motorsport, and pioneer fly-ride motorcycle track holidays at the Grand Prix circuit in Barcelona. A financial crash led to a rapid transition from 150 horsepower to one horsepower as he took up a post as yard manager then assistant trainer in a horse racing yard. Injury again played a part and after taking a hoof through the rib cage, he opted for a safer role as a security consultant bringing peace to the civil war-torn Aceh province in Sumatra, training the Army in UAE and inevitably as a contractor in Iraq. From Iraq to the UN World Food Programme and a fascinating tour of Yemen, Pakistan, Azerbaijan and Afghanistan before becoming an operations manager in Algerian oil exploration. Algeria led to Mauritania, to Kuwait, to Ethiopia and then to Kenya where his family had been farming intermittently since the 1930’s. While running an exploration support company Richard finally completed his helicopter training and qualified as a commercial pilot in 2009. Joining up with Amelia to create a viable herb farm and hotel out of rough high altitude scrubland proved the ideal foil for a day job supporting exploration in remote areas of Kenya and across the Horn of Africa.