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Thread: Farm tourism - your views appreciated.

  1. #1

    Farm tourism - your views appreciated.

    Despite living in a popular "holiday" area I've never gone down the tourism route, although lots of local farms have campsites etc. Always felt it wasn't really the thing for me - the thought of regimented rows of caravans and hordes of screaming people fill me with dread!
    However, a couple of recent trends - namely "glamping" and Wild Camping - have brought the whole business more in line with my field of interest.

    Having done a bit of research I've invested in a massive "safari style" bell-tent.
    Something similar to this:

    Eventually I hope to site this in it's own designated area in a secluded valley on the farm (meadow and woodland with a small stream running through), but in the meantime, just to get the ball rolling, will probably put it up in the corner of one of our hay fields. It'll be tastefully kitted out with double bed (with linen etc) and two singles beds and simple furniture, rugs etc, there will be simple cooking facility in the form of a gas barbeque with side burner, crockery, pots & pans etc, fire pit for that all-important campfire, standpipe for drinking water, short walk down to the farm for basic shower and toilet facilities. Also the site gives immediate access to the local footpath network, reasonably close to beaches, etc etc.
    For larger groups (e.g., families with more than 2 kids) we could allow own small tent to be put up alongside.

    Looking around online, prices for this sort of thing range from about 30 / night for up to 4 people (empty tent, provide your own kit) to 85+ / night for up to 4 people (all mod-cons, which rather defeats the object IMO). I was thinking of going in at about the 40 mark.

    So, my questions are, firstly, has anyone been on one of these type of holidays? If so, would be interested to hear about it - cost, what was provided, and what made it a good (or bad) experience.
    Secondly, for anyone who's not been on this type of holiday, would you consider it, and if so what facilities would you expect, and at what kind of price.

    Any feedback welcome!

  2. #2
    A guy I know has two shepherds huts open fire outside long drop toilet and cold shower all outdoor with tarp Canopys you would be amazed what folk pay to come rough it he supplies rabbits pigeons Ect and I mean mega
    good luck to you I say

  3. #3
    A friend and his wife have started similar on their farm, search for hale farm campsite as their website will give you an idea of costs and what they provide etc. They've also just got a shepherds hut this week which looks amazing and luxurious with a log burner, kitchen and double bed. They have a working farm and limit the number of pitches and have composting toilets etc so it's basic but more natural I suppose. I could have a word with him and see if they'd be happy to chat to you if you're interested?

  4. #4
    Hi - I run a magazine which covers lots of this sort of camping - we've been to and reviewed dozens of these sites and they're very popular. Some of the prices charged seem to me to be very high - 800 per week - but they are still busy and they are essentially hotel rooms made of canvas. I have been to two sites with a single yurt, which sleep up to 12, but not a site with just the one family tent. Our experience suggests that people often go away in groups on trips like this, so if I were to add anything it would be to suggest another one or two tents to allow block bookings.
    Your pricing seems very fair - key things people want to know are availability of wood, food for barbeques, milk and if the shower is warm.
    The location sounds great.
    All the best with it.

  5. #5
    I think it's an excellent idea! With all the crap going on currently in the world such as the Tunisian nightmare, there are people looking for alternatives to holidays abroad. Low cost and variety would definitely attract people. There are loads of things which you could offer which you probably take for granted! Being a Welsh Hill shepherd for the day would interest people! You could also have sea kayaks, wind surfers etc that they could use. Small fishing boat perhaps? Couple of ponies? Mountain bikes? A good variety of activities at a low cost.
    Insurance might be a requirement though if you offer too much?
    Sounds great though - good luck!

  6. #6
    Don't forget to ask the local planning authority for permission to do it for more than 28 days, or be prepared to move it to another field. Field to Farm

  7. #7
    Make sure you are insured properly is the thing i would advise no fun getting sued if little johnny breaks a leg or suchlike
    a barony original

  8. #8
    our caravan storage place has Teepee,s at 500 a week,Tim do it m8 its a steady earner for them.people like to stay "off piste" in the unusual and tell everyone who,s not interested about it afterwards.
    she buys shoes i buy ,shooting,she stops buying shoes,il be amazed

  9. #9
    Thanks for the input chaps - it all helps!
    Now sorted with toilet, shower and hot & cold running water in a suitable outbuilding - just needs a lick of paint now...

    nun_hunter I checked out Hale Farm. It appears I already have a connection with them via the livestock side of what they do, so I may well drop them a line - they'll know who I am. Thanks anyway for the offer of an intro.
    oager that's a fair point re the group bookings. I had just assumed the "exclusivity" of a single pitch site would be a good selling point, but clearly more research needed here. We're thinking maybe of putting in a camping pod (like the shepherds hut but without the wheels!) at some point in the future, so that might help address the issue, except that it would be on a different part of the farm. Wood - I would provide an initial supply, then point folk in the direction of suitable woodland to gather more (I own a few acres of trees). Milk - unfortunately legislation prevents me from selling it, even though we produce it for our own consumption. Could supply sausages, burgers etc from our own meat though. Would that be a good selling point do you think? Also, it would be handy to know what magazine you work for. (PM me if you prefer).
    Monkey Spanker I can see the attraction of providing lots of extra activities, but maybe this would be too much of a move back towards "conventional" tourism, which I'm trying to avoid. However, I had thought of providing a couple of beachcaster rods available for hire by the day, and a small selection of fishing tackle for sale. Allowing people to get involved in farming activities is an obvious draw, but a H&S nightmare! How do other folk manage it I wonder?
    JTO I heard recently that the local planners had extended the limit to 62 days for this kind of activity, but not sure how reliable my source was! I'll check it out - thanks.
    Landkeeper thanks - I just rang my insurers. It appears that my current farm policy provides cover for up to 10 camping pitches (tents / tourers) so that's ok.
    Tozzybum I don't think I'd have the nerve to charge that sort of price, but you're right - there's a definite demand for it.

    This all looks very encouraging...
    Last edited by VSS; 24-07-2015 at 16:02.

  10. #10
    Can't give you any advice, but very best of luck.


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