New campsite 'pops up' on the Northumberland coast
A north Northumberland farm is welcoming campers for this first time this summer as demand for staycations skyrockets.
Newlands and Spindlestone Farms, between Bamburgh and Belford – both belonging to the same farming family – have launched ‘pop-up’ campsites to help hordes of British holidaymakers relax after a torrid 12 months of lockdowns.
The move comes after figures by Pitchup.com reveal that farmers and landowners can earn up to £7,000 per day by opening a temporary campsite during the holiday season.
And with regulations now enabling land-based businesses to operate a campsite without planning permission for 56 days, there’s never been a better time for farmers and landowners to diversify into leisure.
Lucy Baker Cresswell, who is in charge of running the campsites, said they were looking to offer the wildest legal camping experience available.
The two organic farms comprise of around 2,500 acres and include a 200-head herd of organic Hereford beef cattle, 1,200 organic Texel, Suffolks and Mule sheep, and a variety of organic arable crops such as buckwheat, quinoa, OSR, wheat, barley, and beans.
They are divided by the A1 and combined, offer spectacular views across Bamburgh Castle, the Cheviot Hills and the Northumbrian coastline.
Lucy said her father, John Baker Cresswell, had first come up with the idea to create a wild-camping campsite around 10 years ago for people who ‘love camping but hate campsites’.
She added the recent extension to permitted development rights, which increased the length of time a landowner could operate a pop-up campsite from 28 days to 56 days, had been the impetus to get it up and running.
Lucy said: “I left university this year and was looking for something to do but Covid made that difficult. However, I noticed that last year, between the lockdowns, when people could get away, they all went on staycations.
“My dad had already thought of setting up a campsite but hadn’t got round to it, but with me home, it seemed the timing was just right.
“We’re in such a beautiful part of the country that within days of going online, we got loads of bookings, even including local people just wanting a change of scene without having to travel too far.”
Lucy said setting up the campsite was easy, and it didn’t impact on the day-to-day running of the farm.
“We just need to manage it around our stockman who has specific ideas for the sheep and cows,” she said. “But other than that, it’s incredibly easy to do.”
The government introduced the 56-day extension to permitted development rights last year to help power a post-Covid rural recovery.
However, as the pandemic dragged on, the government extended it to the end of this year, to enable farmers and rural businesses to benefit from the boom in staycations.
Dan Yates, founder of Pitchup.com, said: “Staycations have seen a surge in popularity over recent years and in the light of Covid-19, this trend will only get stronger.
“Temporary campsites are a fantastic way of generating significant extra revenue with very little investment and next to no disruption to day-to-day business operations.
“And with sites able to operate for 56 days without planning permission throughout 2021, they’re a lifeline for struggling land-based business as well as a shot in the arm for remote rural economies.”