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Campsite makes high nature value farming viable

Bainbridge, 10 November, 2017

A new campsite has been established on a farm in Buckden in Upper Wharfedale, with support from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund (SDF).

A £10,000 grant has helped to pay for three camping pods at the Heber Farm, as well as toilet and shower facilities for a 22 pitch campsite, website development and tree planting.

Income from the 22 pitch campsite will enable tenant farmers Gill and Garry Schofield to carry out their plan to restructure their farm business to provide greater benefits for the environment.

Heber Farm Campsite is one of 18 projects to receive a total of £77,818 from the SDF since April.  

Garry Schofield said the campsite was a hit with tourists:  “Considering the wet weather and the village pub being shut at the moment, we’ve had a remarkable first summer. About 60 people have come through each weekend.

“The SDF grant made the work feasible, because under current farming circumstances it would have been difficult to raise the capital required.  Farming is not buoyant enough to stand on its own two feet at the moment. The campsite allows us to continue farming on an environmental basis, rather than double sheep numbers to increase income.”

The campsite is small-scale and seasonal and is located in a tree-screened, narrow field behind the farmhouse at Heber Farm, immediately to the west of Buckden village green. Camping will take place only from Easter to October half-term when most trees are in leaf; the camping field will return to pastoral grazing during the winter months.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Chairman, Carl Lis, said the campsite had been carefully planned: “I’d like to pay tribute to Garry and Gill’s hard work and imagination. We were keen to support their project because it helps to expand and diversify the supply of sustainable, short stay, self-catering visitor accommodation.  

“The campsite fits well into the landscape.  And the income it generates will mean that Garry and Gill can engage in what is becoming known as ‘high nature value farming’.”

The SDF supports those contributing in some way to looking after the National Park’s natural beauty, wildlife or cultural heritage – and as such providing some local economic  or community benefit.

Details of the SDF can be found at yorkshiredales.org.uk/sdf

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