Glamping businesses are bang on trend, and when you have the winning combination of a Blackdown Shepherd Huts, perfect location, and some great clients running a fantastic business, we’re more than happy to shout about them!
Meet Park Farm in Daventry, Northamptonshire. This is a great case study from Jill and her family about how to make a glamping business work.
Myself and my husband, Tim, live at Park Farm which is a working beef and sheep farm on the Warwickshire/Northamptonshire borders. We have a life tenancy on the Shuckburgh Estate which is one of the oldest privately owned estates in the country. Tim has just turned 59 and I am 56 and together we have 4 children, Tim has two boys Oly and Josh, 28 and 26 and I have a daughter and son, Harriet and Will, 28 and 25. The children have all moved away from home now and have left us rattling around in a large farmhouse. We farm sheep and a pedigree herd of Hereford cattle and we live in quite a unique spot as we are well situated near a number of major road networks yet the farm is situated a mile off the road and lies very secluded within a rolling landscape of ridge and furrow fields which have been left unchanged since the middle ages. The approach to Park Farm is flanked by the deer park to Shuckburgh Hall which is home to an ancient herd of Fallow deer.
Tim took over the tenency back in 1993 and has done a tremendous amount of work to improve the farm. When he first moved in, the farmhouse was in a very dilapidated state and needed a major overhaul which has continued over the years as I have made some considerable changes since I moved in back in 2005 to accommodate the bed and breakfast business. We also have some beautiful gardens which are a real asset to the farm but when Tim first moved in they were non-existent and the area was just a rough field. The gardens were really the brain child of Tim’s late wife and together they created what is now a wonderful space.
I started the bed and breakfast business once the children had all moved away and had been thinking of getting a shepherd hut for a couple of years as a means of extending our accommodation before finally taking the plunge! I had always fancied the idea of having one as the farm lends itself perfectly to the idea. The final nudge for me came when a friend told me about a run-down old hut which was for sale locally. I went to see it, loved it, bought it and set about repairing it. However, it was really too small to be of much use, so then I decided to commission a hut from Blackdown to complement it and then spent many hours trying to work out the best way of using the two huts together.
We came up with the concept of The Snug and Hut, whereby The Snug is the Blackdown hut used for the sleeping/bathroom purposes and we revamped The Hut turning it into a small kitchen/dining space. They are both nestled in amongst an avenue of ancient oak trees where they look very at home and with the addition of a fire pit, hammock and barbeque they have proved very popular as a self-catered pair of huts.
We commissioned our hut with the bathroom and wood burner in position but I still wanted to feel as if I had a part to play, so I designed the layout of the bed, bunks and storage and together with the help of a local carpenter built and decorated both this and the kitchen hut. I decorated the huts in a similar style to the bed and breakfast rooms to create a contemporary, light and airy space which is ultra comfortable with fabulous bedding and quite a luxurious feel. I took delivery of our hut on my birthday, January 22nd 2015 and since then it has been successfully booked out on many occasions and we are fortunate to get a lot of repeat business and many complements.
Glamping in style
Although the huts are situated quite close to the farmhouse they seem very private as they are under the oak trees and quite tucked away. Guests love the privacy and the complete peace and quiet with only the birds and animals for company. We have very little light pollution at Park Farm so also benefit from wonderful starry skies at night and guests love to build a fire in the pit and pass the time of day. They seem to attract both couples looking for a romantic few days away as well as families. We created a day bed which converts to bunk beds suitable for children and we also have a 4m bell tent which can be sited close by for extra occupancy or older children.
For the last couple of years, we have a handful of families who come back year after year, one of which joins us each April for a very hands-on approach to lambing and they have become quite a part of the team!
We have now diversified into the wedding industry having a dilapidated old barn ripe for a new lease of life! It seems a natural progression for the B and B and glamping accommodation as these are all booked out together with the venue. The Snug and Hut will now be regularly used as part of the wedding party accommodation often housing the bride and groom on their wedding night. You couldn’t wish for a more idyllic start to married life!
Visit Park Farm here: http://stayatparkfarm.co.uk/