Gill Schofield and Carl Lis look at the camping pods at Heber Farm

Gill Schofield and Carl Lis look at the camping pods at Heber Farm

A grant from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has helped a farming family set up a campsite on the route of a long-distance footpath.

The site at Buckden in upper Wharfedale is within metres of the Dales Way.

A £10,000 cash injection from the authority’s sustainable development fund 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 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.

The campsite is small-scale and seasonal and is located in a tree-screened, narrow field behind the farmhouse, 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.

Garry Schofield said the campsite was a hit with visitors: “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 authority’s chairman Carl Lis said the campsite had been carefully planned: “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’.

“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 Schofields have been tenants at Heber Farm, which is owned by the National Trust, since 1994.

The campsite is one of 18 projects to receive a total of £77,818 from the SDF since April. The fund 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.

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