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Camping/holiday questions

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Emma S
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Camping/holiday questions

Postby Emma S » Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:01 pm

We have been looking at doing some 'luxury' camping at the farm, alongside trying to get the farm upgraded so that we can do educational free visits, as there is DEFRA funding for those, plus grants available about diversity into tourism.

We had applied to be part of the Featherdown Farm Days group, and the lady came out on wednesday. She really liked the farm, and the location proposed for their 'tents' but there was an issue with the distance between where you would check in and where the tents were, as it was a bit too far for them to take luggage, and also she was worried about the impact upon the residents in the farm cottages up there. The meeting was good though, as it answered some questions we had, and also made us reconsider some othr things.
we have a quad bike and trailer, so we would be able to 'deliver' luggage if we do this ourselves, and there is an area which is safe and large enough for parking near the main barn

we are looking at putting up some semi-permanent structures (like Featherdown, or yurts) and rather than having them all grouped together as featherdown would have liked, possibly having 3 or 4 different sites around the farm. We are also wondering about a couple of spots for people to be able to pitch their own tents, but dont really want to get involved in the whole 'field full of tents' type situation, as we are thinking more of a family orientated 'farm experience' thing, mainly demonstating some of the pre-industrial type of farming.

We had thought that it would be a good idea to have a composting loo at each of the sites of the semi-permanent structures, and 2 out 0f 3 would be quite simple to run a standpipe to for fresh water. Yurts would probably have a woodburner for heat/cooking. A shower facility up at the main bit of the farm.

Anyway, what I wanted to ask was that if you were going to go on a holiday like this, what sort of things would be useful/ of interest. examples are - linens provided/ farm shop with local meat+veg/pony rides/ petting area / collect your own fresh eggs / survival type nights - ie how to start a fire, make a bow, etc/ herbal walks / demonstrations and have a go at old rural crafts - basket making, spinning, dyeing, weaving, etc/ free food, foraging stuff / home cooked meals/ bread/ cakes available/ kids play area / fishing / watching the horses do forestry work /

also to add that there is an archaological site on the farm, the moat and ruins of a medievil castle, so again had wondered about tieing in some historical stuff with agriculture and life at that time

any ideas feedback would be welcome

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freyasmummy
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Re: Camping/holiday questions

Postby freyasmummy » Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:43 pm

Oh God, please don't do Featherdown. It's so fecking twee it makes me want to puke. I think you could do a far better job setting something up independently - and probably make an awful lot more money.

I'd go with yurts, they are so cool!

If you're going to go with semi perm pre erected accomodation, which is the kind of thing I'd be interested in, possibly for later this year, I'd like:

Linen provided
Any wood for stove etc provided
A fire pit adjacent to the yurt so we could have a fire and cook outdoors
Teatowels and stuff provided included in the accomodation charge - hidden extras drive me nuts so price it to include everything and make it clear that you've done this
Farm shop, and I'm sure DD would love to collect eggs
All the activities you mention sound nice - how would these be priced?
No 'play area', but an 'area' with materials for kids to build their own forts/dens etc and engage in some imaginative woodland play would be triffic

If there is a medieval castle etc on site, you should definitely look at doing themed weekends for those nutters that like to dress up in chain mail and whatnot. I mean that most affectionately, I know several people who spend their weekends thus and they're LOVELY. But nuts. Hardcore Pratchett fans do this sort of thing too - turn your ruins into Lancre Castle and you've a license to print money IMHO!

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Re: Camping/holiday questions

Postby freyasmummy » Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:45 pm

Also, in terms of marketing, once you're up and running you need to get in toch with these guys:

http://www.coolcamping.co.uk/

And also the editorial team at The Green Parent, offering them a free weekend in exchange for a write up. They will eat this sort of thing up with a big spoon.

http://www.thegreenparent.co.uk/

Eta, creepily the green parent had a feature on best farm holidays and I found this - to see what others are doing and how they are pricing it:

http://www.theorganicfarmshop.co.uk/produce.htm

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Emma S
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Re: Camping/holiday questions

Postby Emma S » Fri Mar 19, 2010 10:05 pm

OOH thanks for those links.
Ithink I got tempted by the Featherdown when I saw what they were charging (though not actually what th farms are getting), plus they come and set alot of it up for you, and have the big publicity behind them. Meeting the woman was great, I could see where the Featherdown clientelle may have had a problem, and MIL thought they looked like they might be a bit demanding. I think we definately want a more 'earthy' feel, plus it needs to be able to run alongside the educational visits from schools/groups for us to qualify for those grants too!
We are lucky in that we are in the heart of 1066 country, which i a tourist area anyway.
I dont think the ruins are quite as substantial as that. There is a moat, but only a few stones left of the actual castle. Alot got pinched to build nearby buildings. I keep threatening to get Tony Robinson in, but MIL has a problem with his shorts :shock: :roll: :hohoho:

As for a play area, definately more woodland adventure than playground things - I am totally in awe of The Enchanted Forest, which is about 20 miles from here, and just amazing http://www.groombridge.co.uk/enchanted.htm

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Re: Camping/holiday questions

Postby clothmama » Sat Mar 20, 2010 1:51 am

Wow Emma - it sounds like you have some amazing ideas and potential there! I think you are savvy enough to deal with your own marketing etc and be much happier long term not committing to being under the umbrella of someone else. I love the idea of yurts - totally agree with having things like tea towels included in the price. Definitely think a nice firepit area would be a winner. Some sort of outdoor communal area, including cover for rain - perhaps one of those old (sorry history not my strong point :giggle: can't be more specific!) round buildings with a hole in the roof and a couple of open sides and a communal firepit in it? A little welcome basket makes punters feel really good on arrival I've always found! Sounds like you have already thought up lots of great ideas for activities etc and think it is a great idea to bring in the historical stuff! I think you should call Tony Robinson, just ask him not to wear his shorts :giggle: :wink:

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ems
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Re: Camping/holiday questions

Postby ems » Sat Mar 20, 2010 10:46 am

have you been to powdermill woods Emma?

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jasmine b
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Re: Camping/holiday questions

Postby jasmine b » Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:00 am

your ideas sound amazing!! the kind of holiday we would love. we go to eweleaze farm http://www.eweleaze.co.uk/ every year in august which is more a tent type place but what attracts us is their little farm shop thats sells organic meat, veg ... and in particular- the fact that we can build little bonfires and have barbecues near our tent with very little health and safety hassle from the owners - they trust the campers to use a little common sense. also - some fields are no car zones and have dedicated family areas :)

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Emma S
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Re: Camping/holiday questions

Postby Emma S » Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:54 pm

ems wrote:have you been to powdermill woods Emma?


Powdermills is just round the corner from Jasmine's school. I live in Battle and the farm is in Robertsbridge, so its a great place to wander, plus the woodcrafting guys are lovely there.

Thanks for the advice, the more the welcome.


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