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Farm diversification


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An owl nesting in a building - farm diversification advice

The team at GSC Grays, land and property specialists, advise on carrying out your farm diversification project while protecting wildlife…

How to identify and prepare for the biggest challenges around farm diversification

Making the decision to diversify a farm can bring many benefits - from increased profits, to improving the local economy, and even making farmers feel less isolated according to a 2018 report on diversification from NFU Mutual. But the process isn’t without challenges - primarily navigating often complex planning laws when applying for change of use. For those thinking of diversifying in 2020 or beyond here are the most common planning and legal issues you may face and how to prepare for them.

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Planning permission was granted on this farmhouse after an appeal

Before farmers can diversify, there's one very important hoop they will almost certainly have to jump through before any building work can begin – planning permission. The Batcheller Monkhouse planning team in West Sussex has a 100% success rate in diversification applications, including tourist accommodation, wedding venues, micro-distilleries, storage, workshops and residential dwellings. Here’s why even the most challenging of planning applications can be approved, with the right help…

The South Downs National Park is widely known for its open downland, steep chalk scarps and far-reaching views across the English Channel. This iconic landscape draws in thousands of visitors each year, but a study undertaken in 2018 found that only around 22% of overnight stays are within the park itself.

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Farm diversification - farmer on laptop

Here agricultural paralegal Emma Mennell, part of the friendly Agricultural Team at Pearsons & Ward, gives her take on farm diversification and what to watch out for…

The total income from farm diversification activities on farms in the UK was £740m in 2018/2019. Therefore the financial benefits of diversifying into the leisure industry means that a farmer can supplement the farm’s income and make more money from the farm’s asset’s than they would yield from traditional farming methods. It is therefore no wonder that conversions of barns to wedding venues, farm cafés, open farms and equestrian yards are on the rise.

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Film crew in field - alternative farm diversification

Farm Diversity is full of great ideas on making the most of your land. Some of the tried and tested forms of diversification you will already know about – you may even have gone down those routes already. But have you considered an alternative project? Here, editor Victoria Galligan takes a look at some of the more niche farm diversification projects out there which could just be your next move…

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funding - a farmer on a laptop in a field

James Fulton of Amet Property discusses how you should be passionate about your diversification ideas to truly make them succeed…


Amet Property offer development consultancy services to rurally based businesses including appraisals to identify alternative uses of existing assets, help with obtaining planning consents for change of use and new build development, assistance with obtaining bank finance for projects and putting together grant funding applications.

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Llamas with bow ties

Farm diversification take guts – and a lot of encouragement from people who can support you. No-one knows this more than Celia Gaze, the author of farm diversification book Why Put a Bow Tie on a Llama?

On January 10th, 2020 Celia is hosting a book launch on her family farm – The Wellbeing Farm in Lancashire – which she turned into a popular rustic wedding venue.

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Happily ever after sign - How to convince family to diversify your farm

So you’ve got the land, you’ve got a great idea and you’re ready to get rolling with achieving your diversification dream – but how do you convince your family it’s a good idea? Farm Diversity editor Victoria Galligan suggests how to get everyone on board – and keep them on side.

The very nature of farming means that many farms are family-owned. But it’s not just land and property that gets passed down from generation to generation – attitudes, practices and staunch views can also be a family trait.

If the “head” of your family has been doing things the same way for years, has friends in the area they don’t want to upset and really can’t imagine the farm making money in any other way than it always has done, then you’ve got a fight on your hands.

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Horses in a field - diversification can turn rural land into houses

Keeping the great British farming industry alive is imperative for rural communities and to support the challenges being faced, many farmers are looking to diversify

Gavin Leverett, Managing Director at Serenity Parks, a leaning provider of gated community living for over 45's, discusses how this can be achieved in partnership with the farming community and the benefits that can be delivered by diversifying into a business that supports retirement to rural communities

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Farmers investigating land for farm diversification

Have you decided that farm diversification is the next step for your business, or maybe you are weighing up your options? Here you will find some great information to help you and your diversification journey.

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Catgill Farm Diversification - Glamping Pods

Catgill farm has been our family home for the past 60 years, originally run as a dairy farm by Grandad Ken. In 2013 Ken’s grandson Oliver returned to Catgill to the cottage where he was born and had the idea of opening a campsite. It was not easy to sell his idea to his Grandad but he agreed and the campsite opened in 2014.

“We hoped people would love it here as much as we do” said Oliver, it turns out they do and the campsite has grown enormously in popularity over the past 5 years. It’s an amazing place for families there is so much to do; Bolton Abbey is only 1Km away and Hesketh Farm Park is literally over the road.

The site is also close to the Dalesway footpath and there are numerous cycle routes including the famous Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire routes. Each year we have added new features to the site, we started with a high quality amenity block and a field. Ken would welcome guests into his living room to check in.