The constant noise, the heaving crowds, the grey surroundings… urban life can be overwhelming at times, and for many, an escape to the country is the perfect remedy. The thought of a secluded farmhouse, where you can just relax by the fire, bake in a bright and airy kitchen and listen to nature can sound like heaven.
This demand for countryside getaways has led thousands of farmers and landowners to convert their existing outbuildings and barns into holiday accommodation, providing them with a valuable source of income from outside the agricultural sector.
Here we meet two cottages.com owners who, with our support, have created successful holiday letting businesses by renovating their farm buildings.
Mr Wright & Miss Wright turned their dilapidated outbuildings into a portfolio of profitable holiday lets
When Mr Wright & Miss Wright needed an extra stream of income to support the family business, they knew their vacant agricultural buildings were the answer. They sought advice from cottages.com and our property expert Chris Otty paid them a visit.
“It was clear that there was huge potential with these properties” explains Chris. “The conversion was so sensitively planned, each property was a classic example of a traditional farm building which would appeal to thousands of holidaymakers”.
Preserving the farmhouse’s original charm and appeal was a key part of the plans, with the exposed beams and wooden floors providing a framework to build around. Other features like the high ceilings, open plan layout and the sweeping countryside views were incorporated into their plans.
They also had to consider access, and think about the adaptations that holidaymakers with mobility issues would need and how family vehicles would manage on tracks exclusively used by tractors.
The planning stage was intensive as Mr Wright & Miss Wright recounts “The project required quite a lengthy negotiation with local planning authorities, but once we were given the green light it was full steam ahead with the refurbishment”.
As full-time farmers, they relied on Chris and cottages.com to help market and manage their new holiday let, which began welcoming holidaymakers in July 2010. However, their plans didn’t end there.
“We secured so many bookings that we decided it was worthwhile developing the remaining properties” explains Mr Wright & Miss Wright. Today they operate six successful holiday lets at the farm, “I’d advise anyone considering going into the holiday lettings business to just put in all your effort and give it a go”.
Ash Farm Barns is located in Market Rasen, Lincolnshire and features 6 holiday properties sleeping between 4 and 15 people. For further details and to book click here
The Barn Reborn
Richard and Susan Wakeford created a holiday home from out of the ashes
Richard and Susan Wakeford discovered a rather special bonus when they purchased their farmhouse in Winchcombe, Gloucestershire. A once handsome 17th-century barn lay within their grounds. Tragically, however, a fire during the 1960s had reduced it to nothing but a few bricks and some oak beams.
Feeling inspired, they put their minds to transforming the grade 2 listed barn back to its former glory.
They began by seeking planning permission. As it was originally a farm property, in-depth negotiations were required to convert it into a holiday home and particular attention had to be paid to preserving the character and heritage of the original barn.
The scale of the renovation was huge. The skeleton of the property had been reduced to ashes, so they had to base their plans around a photograph from the 1940s, which helped them to identify the shape and size of the original barn.
This meant the planning stage took a great deal of time, but once permission was obtained they could finally get to work!
Their builders and craftsmen began with the soil floor, which needed totally removing in order to lay down a new concrete base for underfloor heating. From there they worked to restore the rest of the structure, adding in oak floorboards, half-timbered red brick walls, exposed beams and open-plan living areas.
The finishing touch was the decor, with a beautiful farmhouse kitchen, oak furniture and bright furnishings all lending the space a comfortable yet authentic feel.
The Barn Reborn is located in Winchcombe, Gloucestershire and sleeps 2 people. For further information and to book click here.
If you’d like to earn a new source of income from your farm buildings and need advice about planning permission, legislation and the earnings holiday lettings can make, then please get in touch with our experts on 0345 268 1846 or visit www.cottages.com/let-your-property.