Farm campsite bookings have risen by 85% since 2013, providing a vital income stream for hard-pressed farmers, according to one outdoor accommodation specialist.

Pitchup.com recorded more than 18,500 farm bookings at farm sites throughout the UK and Ireland over the last year.

One farm site listed with the provider took a whopping £29,000 in bookings in the past 12 months alone.

Given that the average farm earns just £28,000 in net farm income, according to Defra figures, diversifying into farm campsites offers a huge opportunity to grow income and make farming an overall more viable and attractive business.

Pitchup.com founder Dan Yates said: “The British farming industry has seen a serious decline over the last couple of decades, with farm income 26% below its 1995 peak and financial difficulties a continuing cause for concern to farmers.

“However, farmers can invigorate their finances and their farms by diversifying into other areas, and this is easier to do than they might think.

“The way to help farms is via a diversification programme and this is where we can assist. The set-up and running of a farm-based campsite is a relatively simple process and many farms could see their income rise dramatically.”

Read also: Five unusual farm diversifications to inspire you

Setting up a farm campsite business is easier than most farmers think, he added. Farmers should first contact their local council, which can provide information about how to obtain a licence to run a campsite and on planning permission, if necessary.

Campsites have received up to £100,000 in bookings over the last year, with the average farm campsite receiving £6,461 and the most successful £28,661, said Mr Yates.

According to VisitEngland.com, Brits holidaying at home spend 25% more nights at campsites or caravan parks than at hotels.

They spend £2.4bn each year during GB camping and caravanning trips and take more trips in Britain than holidays to Spain and Greece combined.