David & Jayne Newman
Stroud Hill Park, Cambridgeshire
Sponsored by Firestone
Every diversification venture at Stroud Hill Park has helped David and Jayne Newman keep their farming business alive.
The Newman’s 62ha arable enterprise on Grade 3 clay was not sustainable so they had to find a way of making the farm support them and their family.
Stroud Hill Park sits in Pidley village, 14km north east of Huntingdon and has an adult-only caravan park with 60 pitches, a restaurant serving beef, lamb and pork reared on the farm, a paintball site and fishing lake.
Paintballing was their first step on the diversification ladder. After they obtained planning permission a piece of redundant woodland was leased out and quickly became the most profitable acreage on the farm, says David.
The site is now one of just 50 accredited to the UK Paintball Sports Federation and is still one of the most profitable areas of the business.
This first dip into diversification gave the Newmans the stepping stone they needed to move onto bigger things.
“The idea for the caravan park came from a desire to have minimal impact on the environment and complement the neighbouring golf course,” says Jayne. “We had a holiday home in Norfolk and when visiting we realised the volume of people that owned caravans and how much the industry was worth.”
Embarking on some detailed market research, the couple realised there was a niche in the caravan park waiting to be filled. “The facilities at many caravan sites were poor and we realised people weren’t going because it was a cheap holiday.”
Selling investment properties and their Norfolk holiday home gave the Newmans the capital they needed to build a barn to house the caravan site facilities, a shop selling local and farm-produced goods, a bar and a restaurant.
The Barn restaurant serves the farm’s pork, lamb and pedigree Hereford beef and almost all produce is sourced within a 10km radius. “Our stock go to Wisbech to be slaughtered and we buy direct from farmers – we also buy from local allotments. It ties the community together and has allowed us to build up a network of local suppliers,” says Jayne.
The farm is in the Higher Level Scheme and the couple has established 5ha of native woodland, 1.5ha of wild bird cover, two lakes, eight ponds and wetland areas. The next development phase is a series of eco-lodges.
• 62ha of woodland and grazing
• Pedigree Hereford suckler herd and Suffolk sheep
• 60 pitch caravan park
• Barn restaurant
• Paintball site
WHY THEY WON
• Well-researched ideas executed to a high standard
• Continually planning for the future
• Building a motivated team
• Diversification allowing the farm to survive
David and Jayne Newman have shown huge energy in converting a farm into a property offering quality recreation and conservation
David and Jayne have shown outstanding skill and made the most of the resources available. They understand their customer needs and have tailored their business to suit.
• Andy Fussell
• Fussels Fine Foods, Somerset
Andy Fussell was determined to find a way of keeping oilseed rape as an important break crop. He is now not only bottling and marketing culinary oil but also recycling catering residues into biodiesel
• Robert Borrill
• Hiboldstow Farm, North Lincolnshire
Robert is keen to make the best use of even those areas of his farm that are agriculturally restricted, such as an old wartime runway and a disused quarry. He is committed to achieving the highest standards for each venture