Peaks’ ambassadors for farming

Stunning views, an attractive location off the beaten track and great walking are just three of the many attractions of Cote Bank Farm in the Peak District.

The farm, at Buxworth, is home to Pam Broadhurst and her husband Nicolas, whose family have been here since 1804.

“We wondered initially who would want to come and stay on a farm,” says Pam, who began offering self-catering accommodation in the early 1980s. “But people love the setting. The kids know my husband as Farmer Nic!

“Plus, we are on site and enjoy chatting to visitors, giving them the chance to really experience what it”s like on a farm. We”ve tried over the years to be good ambassadors for farming.

With the help of a 20% grant from the English Tourist Board, the Broadhursts first converted a derelict cottage in 1983, realising “there would not be enough income from milk and hill farming had a very poor outlook”.

Spurred on by the success of this – using some money raised by the sale of milk quota, and borrowing some more – they converted a barn, which sleeps six, then later a “romantic” Tudor wing adjoining the farmhouse, which sleeps two.

They also started offering B&B in the late 1980s. “We didn”t originally do it because we only had one bathroom and our young children in the farmhouse and we’d have all ended up queuing up to use the same loo,” says Pam.

“B&B is still very busy and makes good money, although times are harder for self-catering, with a lot of new properties coming on stream. Up to 1996, we were turning people away. But the occupancy isn’t what it used to be.”

They are also constantly upgrading, says Pam. “I have been asked this year for the first time if I had a DVD player!

“B&B makes good money, but it is quite a tie. By the time you have cooked, cleaned and are back to welcome new visitors, you’re left with perhaps three hours in the day that you can call your own.

“You’ve got to like people to do this. You mustn”t just do it because you want to make money.”

Pam and Nicolas, who celebrated the birth of their first grandson last month, are now looking to the future with optimism.

“Back in the early 80s it seemed such a gamble to go into debt to set up our first cottage,” says Pam. “But we have been lucky – we were ahead of the game. Diversification is what has kept us going.”

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