Farm diversification still on the rise and (again) why Tree Tents’ glamping structures are the best for diversifying your farm

Brook House Woods, Goji Tree Tent – Herefordshire

All the way back in 2018 (feels like a whole lifetime ago doesn’t it?) we wrote a blog on the benefits of farm diversification. We thought it might be interesting to look back to see how the stats of diversifying have changed, especially after the combination of Brexit, a pandemic and boom of the staycation holiday.

There are so many different options when it comes to diversifying your farm which can also make it seem incredibly daunting. But with EU subsidies being phased out, diversifying can be a great way to help boost yearly profits and to keep your farm going for future generations.

However daunting it may seem, there are always ways to shape-shift to help cope with uncertain times. Diversifying can also be a new way to get the creative juices flowing and have some fun with a new project!

The Fuselage, Lypiatt Hill – Gloucestershire

Now, let’s get down to the stats…

According to figures from Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), 68% of England’s farms have diversified in some way. That’s over half. 

As mentioned in our previous Farm Diversification blog, the total income from diversified activities on farms in 2015/16 was £580 million, which increased by 8 percent in 2016/17, where it reached £620 million. Now jump a few years to 2019/2020 and the income for diversification activities has increased to £734m – that’s an average additional income of more than £19,000 per farm! The latest figures show an increase to £749 million for 2020/2021. 

So, eyeing up the math… it looks like the total income from diversified activities is going to keep on going up and up and we should “Expect a boom in the provision of farm accommodation and hospitality in the coming months and years, as farmers offer the public an alternative to traveling overseas.”- Chris Walsh, NFU Mutual farm specialist.

Over the last few years, glamping has revolutionised the staycation holiday and one of the main ways diversification can achieve a quick return on investment.

With places rapidly being booked up for another staycation year and income from diversified activities going up, could now be the time to invest in a structure to rent out for the next season of eager staycationers?

Okra Cabin, The Secret Campsite – Sussex

Here is a reminder of why we think our structures are perfect to help diversify your farm/land:

  1. They are unique. Everyone is interested in them because they are so different to everything else out there, such as Pods, yurts and shepherd’s huts. People do your marketing for you by sharing photos of their stay. Standing out is key for a new business, particularly as glamping structures are popping up everywhere and ours can bring your site the ‘wow factor’. You can also charge more as people are willing to pay for something completely unique and special.
  1. Easy planning permission. We make free standing structures which can be relocated. We help our clients to secure planning permission where it is needed, making the process as straightforward as possible. Click on the link to read our Planning for Simplicity blog.
  1. Eco-friendly. We want guests of our structures to experience the woodland and forests as they are meant to be – a thriving environment for nature and wildlife. If the structures are going to be in woodland, accredited Tree Surgeons carry out site surveys which focus on tree health, habitats and diversity of the woodland. They then carry out measures to actively increase the health and longevity of the host and surrounding trees. The woodland dictates how we utilise it and how we adapt to it. Moreover, the structures don’t disturb the woodland floor, allowing ecosystems to continue to exist below. We have installed our structures in Ancient woodlands and other protected habitats such as AONBs and National Parks.
  1. Simple install. The design of our structures means that we cause very little disruption to our installation site. The lightweight parts of the structures can be carried into the site on foot with no requirements for heavy machinery or cranes and it generally only takes a few days to assemble our structures on site.
  2. Best return on investment. You are likely to find that you can charge more for stays in one of our structures than you would for a shepherd’s hut or a bell tent because you are providing a rare and unique experience. In addition, your investment in one of our structures will be much less costly than having a fully bespoke treehouse designed and made. For example a stay in the Tree Tent can be from £125 per night while you can rent out the Fuselage from £145 per night and even higher in peak season.

With it looking like the UK staycation market is here to stay and getting stronger, this could be the perfect long-term revenue opportunity while considering ways to diversify.

Hedgehog Hall, Landews Meadow Farm – Kent (Photo: Canopy & Stars)

More stats!

Results sourced from the Farm Business Survey 2020/21 also details that:

  •         In 2020/21 the main diversified activity was letting out buildings for non-farming use, with 44 percent of farms engaging in this activity.
  •         And just under a third of farms were planning to make some form of change to their business.  

Brook House Farm Tree Tent – Herefordshire

So it is looking like many farms/landowners are considering this option and what better way to stand out by investing in one of our unique structures.

If you click on the link here, you can read in our previous blog about What makes glamping a particularly good form of farm diversification. Rather than repeating blogs of past and old (but still very much relevant).

We said this four years ago and we’ll say it again, all arrows point to innovative glamping structures being the best investment out there, for you and your land. Maybe now is the perfect time to start the glamping ball rolling. If you would like us to help with the speed and direction of the ball then please get in contact!