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North East England

Wildlife Awards for Hunting Hall Farm

Guests who visit Farm Stay member Hunting Hall Farm near Holy Island in North Northumberland will be able to explore a wonderful haven for wildlife. Throughout the past 25 years Tom and Karen Burn have been working to help wildlife on their 278 acre family farm. They have recently been presented with the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Farming and Land Management Award for Excellence, the second time they’ve won this category. Earlier this year they were proud to receive a ‘highly commended’ in the RSPB Nature of Farming Awards.

To help visitors explore the beautiful farm countryside, Karen and Tom worked with a teenage environmental group to create a farm trail. This lovely walk meanders through organic meadows, small woodlands, ponds and past beautiful areas of wildflowers, a haze of blue borage, sunflowers and fluttering butterflies. Karen and Tom have created an organic community orchard on the farm for the local village. Here, hard paths wind between very young heritage fruit trees, herbs and flowers, to a sheltered seating area. There is also a disabled access path at Hunting Hall leading to a pond with a bird hide and pond dipping platform, the perfect place for a quiet evening stroll or afternoon adventures with a fishing net.

Close to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, the farm is a wonderful base for wildlife watchers. You’ll see wading birds, geese or grey seals sunning themselves on sandbanks around the island, or you can visit the Farnes to see the nesting sea bird colony or brightly coloured Puffins.

To complement the farm’s environmental work there are two award-winning green holiday cottages at Hunting Hall; Newt Cottage 4 star gold and The Fuffins 5 star gold. Guests can discover the luxury of deep feather duvets dressed in scrumptious organic cotton bed linen or enjoy tea and homemade cake from the generous welcome pack in front of a cosy open fire.

In the picture-postcard farmyard you’ll see Tom’s rare breed pigs, hens, geese and even a peacock. The farm’s organic sheep are sold to a butcher, George Payne, and his redcurrant & mint sausage using Hunting Hall organic lamb recently won the prestigious Smithfield Award for best English Lamb Product.

It’s been a super award-winning year for this very green farm! Find out more at or contact Karen Burn 01289 388652



County Durham Farm Stay business in the hunt for more honours

Multi-award winning Low Urpeth Farm B&B is in the running for more acclaim after reaching the final of the prestigious North East England Tourism Awards – for the third year in succession.

The popular Chester-Le-Street based business, which scooped bronze in 2010 with a Taste of NE England and bronze in 2011 for B&B has been shortlisted in not one but two categories in 2012 – Best Bed and Breakfast and Taste of NE England for the Urpeth Cracking Breakfast.


Delighted owner Hilary Johnson, said: “We offer our visitors a wonderful experience through the quality of our accommodation, friendliness and our Cracking Urpeth Breakfast to ensure guests leave with a passionate view of Low Urpeth and the North East.

“Tourism is our passion and we’re proud of what we have achieved at Low Urpeth. The process of entering these awards has helped us to measure and improve creating a fantastic North East holiday or business experience.”

Low Urpeth Farm, which was built around 1898, is a large traditionally furnished family home on an arable farm offering 4 Star Gold Farmhouse B&B and self-catering cottages and is run by Peter & Hilary Johnson with the help of their daughter Sandra Whitefield.

Low Urpeth Farm B&B strives to deliver a unique countryside experience making visitors part of the rich heritage of a farm which has been in the family for over 190 years, while promoting the region through the dramatic and inspiring rural landscape, its sustainable local produce people and customs.

The Cracking Urpeth Breakfast is sourced local farm-assured, seasonal, organic and/or fair-trade produce for the benefit of our guests.  This includes meats, eggs, vegetables, bread, jams and fruits from a variety of County Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear farm shops, butchers, garden centres and producers. Each year they continue to add regional products to their breakfast menu.

Andy Woodward, Chief Executive of Farm Stay, said: “Low Urpeth Farm is one of the great success stories for the County Durham visitor economy, leading the way in delivering innovation, excellence and high standards of sustainability for a small business. Over the past five years their profile has been greatly enhanced by an unswerving commitment to customer service and the ability to blend the traditional with the modern, appealing to all.


Spring meeting at Valley View Farm, Yorkshire

Herriot’s Yorkshire Farm Stay Group met yesterday at Valley View Farm, for their Spring meeting.  Kindly hosted by Sally Robinson, the members sat outside in the courtyard, what a beautiful day!



Alison Barnes said “Super for us to meet up, exchange views, update on Farm Stay matters and have a rare chance to spend a morning in the sunshine enjoying coffee and delicious baking whilst working – honestly!  I prefer this form of social networking!”

Visit Yorkshire this summer

Yorkshire Farm Stay members have got together to create even more ways to enjoy the countryside and make the most of a stay in their Farm Stay accommodation. Here’s just a taster of what’s available.

Get stuck in to the countryside on working farms in Yorkshire this Summer

Get your ‘hands dirty’ this summer by heading to the beautiful Yorkshire countryside for a nostalgic break with a difference.  Stay on a working farm and rub shoulders with the animals.  Get to grips with the countryside by gathering and eating the freshest produce and take part in a whole host of rural pursuits.

See exactly where your food comes from

Staying on one of our working farms gives you a great opportunity to see exactly where your food comes from just before it arrives in delicious abundance on your plate.  Humble Bee Farm and Rawcliffe House Farm allow you to work up an appetite for breakfast by gathering eggs still warm from the hens.

Cut down on food miles

Stay local – shop local. Leave the supermarket behind and indulge yourself with tasty treats straight from the farm by ordering a breakfast hamper from Layhead Farm Cottages.  Enjoy Caroline’s delicious home baked goods at the Grade II listed Cundall Lodge Farm. Tuck into bread made with home milled flour at Crakehall Watermill and enjoy homemade sausages at Pickersgill Manor Farm.


Get away from it all by relaxing in any one of our idyllic country settings.  Sample the great outdoors in style at Humble Bee Farm by opting for one of their ‘Glamping Packages’.  Little extras such as bunting, fairy lights, fire pit with toasted marshmallows, wine and chocolates are guaranteed help you start relaxing as soon as you arrive.

Pamper yourself at Cundall Lodges by booking one of their restful beauty treatments – no better way to relax at the end of a day’s walking. Or leave the hustle and bustle behind and enjoy life’s simple pleasures at Carr House Farm where you can step into the beautiful views, listen to the birds and smell the wild flowers all from their doorstep.

Learn a new skill

Visit Taste the Wild near Cundall Lodge Farm to learn how to forage for food or try a woodland craft.  Strap on your helmet and explore the beautiful countryside near Low Skibeden House on two wheels.  Or follow in the footsteps of smugglers by exploring the coastline near Smugglers Rock Country House. You can even join a shooting party at Newton Grange Farm.


A visit to the countryside allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and occupy yourself with some good old fashioned rural pursuits.  You can try pony trekking, golf and fishing near Swainstye Farm Holiday Cottages.  Or visit the British Horse Society Horse and Pony Trials near Newton Grange Farm.

Digital detox

Take advantage of the countryside by stepping into the ‘view’ and finding out what lies behind it.  Newton Grange Farm has the Pennine Way and Leeds to Liverpool Canal on their door step just waiting to be explored. Whilst Rawcliffe House Farm is set in a wildlife lover’s paradise with roe deer, badgers and many species of bird living nearby.  Walk straight past the television in the lounge at Pickersgill Manor Farm and have a go at rug making. Or try the games room at Lingholm Farm Cottages.

Meet the locals

Roll up your sleeves and get up close and personal with the farm animals at The Grainary.  Feed the chickens, pet the pigs and try out one of six wonderful nature walks designed by owners Lynda and John.  Or become best of friends with Rawcliffe House Farm’s three pet pygmy goats, Pan, Perseus and Phoebus.

Bring the ‘whole’ family with you

You don’t have to leave anyone behind!  Life Hill Farm wants you to holiday with your horse. They offer traditional stabling and a good sized paddock with views over wooded countryside.  They also offer a dog sitting service should owners want to visit local towns or country houses without them. You can also pamper your pooch at Humble Bee Farm with a mouth-watering canine hamper service.


Farm Stay Member Featured on The Big Bread Experiment

Farm Stay members Lionel Green and Alison Barnes from Crakehall Watermill featured on BBC’s The Big Bread Experiment.

The BBC2 Series is a social experiment to bring back a sense of community among a group of women in Yorkshire.

You can catch up with The Big Bread Experiement on Iplayer

Farm Stay AGM & Conference at Slaley Hall

The Farm Stay AGM and Conference kicked off at Slaley Hall in Northumbria on Sunday afternoon.

Our members enjoyed a Quiz Night and buffet on Sunday evening, then a guided tour of either Hadrian’s Wall or the museums and galleries in Durham the following day. A champagne reception, three-course meal and ceilidh dancing was thoroughly enjoyed at the Gala Dinner on Monday evening.

Gala Dinner

An early start for everyone the next day as the AGM and conference commenced for most members, while some headed for a guided tour of  Kielder Water.

L-R Guest speaker Ken Robinson, Farm Stay Chairman Barbara Sleep, Farm Stay Chief Executive Andy Woodward

Former Chairman of the Tourism Alliance Ken Robinson was a guest speaker. Other guests included representatives from Podcats, Mullin Design and Positive PR.


Farm Stay member scoops Tourism Award

Farm Stay member Hilary Johnson from Low Urpeth Farm has achieved Bronze at the  North East England Tourism Awards in the Bed & Breakfast category.

Low Urpeth Farm, is a large traditionally furnished family home on an arable farm offering 4 Star Silver Farmhouse accommodation, it is run by Peter & Hilary Johnson.

Hilary said: “This award confirms that we are on the right track and that we are continuing to deliver a standard of serve which is a worthy of merit and shows that County Durham is the place to come for tourists.”

You can view the full list of winners at the One North East website.


Yorkshire Farm Stay Member Best Breakfast Maker?

Christine Ryder from Scaife Hall Farm, Blubberhouses, near Otley has been named as one of the three finalists in the Deliciously Yorkshire Breakfast Awards for 2011.

The winners will be announced on November 14 at Rudding Park, Harrogate.

The finalists will be judged by an independent panel of more than 20 food connoisseurs, including Radio 2’s Nigel Barden, Stephanie Moon, Tim Bilton and former chef at 10 Downing Street Matthew Benson-Smith.

Matthew Benson-Smith is the chef at Dean Clough Cooking School where in May, Yorkshire Farm Stay members enjoyed a day’s cookery course which was part funded by Yorkshire Forward.

In 2010 the Deliciously Yorkshire Breakfast Award was won by another Farm Stay Yorkshire member, Katrina Gray at Wold Cottage in Driffield, so we have great hopes that another Farm Stay member will win this year’s award.  Good luck Christine!

Two Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Awards for Hunting Hall Farm

Hunting Hall Farm in North Northumberland has just won two Awards for Excellence from the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership. The farm’s two green holiday cottages, Newt Cottage and The Fuffins, won the Sustainable Tourism 2011 Award and Hunting Hall came first in the Farming and Land Management award – quite an achievement for a small family farm up against a large, government run project!

Tom and Karen Burn, Hunting Hall

Lying close to the coastal ANOB, Hunting Hall is a wonderful place for a holiday; two environmentally friendly, self-catering cottages allow guests to enjoy a greener lifestyle in beautiful surroundings. A farm trail, created by a teenage environmental group, winds through the peaceful countryside and helps guests explore the work carried out to help wildlife on the farm.

Hazelwood Farm on Channel 4′s ‘Four in a bed’

Farm stay property Hazelwood Farm in York  featured on last nights (June 16th) episode of Four in a bed on Channel 4.

Farm Stay member Annette McAnespie opened up her home to fellow B&B proprietors in this weeks episode.

If you have missed any episodes from the current series, you can catch up on 4od.


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