Lower Fairsnape Farm was a traditional hill farm. With falling incomes from farming Robert & Anne Gardner were seeking additional sources of income. The farm put 80% of its land into stewardship and woodland schemes aided by the Lancashire Rural Futures environmental team and received assistance to help manage the land for breeding birds. It gained recognition and an award from the RSPB for outstanding habitat in northern England for breeding lapwing and has created permissive footpaths and built a bird hide to help visitors view the wildlife.
With redundant farm buildings, the Gardner's sought assistance to diversify into holiday accommodation. The Rural Futures team assisted to first overcome planning obstacles and made applications to a number of grant schemes to help convert the buildings and infrastructure to create flexible and high quality self catering accommodation.
Care for wildlife, habitat and the environment sets this accommodation apart from many others. With the Gardner's firm commitment to positive environmental management they specified a wood fuel heating system to heat the new accommodation. With the support of a European grant scheme, two wood pellet boilers have been installed which provide reliable and efficient heating for the units. The project has become an example for others who wish to consider the use of wood pellets for heating. It has received the Gold standard accreditation of the Green Tourism Business Scheme.
From redundant buildings and a declining farm Bleasdale Cottages has become an outstanding and award winning tourist attraction, featured in BBC Wildlife magazine, bringing visitors to the area and signposting them to a range of sustainable tourist activities, birdwatching, walking, cycling, and supporting local food.
The GTBS is the national sustainable tourism certification scheme for the UK. Originally developed in partnership with Visit Scotland, it is now the only certification scheme validated by Visit Britain, through the International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT).
View from Lower Fairsnape Farm
Holiday Cottage Accommodation
Robert Gardner demonstrating the Woodchip Boilers
Sensitive Land Management has increased numbers of several species.