2014 - 2020 Case studies
dodgson Wood - Nibthwaite Farmacy Project
Dodgson Wood is the diversified part of Nibthwaite Grange Farm located at Nibthwaite near Ulverston. The owners, John Atkinson and Maria Benjamin, chose that name as the three accommodation sites they manage are based in and around Dodgson Wood, which is a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and a place they both love. They are both advocates for environmentally sustainable, welfare-friendly farming.
Nibthwaite Grange Farm has been farmed by John Atkinson’s family for six generations, however, in order for the farm to be future-proof and sustainable, John and Maria felt it necessary to develop new micro-businesses to run alongside to support and enhance their farm work. Up until recently, this has consisted of direct meat sales to private customers and restaurants, selling breeding animals to other farmers, off-grid accommodation, products made from our wool and Jersey milk soap.
Cumbria Fells and Dales LEADER Programme has supported the further expansion of Dodgson Wood. It has enabled the redevelopment of a former shippon (cattle shed). The renovated building is to become the Nibthwaite Farmacy project. This will be a multi-function space where meat packing, soap production, a shop display, workshops, events and meetings will take place.
The project will support the creation of 1 job.
Maria says, “Even filling in the application form for LEADER funding assisted our businesses, as the process guided us towards visualising how we wanted to develop. The application form created a business plan that wasn't in place beforehand so it helped professionalise our fledgling business. The grant has meant we could develop the business more quickly, with clarity and with confidence and we are seeing the results already. Investment in expanding and enhancing our website has brought us more online sales and increased exposure, and investment in our Jersey milk soap has meant we have already reached our last two months sales targets despite launching it only a month ago! The project isn't completed yet but we are confident we will meet all of our goals and milestones and expand over and above these. The grant money has been vital, but equally important has been the belief in our project, as the confidence that gave us has been a big part in us beyond what we thought we were capable of.”