A farm from the 1800s has been converted into a holiday lettings business at the heart of the Dorset Downs thanks to a £737,000 funding package from NatWest.
The land in Hooke has been transformed by husband and wife team Dominic and Bridget Brittain, who secured the funds from the high-street lender to turn the derelict stone barns at Stapleford Farm into three individual luxury rental cottages.
Situated a short drive from the magnificent Jurassic Coast, a magnet for walkers and other leisure seekers, the secluded 120-acre farm ‘boasts two four-bedroom cottages and a smaller two-bedroom cottage’.
The houses, located around a central courtyard, are available for individual rentals or can be occupied collectively for larger groups, and are within two and a half hours of London.
The renovation, which took 14 months to complete, included extensive landscaping and the installation of solar panels to provide power and heat to all of the holiday letting units. Additionally, the cottages are both dog and horse-friendly, with stabling provided for keen horse riders.
The NatWest funding package has also supported the creation of conference facilities and, in the off-peak season, Dominic’s business Insight Leadership is planning to offer bespoke off-site workshops ‘in a relaxed and secluded location’ for CEOs and their senior leadership teams.
The Brittains live in the farmhouse on-site and run the businesses with the support of two local staff, helping with bookings, admin and upkeep of the site. Stapleford Farm welcomed its first guests in July 2019, with bookings currently being taken for the remainder of 2019 and into next year
“We have a large, extended family and have struggled to find holiday rentals with enough quality accommodation, which is why we decided to design Stapleford Farm Cottages for large families and groups of 20,” Dominic said. “The cottages will also provide an ideal location for senior executive workshops, providing the relaxed comfort, privacy and space which is so essential for a successful and productive off-site workshop.”
He added: “The funding from NatWest has allowed us to restore these beautiful historic farm buildings, to create an eco-smart and high-end holiday lettings experience for our guests. We look forward to welcoming new and returning groups over the coming months.”
The deal was referred to Ian Tudor, broker development manager at NatWest, from Laybourne Finance, and was then assigned to Ali Hill, relationship manager at NatWest.
“With the funding we have provided, Dominic and Bridget have created an attractive holiday lettings business set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty,” Hill said. “The additional conference facilities will also enable Dominic to continue expanding his consultancy business, while providing a retreat for senior executives.”