A FARM near Malpas has capitalised on growing demand for UK staycations after diversifying into the high-end glamping market.

Bradley Hall in Agden, a well-established 118-acre beef farm that has been in the Mullock family since the early 1900s, has built four luxury glamping pods under the banner of its new 'Rural Escapes' tourism offering.

The pods offer a high-end, self-contained glamping experience, complete with a private bathroom, kitchenette, heating and views of the Cheshire countryside.

When the farm reopened after lockdown on July 4, bookings for the pods and Rural Escape's five caravan pitches skyrocketed.

Anthony and Jane Mullock inherited the farm from Anthony's parents, who managed a substantial herd of beef cattle.

Changing circumstances in recent years meant the couple wanted to diversify with new revenue streams – and with Jane's background in hospitality, tourism was the obvious choice.

The project was funded thanks to the Agricultural Mortgage Corporation (AMC), who arranged a five-figure funding package, allowing the Mullocks to purchase the four glamping pods.

They have since borrowed further funds to purchase more land and expand the farm, with planning in place for a further two pods to meet demand into 2021.

Jane Mullock, owner of Bradley Hall farm said: "The pods have really come into their own since the first lockdown was lifted – we've been extremely busy.

"A number of guests have commented that they wouldn't consider staying in a hotel, guest house or campsite with shared facilities at present, never mind travel on a plane.

"We heard about AMC through a friend and, when we decided to buy the pods, we approached one of their local agents, Barbers Rural. The whole process was really straightforward.

"One of the best things about working with AMC has been the flexibility.

"After borrowing the full amount we needed to set up the pods, we actually qualified for a Leader Grant, which covered a percentage of the cost.

"Due to the flexible nature of our variable-rate loan we were able to pay back a lump sum and lower our borrowing with no hassle which was brilliant."

Alick Jones, regional agriculture manager for AMC added: "What struck us about the Mullocks' application was that it was incredibly well thought out.

"Their diversification plans were based on an established family business, and in an area where they already had some experience.

"We also liked the phased approach, building four pods to start with and two later.

"As a lender we want to support farmers in the long-term and help them develop alternative income streams that help strengthen their overall business.

"We look forward to seeing how Bradley Hall grows over the coming years."