Two years after Kate Johnston gave up her job in medical device sales to set up a campsite on one of her family’s working farms the business has set a new record.

Kate runs the business at Dalegarth Farm in Eskdale with her partner Jonathan Burniston, while also looking after 980 Herdwick ewes.

The campsite and its flock of sheep has been so popular it broke the record on camping website for the greatest number of bookings.

Kate, who is part of the Stanley family of Dalegarth Hall, said there were great synergies between the traditional sheep side of the business and the new campsite.

Although the shepherding is on different parts of the farm, visitors still get to see the hardy hill sheep out on the fells and Kate manages visitors around the shepherding year.

She said: “The two sides of the business work really well. We lamb in April and then the sheep are in surrounding fields. Those with single lambs go to the fells, those with twins stay closer to the farm.

“As the ewes are going out with their lambs, the first visitors are coming here to stay.

“Towards the end of the season is when we turn the tups out to run with the ewes to produce next year’s crop of lambs, and that’s when the campsite is winding down.

“It all runs in harmony, with the new and old working together well.”

Kate set her campsite up under the extended Permitted Development Rights (PDR) – planning regulations enabling farmers and other landowners to operate a campsite on their land for up to 56 days without planning permission.

Previously, PDR were limited to 28 days, but it was extended by the government in England in June 2020 to help power a post-COVID rural economic recovery.

“My family can trace their connection to Dalegarth Hall back to the 12th Century and it feels fantastic to be back where I belong. The campsite has made it possible for me to come home,” she said.