Wonderful views from the farm
A traditional Lakeland Farm set in the Kentmere valley, within the Lake District National Park
Kentmere Farm Camping Pods are based at Browfoot Farm, set in the beautiful Kentmere valley. We are 2 miles from the thriving village of Staveley, along a quiet country road. The farm is 500 acres and we work closely with Natural England under a Higher Level Stewardship to deliver responsible, environmental farming for our animals and land.
We have a rare breed flock of White Faced Woodland sheep, Swaledales, which are more common to Cumbria and some infamous Herdwicks, who are expert escape artists.
We have Silver laced Whyandotte hens and a motley crewe of Silkie bantams, who scrat around the orchard and vegetable patch alongside Bruce, a large white Aylesbury drake, who flew in during lock-down and has chosen to stay.
We also have a small herd of beautiful Belted Galloways cows called Biba, Coco and Paco after the 60's fashion designers They are a hardy breed and are able to cope outside even in the depths of winter. They are part of our environmental strategy to help increase natural regeneration and bio-diversity
Other animals include two ponies, Swift and Venus.
Swallows arriving back each year in the valley marks the arrival of spring. These little fellows hatched out last summer in one of our sheds. You will see a wide range of birds, including Dippers and Wagtails along with regular sightings of Buzzards and Heron on the river. We also have a nesting pair of Barn Owls. You may see a flash of white sweeping across the fields at night and you will hear their calls.
Two types of wild deer roam across our fields. If you are lucky, you will spot Red deer, generally on the higher land and Roe deer, who live in woodland nearby. Other wildlife includes rabbits, weasels, foxes, badgers and hares. Sadly red squirrels are rarenow, but you may be lucky and spot one
The River Kent is home to the White Claw Crayfish, which is a rare protected species. Otter also live on the Kent. The river is stocked with trout and salmon return each year to spawn. We have two fly fishing permits for the River Kent on our land. If you have a National River License (you can purchase one at the Beehive in Staveley) and a rod, please ask us for a permit and you are welcome to try your luck.
With heavy rainfall, the River Kent can change quickly from a gentle flow to a torrential roar, so please take care.
Environmental Work on the Farm
We are proud to be part of a Higher Level Stewardship. We have reduced flock numbers to allow natural regeneration of heather and sedges in the upland, bringing an increase in wild flowers, including wild orchids, wildlife and bio-diversity throughout the farm.
We have also been involved in a large scale native tree planting scheme, which will create areas of deciduous woodland in the long term as well as growing some magnificent parkland trees. It's early days, but we are really excited to be planting trees that will mature for the next generation and provide habitat for birds and animals.
The River Kent, down the farm track from the pods, is a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). You are welcome to paddle there or play Pooh Sticks from the beautiful packhorse bridge.
You will find White Claw Crayfish sheltering under the rocks. They are fun to find, but please don't take them away, as they are a rare, protected species. They can also give your toes a little nip with their claws so watch out!
Our flood prevention scheme has created a flood plain on the far side of the river to reduce the speed of the water and help reduce flooding in Staveley and Kendal. We have also blocked up old drainage systems on higher ground to create sphagnum moss wetlands that will help hold the water.
The deeds for the farm go back to 1674 and has been in the family since 1840. Sheep have been farmed here for centuries, originally for the wool trade that made Kendal a famous and wealthy wool town. The old sheep dip was originally sited by Capple Howe car park. Not an abundance of protective clothing was worn despite the potent chemicals being used!
You can also find potash kilns on the farm, which were used to burn bracken for lye which was used to clean sheep fleece. With the advent of modern fabrics, the value of wool plummeted. Sheering is now done for animal well fare and doesn't cover the cost of the work.
Lowbrow is the original farmhouse and was built in the 1670's. The main house, part of which is the present day farmhouse as you enter the farm, was built in the 1800s. You can see the carved date board on the front. Don't be fooled by the arch windows in some of the farm buildings. There was never a chapel. A job lot of industrial factory windows were bought in the Victorian period. The Cowshed originally housed dairy cows up until the 1960's is now an art workshop for Creative courses and the present farm house was used as a dairy to process the milk.
Wool mills would have been dotted all the way along the River Kent to Staveley. The sheep on the fells provided the fleece that was washed and cleaned before being spun. The value of the sheep's wool would have provided an important income, covering the rent on many farms in the Lake District.
The Mill Yard in Staveley made wooden bobbins for the spun wool up until the 1950's.Transported by packhorses to Kendal, the wool would be dyed and woven into cloth, dried and stretched on tenterhooks and then exported all over the country.
Opposite: A page of woven designs from the Kendal Crewson Pattern book,
There was also a booming hosiery trade with an average of 2,400 pairs of stockings passing through Kendal markets. Men, women and children were employed in the knitting industry and whole families would supplement their meagre farming incomes in this way. Cheap imports in the late 1800's brought a sharp decline to the textile industry.
Community project in Kendal creating bunting from stockings