In 1995 James completed his electrical apprenticeship at the Sellafield Plant. He came home to work and brought to the table some modern, fresh ideas.
There had been a thriving farming enterprise at Dickinson Place from the mid 1600’s but like all village farms, it was increasingly difficult to cope with the extra traffic on the roads.
James had the full backing of his family who acknowledged that it was a fundamental necessity for the future of the farm to embrace diversification and so the transformation began.
The Farm steading was quite remarkable with traditional stone built barns surrounding the central, cobbled courtyard.
James saw the potential immediately and started the planning to create a selection of luxury barn conversions aimed at the higher end of the holiday market.
His plan was simple – to create a selection of 7 holiday cottages and to extend and modernise the small caravan park in The Croft.
He would give all his customers, the care, quality and attention he would expect himself.
During 1999 – 2001 James completed the first 3 holiday lets and named them after their historic uses “Turnip House”, “Haybarn”, and “Eight Byre”.
At the same time that he was actively working on the barn conversions, James was also increasing and expanding the number of caravans in The Croft.
From 1999 to 2001 he increased the number from 14 to 21.
He had a lifetime of experience to call on dealing with caravans and caravan owners. He knew how important it was to discuss and advise his clients to ensure they got the best deal to suit their needs, a nice caravan would be a big purchase. James wanted them to feel fulfilled and satisfied with their discussion.
2003 not only saw the start of the work on the next three cottages and also in the late summer, James & Teresa got married. Teresa’s talent lay in the décor of the properties and she soon showed aptitude in making them look so inviting. She gave up her work in the pathology department at West Cumberland Hospital and began to work full time on the three latest cottages – “Engine House”, “Barley Store” and “Milking Parlour”. Teresa became a reliable and competent member of the team. In the following years the final cottage, “Eighteen Byre”, was completed.
Now full attention could be given to the caravan park.