Diversification pays for country house hotel and family firm

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Diversification pays for country house hotel and family firm
Date: 21st March 2002

A North Yorkshire hotel has gone into partnership with a family farm to help breathe life back into rural business, following the devastating effects of foot and mouth last year.

Mark Cunliffe-Lister and his family, who run the 4 star luxury castle hotel Swinton Park at Masham, have funded the construction of a four mile 40 jump riding course at a nearby Ruskill Bank farm run by the Yates family.

The course is a registered UK Chaser Course, and is the first to be built in North Yorkshire. It is part of a network of cross country courses set up throughout the UK. The focus of the organisation is to enable farmers to diversify their businesses, and to provide them with an alternative source of income. The association takes care of the marketing and membership fees, whilst the farms take responsibility for building the course. The design of the course often enables the farms to continue agricultural activity on the land, and the courses are usually self sufficient in terms of management.

Riders of all abilities will find the course challenging as the jumps are all optional, with a choice of levels. This is an ideal opportunity to explore a beautiful part of the countryside, with panoramic views from the farm over Wensleydale, at an affordable price. The cost per horse is £10 per day, and facilities include a horsewash and stabling.

The course will be open both to hotel guests at Swinton Park and members of the public. Following the foot and mouth restrictions, the course will be particularly popular with riders whose access to the countryside has been limited. Riders need to book in advance and should contact Joyce Yates on 01677 460074.

“We are really excited about the opening of the UK Chaser course, as it offers our guests a unique Yorkshire experience and it will also inject business back into the countryside. With livery stables at the course we will be able to attract riders from further afield into the area, and local riders are also more than welcome” commented Mark Cunliffe-Lister.