THE owner of an award winning traditional farm and butchers in the luscious green landscapes of County Armagh says a woodland which he has recently planted will compliment his farm shop and coffee house, Darby’s Bridge.
Dean Irwin, owner of Greenmount Farm Shop, near Richhill, says the Forest Expansion Scheme which is available each year for landowners, is a fantastic opportunity for rural businesses to diversify.
Mr Irwin, who said the scheme, which gives a guaranteed payment for 10 years, gives business owners like himself, the opportunity to diversify further.
He said: “All farms are a hive of activity and this one is no different. I was born and raised on the farm which my father purchased in 1959. I had always wanted to be working here. I am passionate about the land and the animals I rear on it. I went to England to study Agriculture and then came back to work on the farm and I diversified into other farm enterprises which benefit our farm produce.
“We have Darby’s Bridge which is a coffee house popular among tourists travelling through the area, local people and people travelling from a little further afield who just want to go somewhere different. But, when I thought about the land, I wondered what could be done with the ground which surrounds this old corn mill.
“I had heard about the Forest Expansion Scheme and contacted Carolyn Trimble of IndiWoods. She has a wealth of knowledge about the scheme and has great vision for what people can do.
“We applied for the scheme, got the grant and we finished planting back in May of this year. Since then, I have been looking at the land surrounding Greenmount Farm Shop and I am now able to extend the carpark, plan a picnic area, plan the creation of paths, and, also on my radar is the potential to create a glamping site.
“Not everything will happen at once – in fact it’ll take years to complete but it’s amazing how a woodland can give you vision of what’s possible.
“I have heard people are doing great things with woodlands so it was an easy decision for me to make. I am really looking forward to seeing how everything develops and it will create a lovely additional experience for our customers coming to the farm shop and coffee house.”
Speaking about the Forest Expansion Scheme, Carolyn said: “This grant is 100 per cent funded, it also attracts an annual income of up to £425 per hectare for 10 years and can be in addition to Single Farm Payments. What Dean plans to do is fantastic. Having his woodland now has given him vision of what else can be created. It’s about leaving a legacy, creating something for the public and enjoying the beauty of the trees and the additional wildlife.”
There are two deadlines this year – August 31 and September 28. Applications must be submitted prior to these dates or landowners will not be able to avail of the scheme.
For further information on the Forest Expansion Scheme contact Carolyn on 028 3752 7100 or email
To contact Greenmount Farm Shop call 028 3887 1393 and to book a table at Darby’s Bridge call 028 3887 1151.
Notes To Editor:
- IndiWoods is a woodland consultancy specialising in securing government funding for farmers and landowners who wish to plant trees on their land.
- For further information contact Eleanor McGillie of MGMPR Ltd on 028 3756 9569 | 07709805379