Exercise retreat complete with eco-friendly treehouses planned for Northumberland farm

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Plans have been lodged for a farm-based ‘outdoor sports and recreation retreat’ in the Northumberland countryside.

The proposal, for Earsdon Hill Farm, to the east of the A1 near Causey Park, between Morpeth and Alnwick, would feature a ‘green gym, walking, running and cycling routes, and areas for conservation and woodland management activities’.

Applicant Philip Gregory, who has farmed at Earsdon Hill for two generations, is also seeking permission from Northumberland County Council for four treehouses which would be ‘a vital component to the success of the proposed enterprise’.

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A statement submitted as part of the application says: ‘Following engagement with established local stakeholders, Philip is keen to develop a farm retreat, with mental wellbeing and outdoor physical activity at the forefront of all that is done.

Near the turn-off to the farmNear the turn-off to the farm
Near the turn-off to the farm

‘Users will be able to participate in a range of activities on the farm designed to improve their mental and physical wellbeing within an environment which puts them back in touch with nature.

‘In doing so, this will provide what he believes to be a unique proposal to the locality.’

The document explains that other local businesses are likely to be involved in the initiative, with Real Fitness in Alnwick interested in ‘expanding its outdoor programme, with activities on the farm including a trim trail with outdoor gym equipment, a running route, and an area for exercise classes’ as well as running yoga classes. Northumberland Yoga and Pilates has also confirmed its interest in running classes at the retreat.

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A wildflower meadow would be created for activities, but an ability also to operate ‘under cover is essential to make a success of the venture by providing a wet-weather venue and extending the season’.

The four proposed treehouses, which would be in the green belt, would provide a mixture of teaching spaces and overnight accommodation.

‘The latter is key to increase dwell time, adding value and broadening the appeal of the project,’ the statement says.

‘In line with the ethos of the farm, these treehouses will be off-grid with sufficient power for their operation being provided by the existing wind turbine on the farm.’

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