Thankfully the water supply, which started out like my hesitant blogs, has remained in full flow and, as promised, there is more exciting news to share.
Those of you, who have patiently shared our journey over the years, will know of the challenges we have faced in providing visitors with hospitality in what is a rugged and remote landscape. How many times have visitors up on Epiacum needed a nice hot cup of coffee after trudging up that hill we will never know!
However, thanks to a recent successful planning application and (even more challenging) an application to LEADER for grant funding, the farm business has developed some exciting plans for the site which will transform it.
LEADER distribute European funding to support rural farm diversification projects which support the rural tourism and create local jobs. The project has been well supported, particularly by The North Pennines AONB , who described Epiacum as “one of the most important sites in the North Pennines.”
So, after months of waiting, TOMORROW (13.05.19) work will begin on a new build Farm Shop & Coffee Shop and a Visitor Information point. Located adjacent to the main road in the car park, it will be able to provide interpretation about the local landscape and the local North Pennine landscape, as well as a warm welcome, toilets and shelter.
Epiacum Heritage will benefit significantly from the development and be able to operate much more effectively on the site to support visitors. We hope that the farm shop will entice new visitors to the site too.
We are hoping to increase the activity around Epiacum significantly as a result and hope that this will be a great success for everyone involved. It will be a real team effort and we will be promoting Epiacum in a new way going forward.
If you haven’t been on site yet, or you’re an observer but not yet a “Friend of Epiacum” then we look forward to seeing you soon.
Please do be aware that the car park may be disrupted over the next month (May- June) as the groundworks and foundations are put in place! The site will remain open but you may need to be creative over the parking. There is some space up beside the farm entrance or a small lay-by to the South of the car park .
We hope you share our enthusiasm for the plans. It’s going top be a busy summer ahead but we are excited!