Thirty acres of rare, untouched wildflower meadows were just part of the reason why land agent Julian Lambton and his wife Vanda bought their Cartmel Fell farm in 2006.

Almost immediately Julian, a former partner (and now consultant) at Carter Jonas in Kendal, and his wife set about making the 80-acre hill farm more wildlife friendly. 

Over the years he has negotiated with tenant farmer John Cook to create wildlife ponds. The couple, helped by a series of stewardship grants, have also planted 5,000 trees.

Eight years ago the Lambtons decided to share the beauty of their farm with others and set about converting one of their two traditional Lakeland barns into an events venue. Now Hare Hill Barn attracts hundreds of crafters, businesspeople on away days and others who have privately hired the space.

 “We had a party in the barn. It wasn’t used for the farm, just storage, and we cleared it for Julian’s 60th birthday and after that we thought we should make something of it. I am very into craftwork so I wanted to run craft courses but we decided it needed to be much more flexible than that so it’s an adaptable place,” said Vanda.

The barn officially opened in July 2021 with an eco-printing craft course. They renovated it, creating a large picture window with views over the Winster Valley, installed heating, a woodburner, kitchen, toilets and patio area.

With a South Lakeland District Council Covid Business Interruption Grant from SLDC they continued to improve the premises. The air source heat pump they installed has proved costly with rising electricity costs so Julian is now applying for planning permission for 27 solar panels. 

Every year Vanda runs a busy calendar of arts and crafts courses and organises three to four exhibitions from April to December. She teaches the Indian block printing and millinery courses – she has a hat hire business, Mad Hatters Cumbria. The barn is also offered for yoga sessions and private hire.

“We wanted to be seen to be supporting local artists. That was a driver for us to give people the opportunity to display their work,” said Julian. “People have said it’s a great exhibition space.”

The barn is also available for private dining events and office parties. Last year Julian’s firm, Carter Jonas, held their Christmas party there. They also host business away days.