• Tue. Feb 27th, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

An award-winning Northumberland sustainable tourism business is introducing a unique romantic getaway with the help of a five-figure investment from the North East Small Loan Fund Supported by The European Regional Development Fund.

Dave and Harvest Harris-Jones set up Laverock Law Cottages and Glamping 11 years ago on a two-acre site at Lowick near Berwick-upon-Tweed after restoring three semi-derelict cottages, which they now offer alongside a handcrafted shepherd’s hut made from local timber.

As part of the next stage of the business’s development, Dave and Harvest are building a heart-shaped treehouse in a secluded location on the site which will sleep up to four people and which is scheduled to be available before the end of September.

A £25,500 Small Loan Fund investment secured through regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers is now enabling Dave and Harvest to complete the fit-out of the treehouse’s interior, which will include a wood-burning stove, oak flooring, a fully-fitted kitchen and bathroom and locally-sourced artisan crockery.

Laverock Law Cottages and Glamping has won a range of national and regional awards for its commitment to sustainability, including golds in Visit England’s Sustainable Tourism Awards, the North East England Tourism Awards and the Northumberland Tourism Awards.

The cottages, which are powered by renewable electricity, all have low carbon heating and hot water systems, while the wider site offers abundant wildlife habitats, wilding areas and electric vehicle charging points, with bikes available to borrow to minimise car journeys in the local area.

Alongside its accommodation, it also offers a range of activities and experiences including breadmaking, felt making, well-being retreats, wildwalks and family adventures.

Bespoke joinery firm Northumbrian Woodworks in Rothbury was commissioned to build the treehouse structure, which will be available to book via the Airbnb and Canopy & Stars websites, as well as directly from the owners, from mid-September.

Dave Harris-Jones says: “There’s nothing in Northumberland like our new treehouse and we’re now putting the finishing touches to what’s going to be a wonderful addition to what we offer our visitors.

“The space we’ve chosen to build it offers amazing views across to the Cheviots and is well-shielded from the rest of the site, meaning guests will be able to get the seclusion and privacy they’re looking for.

“Every aspect of the treehouse has been designed to the highest standards to give visitors a little bit of countryside luxury and it will also give us an extra degree of flexibility when it comes to accommodation for guests who book any of our experiences.

“We’ve always been passionate about sustainability and the wonderful place in which we live, and have succeeded by following an ethical and sustainable ethos that means visitors can enjoy a great holiday accommodation with minimal environmental impact.

“Getting NEL’s backing has enabled to bring the completion date for this project forward by at least six months and we’re confident that the treehouse is going to help our business thrive even more through the coming autumn, winter and beyond.”

Jonathan Armitage, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “This is a fantastic project in a great location and will add a new dimension to an already successful, sustainable business.

“It will add another unique aspect to Northumberland’s tourism offering and we can’t wait to see the finished structure.”

Part of the £120m North East Fund and aimed predominantly at smaller SMEs, the £9m North East Small Loan Fund typically offers loans of between £10,000 and £100,000 to businesses in Tyne & Wear, Durham and Northumberland.

It is designed to assist with the creation of over 1,200 new regional jobs in more than 320 SMEs over the life of the fund.

The overarching £120m North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 3,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment into the region.

For more information on NEL’s investment criteria, visit www.nel.co.uk or contact the investment team on 0345 369 7007.