Campview Farm is a mixed enterprise – situated on the Wild Atlantic Way - consisting of dairy, beef, sheep and potatoes.
The 150-acre holding – which is located beside Ballyshannon with stunning views of Donegal Bay and the Erne Estuary – was established in 1912.
Andrew Vaughan and his son - Ashley - oversee the running of the operation on a daily basis; they are assisted by Elspeth (Andrew’s wife) and Grace – his daughter.
Ashley manages the growing, harvesting and selling of potatoes; Elspeth assists with all the secretarial responsibilities and Grace co-ordinates all social media activities related to the farm.
“The farm had land leased to Finner Camp during World War One and is listed as a point of historical interest.” Andrew – a fifth-generation farmer - told Catherina Cunnane – That’s Farming.
Border Leicester ewes, spring-calving Aberdeen-Angus cows, their progeny and a British Friesian dairy herd dominate the pastures.
As a form of farm diversification, the Vaughans opened up the farm to tourists and groups in 2018; they offer holistic health experiences and stress that booking is essential.
“We have welcomed not only local tourists visiting the area but also local schools such as Ag Science students and our local walking group,” explained Andrew.
“Language school students from all over Europe and students studying on exchange programmes from the USA also visit Campview.”
“We hosted a farm safety event in September 2018 which was a great success and will run annually.”
The fully-operational Bord Bia Quality-assured farm opens its gates to the public from April to October every year. “This is not an open farm; we allow visitors to see what is involved in a working farm from the farmer’s point of view.”
“We can accommodate groups of any size with flexible visiting hours but find groups of 16 or less get the best out of the farm visit,” he added.
Three different packages are available – a 2-hour farm tour or visitors can gain farm experience over the course of three hours.
The farm tour is a guided walk around the farm covering its history, farmyard, facilities and livestock, the business owner explained.
“The farm experience is more of a hands-on visit where you can dig and learn about potatoes, load barley into a corn crusher and then feed it to the sheep.”
“We demonstrate what an old-style milk bottler is like, visitors can bring cows from the field to the milking parlour, observe cows being milked and feed the calves milk in the afternoon.”
“Farm safety is a priority and as a result, there will always be two people from the farm with a group at any one time.”
Rural farming tradition
Furthermore, this year, the family began growing potatoes with a view to creating a re-awakening of the past rural farming tradition.
Throughout the year, the crop is planted, harvested and stored on the farmland which boards the Great Irish Famine graveyard.
The farmland contains one of Europe’s natural turloughs in Europe; it has been designated as a special site of interest containing a wide variety of flora.
The conservation area of the Erne Estuary is also present on-site; it contains a diverse range of wildlife and birds including Red-breasted Mergansers and Dunlins.
Looking forward to the future, the entrepreneurial farm family hope to commence social farming later this year.
They also have plans to provide accommodation to tourists in the form of shepherd huts and to build a bird observatory at the Erne Estuary.
“Diversification is the way forward. We broadened our farm enterprise to ensure sustainable business for the next generation,” concluded Andrew.
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