A campsite is about to begin its 50th season of welcoming visitors.

Demesne Farm campsite, which is situated on a working farm, is ran by Robert and Margaret Telfer.

Demesne Farm, in Bellingham, began its journey as a campsite in 1972 when the local police sergeant at the time, Bill Liddell approached Tot and Kathleen and asked them if they would allow them a couple of tired hikers who were walking the newly-created Pennine Way to pitch a tent for the night.

Several similar requests followed, and a toilet and basin were installed in what had been the farm dairy.

Other improvements soon followed, such as male and female toilet blocks, and a shower block.

Robert said: “The turning point was 2004, when we put the electric hook-ups in and created a website.

“At that point the booking escalated.”

The campsite has 30 pitches.

“It’s a small site, but it’s a very important part of our business,” Robert said.

He added they have a variety of people and groups visiting the campsite, such as walkers, cyclists, motorbike and Duke of Edinburgh groups, and families looking for a base to explore Northumberland.

Robert said the campsite welcomes a lot of return visitors: “We have an awful lot of people coming annually.

“One family came every year for 30 years. They’ve never missed a year.

“We have met people from all over the world.”

Last year, due to coronavirus restrictions, the campsite was unable to open until the middle of July and therefore they had a reduced season.

Despite this, Robert said: “It was probably our busiest season ever, because people could not go abroad.”

The rise of staycations is set to continue this year due to the uncertainty around travelling abroad, and Robert said they have had a lot of bookings so far.

The campsite is located around 100m from Bellingham village centre.

“I would like to hope the campsite helps our local economy,” Robert said.

The campsite has had a bunkhouse which could sleep up to 15 people in three bedrooms.

But it has now been transformed into a 2-bedroom holiday cottage, which they hope to open in around two weeks.

The cottage sleeps four and both bedrooms are en-suite.

“The bunker has been great, but we think the holiday cottage will be easier to manage,” Robert said.

For more information, visit: http://www.demesnefarmcampsite.co.uk/index.php