Spectacular cliff top views above the North Devon coastline have helped one working farm become an idyll for Covid-weary campers.

South Dean Camping was set up by Billy Stanbury on the family farm near Barnstaple this year when the pandemic left him with more time on his hands than usual.

With its fantastic views across the sea and being just a stone’s throw from the popular South West Coastal Path, the site proved an immediate hit.

Billy, who ran with campsite with his girlfriend Emma Merriman, said the key had been its fantastic location which helped people relax after a challenging year.

“Quite a few temporary campsites set up around here in the pandemic so unless you stood out, you lost out,” he said.

“It was the views that made it for people. There are probably few better views in the whole of the west country.”

Billy set up the campsite under extended Permitted Development Rights (PDR) which enabled farmers and other landowners to operate campsites for 56 days without needing to apply for planning permission.

Previously, the limit had been 28 days, but this was extended by the government in June 2020 to fuel a post-Covid rural economic recovery.

READ MORE: Farmers flock to create temporary campsites to cash in on staycation boom

Billy, whose dad and brother have a flock of 300 Cheviot x Suffolk ewes and a 50 head beef suckler herd, said he had always wanted to try camping on the farm, but hadn’t previously had the time to set a site up.

However, the pandemic meant he had more time on his hands and with the extension to PDR, he decided to give it a go.

He said: “We always have people asking if they can camp, so it’s been in the back of my mind for a long time.

“But it was only during the pandemic that I had time to give it a proper go.

“We put 40 pitches on a 10-acre field to ensure we had enough toilet capacity and then listed it on booking site Pitchup.com.

“It was really busy from the start. I couldn’t believe how popular it was.

"We opened from July 10 to October 4 and my dad loved it. He was up there everyday on his quad talking to campers. It was fantastic.”

Billy added they already have plans to extend the campsite next year.

“I’m going to fence off an area to put lambs and donkeys for the campers to see,” he said.

“We have plenty of land for the livestock, so running the farm and the campsite together was never a problem.

“I think we can turn it into a really great place for people to visit.”

Dan Yates, founder of Pitchup.com, said that the views from South Dean Camping had definitely helped the campsite become so successful.

He added that according to the company’s own figures even the smallest temporary, farm-based campsites average around £13,000 of additional income per season and many earn more than £50,000.

The website’s top earner this year made more than £120,000 over the 2021 holiday season, helping to make the farm in question far more profitable.

Mr Yates said: “Tourists come and stay on these sites but much of their spending is offsite with local businesses like pubs, restaurants, shops and attractions.

“That way, these pop-up sites are having a positive impact on whole communities, not just the businesses that set them up.

“The experience of farmers and other rural business owners who use us to market their sites seems to be that there are no downsides at all.

"With that in mind, we’re hopeful that further flexibility over Permitted Development Rights and licensing will be granted for 2022.”