Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Couple Find Success with Switch to Fishing

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Couple Find Success with Switch to Fishing

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jennifer Mackenzie

When producing dairy cattle became a loss-making venture Brian and Shiela Hodgson knew they had to act - or go under.

They switched to beef production - and fish.

And their diversification into running two fishing lakes has seen their fortunes take a turn for the better.

The 203 munching beef cattle seem quite unperturbed that their former pasture is now a trout lake.

Mr Hodgson's family had farmed for four generations at Aldin Grange, Bearpark, on the outskirts of Durham City, but the 52-year-old said: "If I had a son to pass on the farm to I might have attempted to weather the storm.

"But you need to make 23p for every litre of milk produced, and we were only making 16p. We had to do something.

"This was a couple of years ago, and we decided to switch to beef. We do have some arable land but the farm is not big enough to go completely arable.

"It was Sheila's idea to open up for fishing, although she has never fished in her life."

Sheila says it was a chance conversation with a friend of a friend, whose parents own a lake in Yorkshire, which turned her thoughts to fish.

It also struck the couple that natural underground springs on the land could be their salvation, not a problem.

She said: "I thought, hang on, we have spent the last 30 years draining the field because of the water problem. Why don't we take advantage of it instead?

"I went away and did my homework and spoke to friends who know a bit about fishing. After that it was a case of deciding do we go for it - and we did."

Brian added: "Angling is one of the most popular sports in the country, and we are on the fringe of an urban area where there are a lot of fishermen.

"We really need more people to know we are here, although the coarse and trout lakes are popular. But there are people in neighbouring villages who do not know we are open for fishing. …

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