An ambitions diversification project is underway to transform farmland in Wootton Wawen into a new 50-berth marina.
The marina, which is being built on land at Hill Farm, will sit adjacent to Stratford Canal and be accessed from the A3400.
The project was granted planning permission in 2013 and the applicant is confident that the facility will be open for business in April next year.
The development includes a car parking area, while the marina itself will incorporate a number of wooden walkways and mooring pontoons.
The marina will act as an overnight mooring and stop off, not a hire point for boats, a fact the applicant argued would limit the number of vehicles entering and leaving the site.
Workers have just finished excavating the 71,000 cubic metres of soil necessary to create the marina, which will be re-used for ground modelling elsewhere on the site.
The marina, the brainchild of business partners David Cooke and farm owner David Amor, will offer leisure moorings rather than residential ones.
Boat owners will be able to stay there but not use the site as their address.
David Cooke said: “When we received planning permission it was very exciting but also very daunting. We’ve dug out the whole basin, the equivalent of three-and-a-half miles of canal.
“There’s been a lot of interest in it already, we’ve not done any advertising yet so it’s all been through word of mouth, which is very encouraging.
“There’s quite a big demand for this type of facility in the area. Within 30 miles of Wooton Wawen there are just two berths available for boats up to 34 feet long. Canal boats on average are 58 feet so you could say that there are no berths available at all for most boat owners.
“The Canal and Rivers Trust are keen to move more people into marinas as opposed to canal side moorings and facilities like this will offer owners a secure place to moor. When completed there will be toilet and shower facilities and hopefully a café on site.
“We were granted planning permission three years ago but we only started work in August because we needed to fulfil a number of conditions beforehand and prepare the area for development.
“There has been no real adverse reaction locally to the project, the planning committee were very positive about it when we were granted planning permission and it will benefit Wootton Wawen by bringing more people into the village. We hope to encourage more visitors to the farm where they can experience a working beef and sheep farm. The marina will help to bring those visitors in.”
David Amor, who owns the farm, added: “Sadly sheep and beef farming is not what it used to be and I believe this marina will help safeguard the farm’s future and enable my family and future generations to remain on the land and make a living here. We wanted to keep the farm going and get people more connected with our culture.”
For more information about the marina visit www.hillfarmmarina.co.uk