This paper reports on the initial findings of a major new piece of research that highlights the importance of non-agricultural sources of income to the UK rural economy. Prompted by the recent significant falls in agricultural income, farmers have been looking to convert redundant farm buildings to commercial use in order to redress the deficit. Meanwhile the forces of counter urbanisation have identified accessible areas as pleasant places to work but not necessarily in the activities normally associated with the rural economy (Breheny 1999). However, prompted by the need to achieve sustainable development, the UK government is seeking through policy to guide economic development back into urban areas where the infrastructure is already in place.