THE DIVERSIFICATION JOURNEY

THE DIVERSIFICATION JOURNEY

 

FOLLY FARM’S new lodge offering blends seamlessly with the attraction side of the business.

 

Families who holiday in South Wales will typically include a trip to Pembrokeshire’s fabulous Folly Farm Adventure Park. Located just 15 minutes from the popular seaside resort of Tenby, this fun-filled destination, complete with vintage fairground and world-class zoo, is now the largest privately-run, paid for visitor attraction in Wales.

A working dairy farm until the late 1980s, Folly Farm has expanded so much over the last 30 years that it’s now a shining example of what can be achieved with a clear commercial vision and a diversification strategy to match.

 

 

TAKE THE PLUNGE
And it was this never-stand-still spirit that led Managing Director, Chris Ebsworth, to take the plunge and open a holiday park next to the visitor attraction just after the first lockdown. This 43-pitch five-star touring park and campsite - complete with four cool and quirky Showman’s Wagons - has been so popular over the last two years that Chris has now decided to diversify further into the holiday let market with the addition of six fairground-themed luxury lodges with hot tubs.

Chris knew introducing lodge accommodation was something he wanted to do to capitalise on continuing strong demand for UK breaks, but he also knew it would be prudent to call on the advice, guidance and support of a trusted expert partner to help bring his vision to life, his product to market and crucially to ensure the best possible return on his investment.

That’s when he turned to Luke Hansford, Vice President Business Development at Awaze – the parent company of staycation specialist Hoseasons – a decision Chris says has ensured the location’s new lodge offering blends seamlessly with the attraction side of the business as part of an all-round ‘stay and play’ package perfect for families looking for experiential breaks.

 

FOLLY FARM is a shining example of what can be achieved with a clear diversification strategy.

 

“We’ve always been farmers, it’s in our blood, but diversification is what keeps us thriving as a privately owned, family run business,” says Chris, adding: “We could see the lodges were a good idea, but it quickly became apparent as a relatively new accommodation business, that we would need to draw on the expertise, knowledge and professionalism of a brand like Hoseasons that has successfully been delivering family holidays for years.”

“We had many meetings with Luke to run through the options, weighing up the pros and cons of different types of accommodation before making our decision. He also supported us to perfect the presentation of our new lodges – from reflecting the Folly Farm brand in the interiors to making sure the landscaping and planting were right.

“Luke was also instrumental in bringing to our attention the importance of an arrival experience for our guests – something which has resulted in a brand new customer reception, along with plans for an onsite shop selling local produce, which we are hoping to open next year.”

 

FOLLY FARM opened a holiday park next to the visitor attraction just after the first lockdown.

 

PAYING DIVIDENDS
Luke believes the care and attention Folly Farm have put into their new development will pay dividends over the next few years as families see the value of staying somewhere aspirational with fantastic facilities, activities and entertainment on their doorstep.

He says: “It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Chris to bring his vision to market. He really understands the importance of continuing to evolve the offer so that they stay relevant in an ever-changing market. “Pressures on family budgets mean people will be looking to get the most out of their UK breaks over the next few years – something that bodes well for locations like Folly Farm Adventure Park who know they need to invest and innovate to keep pace with guest expectations.

 

CHRIS EBSWORTH worked with Hoseasons to fill his lodges and showman’s wagons.

 

“You only have to look at their high occupancy rates and average 9.6 out of 10 rating on our independent review system Revoo to see their approach is working.” Working with Hoseasons to fill his lodges and showman’s wagons has given Chris the confidence to push on with the next phase of development, including rhino-themed lodges overlooking the black rhino enclosure, lion-themed lodges and giraffe-themed safari tents – all of which are expected to be up and running by Spring next year. All the new lodges and showman’s wagons at Folly Farm Adventure Park are exclusively available to book via Hoseasons.

www.hoseasons.co.uk

MAKING A VIRTUAL SPLASH

MAKING A VIRTUAL SPLASH

 

Visualising a splash pad that hasn’t been constructed can be challenging so using Virtual Reality technology, The Splash has revolutionised the process of designing a splash pad that is perfect for your holiday space. Renowned for pioneering a more sustainable approach to water play with their Eco Splash range, the latest innovation from The Splash enables users to view their bespoke splash pad, within any proposed setting, from the comfort of your office.

Users now have the opportunity to get a feel for how space flows, perspective and visual assistance in decision making around layout and features, prior to any building work commencing. Due to the design and manufacturing capabilities at The Splash, all features are custom-designed and made to order which allows endless theme options to either compliment or coordinate with any location.

VR plays an important role in evaluating design concepts and can also be used as a sales or presentation tool with other team members. If you’re considering a new splash pad, or an update on an existing facility and would like to discuss Virtual Reality visualisation of your project, contact enquiries@thesplash.uk https://thesplash.uk

POOL & WELLNESS PULLING POWER

POOL & WELLNESS PULLING POWER

 

SPATEX, the pool, spa and wellness trade show takes place early next year at the Coventry Building Society Arena.

 

For those looking to inject new pulling-power to their pool, spa and wellness offering, then SPATEX, at the Coventry Building Society Arena, from Tuesday January 31st to Thursday February 2nd presents the obvious shop window.

Showcasing products and innovations from around the world, such as the newest hot tub models, super insulating covers, solar heating, air source heat pumps, variable speed pumps, provides an opportunity to see, touch and compare the most up-to-date selection of energy saving equipment all under one roof.

With free attendance to a double seminar and workshop programme on all three days of the show, you can pick up the latest energy saving guidance from experts and glean impartial advice for your own individual projects. With knowledge, the latest technological advances and careful management, there are effective ways to significantly reduce energy consumption and bills,” says the event organiser, Michele Bridle. “It’s this positive message that, with the help of our exhibitors and experts, we aim to convey to our visitors.”

Register FREE www.spatex.co.uk for SPATEX 2023 and receive monthly updates

BEAMING SUCCESS FOR TORCHLIGHT FESTIVAL

BEAMING SUCCESS FOR TORCHLIGHT FESTIVAL

 

THE CAMPING AND CARAVANNING CLUB’S first Torchlight Festival of Camping this summer relaunched the previous National Feast of Lanterns which dated back to 1921.

 

More than 4,500 people attended The Camping and Caravanning Club’s first Torchlight Festival of Camping this summer at Walesby Forest in Nottinghamshire. The new-look festival built upon the Club’s long history of running family- friendly events and relaunched the previous National Feast of Lanterns (NFOL), which dated back to 1921.

The festival’s main stage, sponsored by Cotswold Outdoor, played host to big-name music acts including Squeeze, Gabrielle and The Wurzels. The Club’s President, TV presenter Julia Bradbury, also took to the decks for her own DJ set where she performed on stage alongside The Invisible Circus – a spectacular illuminated show of acrobats.

And there was also a wide range of activities in the Family Tipi and an on-site wellness sanctuary. Nicola Simpson, the Club’s Director of Marketing and Insight, said: “We were delighted to welcome campers to our very first Torchlight Festival of Camping. “Torchlight saw us launch a new festival and at the same time pass the traditions of a fantastic Club event that served us well for a century on to a new generation of campers and festival-goers.

“It was wonderful to see so many caravans, motorhomes and tents illuminated with lights across Walesby Forest while families and friends met up and had a great time enjoying outdoor activities and top music acts. The festival was ageless with Club members ranging from babies right up to campers in their 90s, which helped create a fantastic atmosphere. We’ve been overwhelmed by so much positive feedback.”

EYES TO STAR-STRUCK NORFOLK SKIES

EYES TO STAR-STRUCK NORFOLK SKIES

KELLING HEATH has designated 10 premium pitches exclusively for astronomers. Pic Andy Green

Renowned as one of the best places in England to discover the dark skies, Norfolk’s Kelling Heath Holiday Park, welcomes astronomers for its Winterfest from Thursday to Monday, November 24th – 28th. Accredited as a ‘Dark Sky Discovery Site’ in 2017, Kelling Heath boasts the highest ‘two star’ site accolade as seven stars of the Orion constellation and the Milky Way are visible to the naked eye from the Park.

Kelling Heath is one of only five Dark Sky Discovery sites in Norfolk. For 2022, 10 premium pitches within the Yellow Dragonfly touring field have been designated as exclusively for astronomers*. These dedicated pitches are perfect for stargazers as they are hidden in a secluded and sheltered part of the Park.

Lucy Cook, Marketing Manager at Kelling Heath says: “We are pleased to welcome more astronomers throughout the year and look forward to building our offering to support stargazing in Norfolk. “We look forward to welcoming stargazers for many years to come.” The British Astronomical Association’s Commission for Dark Skies commended Kelling Heath for its commitment to educating guests and its work in protecting the areas dark skies, leading them to receive a Good Lighting Award in 2019.

The Park provides stargazing information for guests and Holiday Homeowners including leaflets, a dedicated website section and new interpretation boards at its Dark Sky Discovery Site area on Park. Michael Timewell, Director of Blue Sky Leisure, who owns Kelling Heath Holiday Park, said: “Kelling Heath gives many guests their first true dark skies experience. The excitement and wonder you see on the faces of those experiencing the majesty of the night sky at our star parties is something that will never get old.”

“We pride ourselves conserving the natural environment at Kelling Heath, and part of that is achieved by helping our guests make the most of the natural landscape around them in a responsible way – this includes how they interact with the dark skies on Park. Our Countryside Team continue to provide guests with educational talks and dedicated events to help them immerse themselves in the Park’s stunning natural surroundings.”

EXTENDING VISITOR SEASONS

EXTENDING VISITOR SEASONS

Neil Campbell reports on his recent autumnal holiday stay...

 

THE CCC LISTS 18 of its campsites as being open all year round.

 

With modern motorhomes and caravans now built to withstand cold weather, equipped with proper insulation and efficient heating, more and more sites are extending their bookings to include autumn and winter stays. My wife and I recently decided to give out-of-season touring a go and hired a motorhome for a long weekend at the St Neots campsite run by the Camping and Caravanning Club (CCC), situated next to the River Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire.

The Hardwick Road campsite is open until the end of October — long enough to embrace the autumn half- term holidays and Halloween. We had checked in online as the CCC encourages you to do, and this made arrival a seamless process. We were met at the gate as we arrived with a friendly welcome, which makes all the difference. We didn’t even have to get out of the motorhome and were led by one of the managers to our pitch – and in fact we were given a choice of three.

 

YOU CAN BUY FISHING LICENCES on-site for the nearby River Great Ouse.

 

A speedy reception and check-in makes all the difference and makes for a more relaxed start to your holiday, with online check in a massive advantage. It is a real help if there is plentiful local information, with brochures for local cafes, takeaways and taxi firms, and several maps showing the local area. Hooking-up could not have been simpler, with the electricity point directly behind the pitch.

There was a waterpoint about 10 metres away if we needed it, although we had a full tank. There was also a well-equipped motorhome service point where you could drain grey water and fill up with fresh water, and two chemical toilet disposal points. We were on a hardstanding pitch of about 8 metres by 4 metres, with an electric hook-up.

There was just about room for our pop-up gazebo, although we didn’t put it up in the end as the weather was good. There would have been ample space for a motorhome awning, and as the CCC has a policy of six metres between pitches, the whole site felt well spread out. The grounds had very well-kept grass and mature trees across the site, so that it retained a feeling of being in the country even though it was on the edge of a town, about 10 minutes’ walk away.

 

TOURING SITES NEED to balance the benefits of extended visitor seasons against the increased costs involved.

 

STAY RATES
We paid just under £100 for three nights for two adults. A grass tent pitch with electric would have been about £95, or a tent pitch without electric just under £80. We paid a 25% deposit, with the balance being collected on our day of arrival. It would also have been straightforward to change the dates of our booking online. There was also a lot of site information available on the CCC website, so we knew what would be there.

Check-in time was from 1pm, and contactless, which is a real advantage for arriving campers, particularly when the days are getting shorter, and checkout was mid-day, allowing for a leisurely start to the day without any need to rush. Facilities were excellent – spotlessly clean and spread across two blocks, so when one was shut for cleaning for 45 minutes, the other one was open. There were plenty of showers, although no shower curtains although there were locking doors of course.

 

THE ST NEOTS CCC SITE in Cambridgeshire is open until the end of October — long enough to embrace the autumn half-term holidays and Halloween.

 

The washing-up areas were under cover and there was plenty of hot water, and the laundry looked well-equipped with plenty of machines. Disabled access to the facilities looked to be excellent. There was a parent and baby room. I was also very impressed that there was a defibrillator machine, in my opinion every campsite should have one – it could save someone’s life. The bins were located at one location near the entrance, presumably so that the dustbin lorries only had one place to pick up from.

There were no separate recycling bins, so everything went in one rubbish bag. We were told that they were sorted out by the refuse collection teams. The campsite wifi was also very effective, and with an easily remembered password. There were lots of dogs and it seemed a very pet-friendly site. There was a code to get through the barrier onto the site, and an automatic barrier when you left. There was also a code for one of the loo blocks, as I think passing walkers had been using the facilities for free!

 

THE TOWN FACILITIES were within easy reach for walking or cycling.

 

ON-SITE SHOP
There was no shop on site although LPG gas was available from reception, as was the ability to freeze ice packs crucial if you are tent-camping. You could also get fishing licences for the nearby River Great Ouse. I think in an ideal world motorhome or caravan hardstanding areas would have individual water supplies and drainage points for grey water.

A small shop stocking essentials would be very useful – canned goods, bread, basics such as pasta, milk and perhaps eggs. If there is a shop, the essentials of camping gas, charcoal, firewood and batteries for torches should be freely available. Highly desirable food items would include marshmallows, hot chocolate, cake and anything that can be toasted on a fire — crumpets and teacakes chief among them.

Providing local information is also vital some sites offer the wonderful service of a visiting pizza or fish and chip van, but if not then leaflets for local takeaways, and directories for other services, can make a huge difference. Games, books or DVD’s to borrow or buy offer added value. The CCC lists 18 of its campsites as being open all year round, with the most northerly being Moffat in Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland and the most southerly being Tavistock in Devon.

Touring sites will of course need to balance the potential to attract visitors during the off season against the cost of doing so. From the campers’ point of view, a full range of facilities need to be available if a campsite is open — hot showers and a laundry being probably top of the wish list. Our experience of holidaying in autumn has only served to make us want more — we are already planning a winter trip and wondering if we are hardy enough to try it in a tent!

CARRY ON GLAMPING

CARRY ON GLAMPING

Eco-credentials and a unique experience are top of the list when it comes to maintaining that all-important occupancy rate, reports Judith Wojtowicz

 

PEACE AND TRANQUILLITY in the Malvern Hills, a project developed by The Rural Planning Co

 

Getting up close and personal with a llama might not be everyone’s idea of a perfect holiday break. But at Glamping with Llamas on the border of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, it is the ultimate in experiential glamping. The clue is in the name… a herd of ‘off duty’ grazing llamas are well used to visitors walking among them.

At 6pm each day, in the words of Tina Gambell, they are ‘on duty’ as she and husband Chris feed, groom and demonstrate how to handle them, sharing with visitors keen to learn more about these gentle creatures. The couple set up their business after realising their paddock pets had potential to offer a unique visitor experience.

“The difference here is that we encourage our guests to walk among the llamas and interact with them where similar sites seem to keep their animals behind a fence,” said Tina. One of their llamas acted as ring bearer for a summer wedding… a truly immersive and unique experience.

 

A WOOD-BURNING STOVE at the heart of this well-appointed safari tent is ideal for chilly nights at Meadowfield

 

SELLING POINTS
“The market is becoming saturated but for sites with a genuine usp, even those who are watching their pennies, will return if they enjoyed a memorable and unique experience,” added Tina, who is developing their wedding offering for the coming year. The word ‘experience’ is cropping up more and more as market growth slows, having seen an explosion of interest during the pandemic as people sought ‘outside’ holiday options.

While some pop-up sites and less-well managed businesses have since vanished, there is still much to choose from, be it a £60 per night cabin with shared shower block or high-end glamour from £200 upwards. In the absence of definitive data, anecdotal evidence seems to indicate glamour alone is no longer enough. Among the fast-growing millennial crowd, priorities include an eco-friendly offering combined with glorious setting and 5-star plus luxury… picture perfect for Instagram.

 

They want quirky en suite accommodation, think treehouse, geodome, gypsy caravan, stargazer tent, yurt, exotic tipi or converted vintage vehicles, with added value such as spa, wellness activities, nature trails and even the services of a top-class professional chef. Green tourism is a big trend with all ages, as people actively seek a glampsite that embraces sustainability, reducing their carbon footprint and getting close to nature.

One such is Brownscombe Luxury Glamping in Devon whose far-ranging sustainability policy has seen it win the Green Tourism Gold Award three years running. Its commitments include using third-party suppliers who follow similar principles such as the local laundry that has invested in biomass and solar technologies to minimise their impact on the environment, not to mention a water borehole.

 

SUNRISE: There’s glamping and then there’s Glamping with Llamas.

 

A fine example of a circular economy designed to reduce waste and protect the environment. Sarah Riley, founder of The Glamping Academy helps would-be hosts around the world to design their dream eco-accommodation. She told us: “Only ten years ago a bell tent in a field was enough of an attraction because it was seen as new and different.

Today, as well as a wonderful location and amazing interiors a successful business needs to maximise the guest experience.” All those things can be found at The Little Shire in Somerset, whimsical hobbit houses built partly underground… fit for hobbits and humans, says Adelle Hobbs, who added glamping to an established commercial operation within a converted dairy farm.

A selection of independent shops and eateries, plus black-nosed valois sheep and friendly alpacas make for a memorable setting. There is even a hobbit playhouse for children.

 

UP CLOSE and personal with Ria the llama.

 

COSY AND WARM
The houses are fully insulated with underfloor heating. While this makes them cosy and warm enabling year-round occupancy, they are energy hungry which is cause for concern amid rising costs. Fresh water comes from a borehole and the site has its own waste system.

Having welcomed her first visitors in May last year, after a four-year planning process interrupted by the pandemic, Adelle was fully booked very quickly and is anxious not to lose that momentum. Marketing is an ongoing challenge a role she has now passed on to a professional agency to relieve her of the ‘mind-boggling stress’ that kept her awake at night worrying about the online booking system and social media.

 

“I am great with people, and I love this lifestyle, but the key thing when starting out is to treat it as a journey of self-discovery, she said. “Learn what you can and can’t do and accept advice and help whether it be technical, practical physical tasks or the all-important planning stage.” In contrast, Meadowfield Luxury Glamping in Warwickshire is part of a working arable farm offering a ‘hands on’ experience to guests who stay in luxuriously appointed safari tents.

Their farm tour, by third generation farmer David Mold, is an education for all ages, especially children who have never seen a combine harvester or those who have no idea where food comes from. His wife, Jules, who was a panellist at The Glamping Show recently, has turned a four-acre meadow, seeded with wildflowers as part of an environmental project, into a thriving glampsite running between April and October.

 

THIS LOTUS BELLE STARGAZER Tent sleeps 10 in a one-acre paddock at Glamping with Llamas

 

“The site is set just off the yard, so guests are close to nature while also getting a close-up view of farm life,” said Jules. Her advice to newbies, as she explained at the show, is to do their homework and take the time to research and draw up a viable plan. And she adds a health warning: “Unless your heart is really set on it, my advice is to think twice,” she said.

“You will spend more, and work harder than you ever imagined although positive feedback is so rewarding and makes the effort worthwhile.” Diversification of this kind was one of the market drivers before Covid, farmers and landowners able to access grant funding from government and other sources to support and enhance rural life.

While this is still the case, there are signs landowners are now partnering with outside investors to monetise the opportunities. They recognise the potential for good return and see glamping as a short-to-medium term project, incorporating an exit strategy into a five-year business plan.

 

PHEW… it’s hot here! Llamas seek the shade on a hot summer’s day

 

CHANGING TRENDS
As the market evolves, this is one of the changing trends noted by The Rural Planning Co, former land agents who specialise in working with new operators. Sophie Blandford, business development and marketing manager, told us: “Ahead of Covid there was real buoyancy and excitement in the market and while that pace has slowed, 2021 was a fantastically successful year because of the ongoing uncertainty of overseas travel which boosted the ‘staycation’.

“The staycation market looks set to stay although popular coastal areas and areas of outstanding natural beauty are becoming saturated. When it comes to applying for planning permission, many local authorities will be keen to capitalise on the tourist pound. The consumer will vote with their feet in a crowded market so providing options in less obvious places is probably where the best opportunity lies at the current time.”

 

Hotels, holiday and caravan parks and even historic houses are getting in on the act, likely to generate even more competition in the future as they have their own traditional audience and are located away from the hustle and bustle of those saturated areas. “On the positive side, there is plenty of room for creativity and good return on investment, as long as the proposal is based on sound planning and in-depth research.” added Sophie.

BUBBLING OVER

BUBBLING OVER

The hot tub influence on increasing bookings...

 

THE VACATION RANGE, from Superior Wellness, boasts robust features designed specifically for the holiday let market.

 

For the holiday industry, 2022 has been another record year for staycations, delivering an estimated £15.5billion boost to the British economy. According to Sykes Holiday Cottages’ annual Staycation Index, 77 per cent of Brits holidayed in the UK this year, spending an average of £822 on their accommodation alone.

So how do you make your holiday destination stand out from the crowd and increase the odds of internet surfers pressing the book button? The simple answer – add a hot tub. “UK staycations with hot tubs consistently appears on a list of the most common staycation searches,” says Gareth Ward, Sales Director at Superior Wellness, one of the UK’s leading hot tub suppliers.

“A hot tub not only adds a touch of luxury but can also increase occupancy and revenue by up to 60%. “But much more than that, a hot tub allows families and loved ones to reconnect and spend quality time together,” Gareth adds. “People are also focusing on their wellness much more and a hot tub can help with this – soothing aches and pains, reducing anxiety and stress and relieving headaches. All reasons that may inspire a customer to book a holiday property with a hot tub.”

 

OFFERING A HOT TUB with your holiday let will increase bookings on average by 60 per cent. Pic. Rotospa

 

HOLIDAY LET
Jonathan Pritchard owns a holiday let based in Anglesey, he recently made the decision to add a Vacation Social hot tub, from the Superior Wellness stable, to his property. Jonathan purchased the hot tub from Superior Wellness’ partner at Concept Spa in Wales and he explains: “We wanted to increase bookings and people always say that it’s a bonus to have a hot tub, we were also recommended to get one by Sykes.

“I was recommended by Concept Spa to go for the Vacation social based on the value for money, the fact it’s simple and easy to use, less hassle/ maintenance, less things for people to break. “It has most definitely made a difference to my bookings; we are noticing that the winter months are also filling up much faster.”

If you are looking to purchase a hot tub for your holiday let, Superior Wellness recommend the Vacation Range or their Platinum Spas Holiday Let 5 hot tub. Both offerings are perfect for holiday homes, cottages, B&Bs and Airbnb as they designed specifically for the holiday let market these hot tubs offer a basic layout with no breakable or removeable components and are designed for heavy usage.

The robust but minimalistic design perfectly complements any garden, decking or outdoor environment. Gareth Ward again: “We do get a number of queries from potential buyers and this is a common question. But is the constant upkeep, care and maintenance is going to offer a decent return on your investment?

Gareth Ward again: “You need to look after your hot tub and ensure you provide the care and maintenance it needs and stick to the guidelines. However, the increase in revenue you will receive in terms of price per night and occupancy will outweigh any time and money spent on the upkeep.”

 

 

HEAT TIMES
Waiting around for a hot tub to warm up isn’t a holiday guest’s idea of fun, so Golden Coast’s exceptionally fast hot tub heat pumps are ideal for ensuring the spa is ready to enjoy in no time. The inverter-driven Golden Coast air source pump heats water quickly and efficiently.

During a test conducted on a hot tub in an ambient air temperature of 12 degrees, Golden Coast found that it took three hours and 40 minutes to heat the hot tub water from 10 degrees to 38 degrees. This was much faster than the electric heater previously being used.

A Golden Coast heat pump operates on a lower current so uses much less energy than electric heaters without compromising on performance. For each kilowatt of energy consumed, the heat pump offers an output of up to 13 kilowatts of heat – that’s 13 times more efficient than a standard electric heater.

A Golden Coast pump can reach an extremely high coefficient of performance meaning that once the water reaches the desired temperature (up to 40°C) the heat pump turns off while maintaining the temperature. “It is quicker to heat a hot tub with warmer air temperature, but a Golden Coast heat pump performs even in cold weather, so hot tubs can be enjoyed all year round,” says Adam Clark, General Manager at Golden Coast.

“Our heat pump is extremely energy efficient, allowing park owners to make significant savings on their bills. The more hot tubs a holiday park has, the more savings that can be made. Golden Coast has supplied air source heat pumps to a number of holiday parks with great success and with extremely positive feedback from park managers.

Golden Coast’s General Manager, Adam Clark, advises: “Whereas some heat pumps can be loud, a Golden Coast heat pump uses a unique ventilation structure enabling it to maintain noise levels as low as 25dB — ensuring peace and quiet for guests and peace of mind for owners.” When it comes to holiday hot tub insurance, Compass Insurance advise, to make sure that your insurance covers you for loss or damage as well as any possible legal liability arising from them being used.

 

GREAT FOR FRIENDS and family who want to relax on holiday, the Vacation Lounge hot tub is for 5-6 people and offers the perfect combination of one lounger and five seats. This 13 amp hot tub has R10 insulation and 25 jets.

 

INSURANCE COVER
Most insurers will include hot tubs in their general definition of structures, hire fleet or caravans (at Compass they do) but it’s worth checking the definitions in your policy to make sure. From there it’s also really important to make sure that the replacement cost of the Hot Tub is factored into any sum insured you have for your hire fleet. As well as the Hot Tubs themselves being insured your legal liability to the public using them should also be checked.

Have clear and documented guidance as to who should and shouldn’t use Hot Tubs. Holidaymakers with health conditions, including those with serious illnesses, respiratory and cardiac conditions and diabetes, as well as pregnant women or those on certain medications, should seek advice from their doctor before using a hot tub. Similarly, infections and disease can be spread, so those with body infections and open sores/ wounds etc, should not use a hot tub.

Comprehensive signage and instructions on the use of the hot tub are also important. Most of the claims we see in relation to Hot Tubs, and wet areas in general, relate to slips and trips when getting in and out. Cleaning and maintenance are critical and any hot tub owned by the park should follow a documented and robust process. Where possible this should also be in line with the manufacturer guidance and regular evidence, checks and logs kept.

Regularly checking the water, systems and filters is also essential. Parks have responsibilities even where they do not own the hot tub in question. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 does not apply to privately-owned hot tubs where there is no financial gain and they are used exclusively by the private owner, family members and occasional guests.

Park owners should also consider the matter of Employers’ Liability. We have seen a case in the past where an employee was known by their employer to have a reaction to chemicals, but the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) was not enforced. It is almost impossible to defend a claim when a relaxed approach to employee safety is taken. This highlights the importance of training staff appropriately and having systems in place for them to follow when they are involved in the cleaning and maintenance of hot tubs.

 

 

COMPANY CONTACTS

Golden Coast
Tel. 01271 378100
Email: swimmer@goldenc.com
www.goldenc.com

SuperiorWellness
Tel. 01246 559071
Email: info@superiorwellness.co.uk
www.superiorwellness.co.uk

Compass Insurance
Tel. 0344 274 0276
Email: enquiries@compass.co.uk
www.compassparks.co.uk

BEST SITE IMPRESSIONS

BEST SITE IMPRESSIONS

Advice from leading suppliers on your holiday park landscaping purchases...

 

THE KUBOTA G-SERIES has been designed for high performance and ease of operation.

 

Not to be underestimated, the importance of that first impression of your holiday location is an opportunity only served once. Everything your guests can see when they arrive needs to be immaculately maintained especially keeping a keen-eyed view on open spaces, driveways and garden areas.

“First impressions count, and this is particularly relevant in the holiday parks sector, be it the customer’s first impression on arrival or the images portrayed on your website,” emphasises Rupert Price, the owner of Price Turfcare, the UK importer of the Ventrac range of turf maintenance equipment. “This visual presentation is so important and could be the difference between your prospective client choosing your site over one that is close by.” Rupert continues: “All parks have copious areas of grass that need to be maintained in good order; long grass looks unsightly and gives the impression of neglect, so the condition and presentation is vital.” There are many mowers on the market from walk-behinds and ride-ons, either rotary or cylinder, the occasional flail, and even remote-controlled mowers for sloping ground that can help you achieve the perfect picture.

 

ONLY PURPOSE-BUILT machinery like the Ventrac can tackle slopes over 15 degrees.

 

PERFECT PICTURES
Walk-behind mowers, be they cylinder or rotary, are ideal for confined spaces but for large areas they are unproductive and labour intensive. Ride-ons come in various sizes from the semi-commercial small out-front rotaries to the large commercial cylinder mowers with rollers that provide attractive striping.

If a sloping bank is greater than 15 degrees, it is unlawful to operate the machine as it may roll over. To overcome this, remote-controlled mowers have been introduced, which enables the operator to stand clear of the machine and work from a safe distance. Most of these machines have a limited cutting width, so again productivity is an issue.

They are normally tracked vehicles and, in wet conditions, can ruin a grass bank when turning. Vitally, Ventrac and Price Turfcare offer an alternative that can overcome all of these issues and do more than just cut grass and, more importantly, in a safe manner. “We can legitimately operate on slopes up to 30 degrees, twice their permitted angle and allowing areas that may have not been maintained regularly, to be tamed,” Rupert explains.

 

WITH OVER 100 YEARS EXPERIENCE, Makita offers over 290 products in its LXT battery powered range alone.

 

MOWING DECKS
“With seven different mowing decks we’re obviously not a one-trick pony, but with numerous other attachments we can provide the versatility you should be demanding from your equipment.” It is worth noting, the Ventrac offers a Power Broom for removing debris from hard surfaces, ideal for car parks and paved areas. The Power Rake is a great tool for renovating compacted hardcore pitches or Type 1 aggregate road and pathways.

 

COMPACTED PITCHES
Compaction to pitches, caused by the continual use by tents, caravans and motorhomes over the course of a season, can be relieved using the Aera-vator and attaching the Seeder unit it is possible to aerate and overseed in a single pass. There are a couple of debris blowers, the Turbine blower and Power blower, for removing autumnal leaves on parks close to or surrounded by woodland and finally, the Boom mower, for maintaining hedges and lake margins.

Trevalgan is an award-winning, luxury, five-star, family camping and touring park with stunning coastal and countryside views, just two miles from St Ives. The Park, which is owned and run by Neil and Annette Osborne, is surrounded by open farmland, with gorse and heather covered hills behind, and is within walking distance of the rugged and beautiful South West Coast Path. They recently invested in a Ventrac landscaping package. Neil explains: “The main reason I was interested in the Ventrac package was because of the ease of changing the implements safely and quickly on my own. The compact size and manoeuvrability of the machine is ideal for our busy campsite and enables me to get in to all the tight spaces. “The overall quality of the machine and implements are excellent. I have been very impressed by the Area-vator as this helps to relieve the compaction of the pitches caused by a five-month season of continual use by tents, caravans and motorhomes. Neil adds: “At the end of the season, this versatile implement can also re-seed the pitch at the same time, which makes the Ventrac very time efficient and I have been more than pleased with the end result.”

 

WHENWORKING with any outdoor equipment, ensure all workers wear the correct personal protective equipment (PPE). Pic. Makita

 

FIT FOR PURPOSE
Of course, professionals using any power tool will naturally demand a product that can do the job with ease. Outdoor equipment and power tools that are powered by lithium-ion batteries and manufactured by trusted manufacturers can reliably offer users this reassurance, as lithium-ion batteries can hold high levels of energy and will work for long periods of time without needing to be charged.

“For professionals who rely on a machine for their livelihood, quality shouldn’t be compromised, and users should only source equipment from trusted manufacturers to make sure the tool is fit for the job,” says Mark Earles, Product Development Manager for Outdoor Products at Makita UK. “This is particularly important when using battery-powered products,’ he adds.

The temptation to use third party, uncertified, cheap batteries can lead to poor product performance, or even risk fire and injury. Using a third-party battery will also invalidate any tool warranties. Only use genuine batteries from the manufacturer that have been fully tested and guaranteed to work with the tool and Users are increasingly looking for more sustainable solutions, with a move toward battery powered tools that can replace petrol, or corded alternatives.

Cordless products offer freedom to move about on site, without spending time on the safe management of trailing cables in public areas, or handling petrol – and the associated fumes for those nearby.

 

ON DISPLAY AT SALTEX, the 648S brings more innovative features to the time-tested machine that changed the way you aerate.

 

DO NOT DISTURB
A further priority, particularly for those working on a public site, is noise. Cordless machines are typically quieter than petrol products, making them an ideal choice for working through the day whilst minimising disturbance for holiday park guests. In line with this, Makita stopped manufacturing its petrol-powered products in January this year to concentrate on developing its cordless range further to evolve with the needs of the market.

Mark advises: “When investing into a cordless system of outdoor equipment, choose a manufacturer that offers a range of tools powered by the same battery platform. “This not only makes switching between jobs easier, but also reduces costs if you buy the ‘body only’ models -- without battery and charger – simply use your existing batteries and chargers to power your entire collection, rather than purchasing new ones every time.” Users also want tools that offer productivity and efficiency gains. Makita is constantly refining its battery and charging technologies, to provide the performance and power that professionals need as well supporting greener and cleaner products for the industry.

 

LEAF BLOWERS such as Makita’s DUB186 18V LXT Bower are hugely popular and essential to clear paths and public areas from autumn leaves.

 

BATTERY PACK
Makita manufactures a wide range of outdoor equipment and construction power tools with a core focus on cordless technology. With over 100 years’ experience, the company has refined this expertise and today offers over 290 products in its LXT battery powered range alone.

The LXT collection includes products such as blowers, lawnmowers, linetrimmers and hedge trimmers, as well as drills, saws, drivers and wrenches, even radios, heated jackets and kettles and the company continues to add more to the range each year. This means outdoor professionals have a huge choice of kit that can all be powered by the same battery without the restriction of cords or petrol.

Simply switch the battery to a different tool to tackle every type of job, anywhere on site, with ease. At this time of year, leaf blowers such as the DUB186 18V LXT Bower are a hugely popular and essential product to clear paths and public areas from autumn leaves. The DUB186 is compact and lightweight solution that can be easily transported around site, offering a maximum air volume of 3.2m2/min and variable speed control. Linetrimmers are also an essential grounds maintenance solution that remain popular thanks to their versatility and effectiveness in making light work of neatening grassy areas.

A tool such as the DUR192L 18V LXT Line-trimmer can be used to tidy edges around borders, trim awkward areas around static caravans, decking, fences and walls, as well as heavier duty applications to clear weeds and long grass. Its quiet operation is ideal for use in public spaces.

 

TAKING PLACE ON NOVEMBER 2 and 3, SALTEX offers a huge learning curve and landscaping solutions.

 

FREE TRAINING
Take advantage of manufacturers, like Makita, that offer free training on using equipment correctly and safely. When working with any outdoor equipment, always wear the correct personal protective equipment (PPE). Ensure staff wear and use the correct safety equipment.

Failing to do so could cost an employee’s eyesight, hearing, a finger, the end of a career, or worse. As we head into winter, what better time to evaluate your outdoor areas and carry out the necessary modifications to make your guests’ first impressions count in time for the 2023 season. “The landscape and surroundings of your holiday park or caravan site provide the backdrop for a picture-postcard holiday,” urges Phil Catley, Kubota (UK)’s Ground Care Product Manager. “When it comes to grounds maintenance, mowing will likely be the operation conducted most frequently and by making simple changes to your cutting regime – such as considering cut and collect – it can have major benefits, not just to site presentation. Mowing of both communal spaces and those in and around chalets and statics is absolutely essential to maintaining the aesthetic quality of your site, and in peak growing season may be conducted on a daily basis. The finesse of a clean cut however, can sometimes be compromised by the clippings left behind following the pass of a ride-on mower.”

The Kubota G-Series has been designed for high performance and ease of operation, offering impressive cutting performance on grass of all lengths and in all conditions. For landscaped areas close to holiday lets, many Grounds Managers are now turning to ride-on units that offer cut and collect – delivering precision and accuracy of cut and removal of the clippings produced in a single pass. Says Phil: “Not only does this enhance presentation and reduce the risk and problems associated with the mown grass being trodden into accommodation, removal of clippings is also great for turf health. “Your grass surfaces are living organisms, that require both air and sunlight to create food and grow,” advises Phil.

“Allowing thick piles of clippings to accumulate can create dark, warm and damp micro-climates that can lead to issues with certain turf diseases which can ultimately impact on the health and overall appearance of your green spaces.”

 

WITH SEVEN different mowing decks Ventrac is much more than a one-trick pony.

 

SHOW DATES
They say planning is the key to success and in the case of outdoor space and landscaping – a well thought out strategy will pay huge dividends not least by avoiding costly mistakes. SALTEX 2022 takes place at Birmingham’s NEC on Wednesday and Thursday, November 2 and 3, and promises a wealth of practical tips and product to add to your outdoor landscaping plans. SALTEX attracts the most exhibitors in the industry to one place at any one time.

With new exhibitors coming on board weekly, the 2022 event is already set to be the biggest and best show yet. SALTEX continues to attract the best in the business – with visitor registrations from over 30 countries already confirmed with a roll call of domestic and international exhibitors signed-up. Free to attend, the show includes the ever-popular Learning LIVE programme - a key element in the SALTEX offering, which has this year been extended to over 30 sessions with influential speakers addressing a range of key issues impacting the industry. High on the agenda are sustainability and environmental issues.

SALTEX is an event grounds people have always made the time to attend. Visitor and exhibitor feedback surveys confirm that the networking opportunities are a massive draw and never more so than in the post-pandemic landscape. 2021 survey data showed that almost half (46%) of visitors attend for networking opportunities; over two-thirds (68%) attend to source new products, services, and suppliers; topped by an extremely high satisfaction rating of 83% voting the show as Good, Very Good or Excellent.

 

WITH SEVEN different mowing decks Ventrac is much more than a one-trick pony.

 

BIG DRAW
Reesink UK will be represented at SALTEX 2022 with innovations and technologies, new launches and best sellers from all four of its divisions Reesink Turfcare, Reesink e-Vehicles, Reesink Agriculture and Reesink Hydro-Scapes for the first time. Bound to be a big draw will be two Toro product launches from Reesink Turfcare. The new Toro ProCore 648s and ToroWorkman UTX 4x4.

Building on the incredible legacy of the ProCore 648, the 648s brings more innovative features to the time-tested machine that changed the way you aerate. The s stands for superior – and superior it is. An updated version of a customer- favourite model, there are more than 10 new patents and some brand-new enhancements based off operator feedback and Toro’s own in-depth studies. Revised controls improve ergonomics and allow single handed operation, and hole spacing and true tine depth are now set and saved in the Info Centre. Reesink will also unveil the latest powerhouse from Toro to tackle all terrains thrown at it: the new Toro Workman UTX 4x4. The fourth utility vehicle in the series, it tackles all terrains and environments including ice and snow.

This robust four-wheel drive, full- sized utility vehicle has 25 percent more cargo capacity than others in its class and blasts through its tasks. Finishing the line up from Reesink Turfcare is Toro’s Groundsmaster 3300 mower, back with its innovative flail attachment, and one of two tractors – the TYM T395 is coupled with an AgriMetal blower attachment at the show.

The industry’s first all-electric compact tractor from Reesink Agriculture is the second on stand. Since Farmtrac’s FT25G launched, it’s won awards, been on multiple TV programmes and impressed the industry’s electric vehicles and technology enthusiasts, as well as winning the SALTEX Innovation Award in the Environmental and Sustainability category. So, if you’ve missed seeing it in person up until now, now’s your chance. With the theme of the show sustainability, Reesink e-Vehicles is ably represented by the electric CapellaWork Machine with cargo box from STAR EV and KAASPEED’s unique electric scooter. Both make transporting cargo and people around the site fun, clean and green.

Also on display, and the next big thing for sustainable cleaning of machinery, is Bio-Circle GT Maxi, the parts cleaner that requires no water and eliminates pollutant run-off into the water system. This VOC-free, pH neutral cleaning option is gentle on the environment but powerful enough to remove grease, oil, grass contamination, white-line paint and fertiliser.

From Reesink Hydro-Scapes, there’s a selection of irrigation and water aeration solutions, encapsulating the long established and industry-leading Toro irrigation systems, controllers, sprinklers and soil sensors, Otterbine pond and lake aerators; SRC wall-mounted controllers and quick-replace Franklin pump systems.

 

INSURANCE MATTERS
For many parks bringing third parties and contractors on site to complete works is part of everyday life. Whether it’s for large developments, upgrades or just simple repairs and maintenance, having other businesses onsite is a regular occurrence. As we head into the period when many parks undertake important maintenance and development work, specialist insurers, Compass, has put together some helpful tips to consider when it comes to their insurance. From an insurance perspective you want to check that:

1. The contractor does have insurance in place.
2. That insurance is specific to the work they are going to undertake
3. Their insurance doesn’t expose you and your policy to any claims Contractors come in all shapes and sizes, from large commercial businesses to bona fide contractors, Compass advises.

Regardless of the type of their business, the length of contract and the work they are undertaking when coming onto your park requires them to have their own insurance cover. The only exception is if you’re employing a labour only sub-contractor as they are automatically classed as your employee by most commercial policies and would therefore be covered on your own policy.

A contractor working on your park without the right level of insurance could expose you, the most obvious way is in your liability to the public. The limit of indemnity (LOI) on Public Liability needs to be the same as the limit you have on your Park business policy, referred to as being ‘back to back’. If it isn’t then in the event of a liability incident, you could find yourself picking up the gap in an award to a claimant.

 

 

COMPANY CONTACTS

Compass Insurance
Tel. 0344 274 0276
Email: enquiries@compass.co.uk
www.compassparks.co.uk

Kubota (U.K.) Limited
Tel: 01844 268205
www.kubota.com

Makita UK
Tel. 01908 211678
www.makitauk.com

Price Turfcare
Tel. 01284 827540
www.priceturfcare.com

Resink
Tel. 01480 226800
www.reesinkturfcare.co.uk

SALTEX
Tel. 07754 552405
www.saltex.org.uk

FARMING SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

FARMING SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

Beth Connor reports from Adam Henson's Cotswold Farm Park...

THE CHOICE OF ACCOMMODATION includes popular Sunset Lodges.

 

We were delighted when the Holiday Park Scene team were invited to test out the facilities at Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park. Adam Henson is perhaps the best- known farmer in the UK, presenting his own section on BBC’s Countryfile to millions of viewers each Sunday evening.

Farming and conservation are Adam’s first passions and when the camera stops rolling, there is still plenty of work to be done. In 1971, Joe Henson founded Cotswold Farm Park to help protect some of our rare breeds of farm animal. Today, it’s Adam Henson, his business partner Duncan and of course the enthusiastic team, that are proud to be continuing in Joe’s wellington-booted footprints.

“We have passion for all we do here and are dedicated to delivering the best of British farming, through a sustainable and authentic approach,” says Adam.

 

 

The site has some outstanding qualities including:
• Very friendly staff
• Farm Park - free entrance
• Restaurant and Farm Park Shop
• Mapped on-site Wildlife Walk
• Dog Welcome Pack – Bed, Bowls, Long Leash & Peg, Blanket, Treats, Poo Bags
• Hot Tub

 

 

There’s regular excitement on the farm, whether it be lambing season, harvest time or the arrival of new calf; there’s always something new to see at the farm. Visitors have the opportunity to meet more than 50 rare breeds, have a go on pedal-tractors, fly along the zipline and hold little chicks.

Visitors can even book in for a day visit with their own horses to experience the 50-jump riding course in gorgeous woodlands, streams and valleys. The site offers a wide range of accommodation options including Sunset Lodges, Songbird Safari Tents, Camping Pods, Camping and Motorhome pitches and a seasonal Glamping Field.

The on-site facilities were outstanding including The Ox Shed Bar & Café, Farm Park Shop with home reared produce, beautiful, heated shower block, laundry facilities, picnic area, campers’ kitchen and of course the farm which provides a full day out for all the family.

 

Cotswold Farm Park
01451 850307
www.cotswoldfarmpark.co.uk