Farewell To Friend of Holiday Parks

Farewell To Friend of Holiday Parks

ABOVE: The inspirational David Bellamy has died at the age of 86.

The Conservation Foundation was greatly saddened to announce the death of Professor David Bellamy OBE, its co-founder and President in December. A passionate friend to the holiday park industry, he put his name to The David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme -- one of the longest running green tourism awards in the UK. The idea behind the awards has been to celebrate what the best parks are doing for the British countryside and to encourage others to follow their lead. One of the first comments David made about the scheme remains true today: “My dream is to upgrade all caravan parks up to some sort of conservation status so that they can educate the visiting public and help them respect and care for the countryside. “Help the environment and choose a park that has one of my awards,” he urged as he continued to work in close partnership with the British Holiday & Home Parks Association. Last year, 570 holiday parks received a David Bellamy Conservation Award for the work they’ve done to protect and enhance Britain’s natural environment. From the creation of new wildlife meadows and woodlands to the construction of solar-powered shower blocks and energy efficient lodges made out of recycled plastic, the variety of work being done by these parks is outstanding. The parks that take part in the scheme are all regularly assessed by the scheme’s team of local wildlife experts. The assessors look at the steps parks are taking to:

• Manage their land as a haven for wildlife

• Reduce their use of energy, water and other resources

• Reduce, reuse and recycle the waste they produce

• Support their local communities.

The idea of the scheme was first sown when David Bellamy gave a talk to members of the camping, caravanning and holiday home park industry in which he gave the audience members a challenge to be part of the environmental solution and not part of the problem. David, who was 86 when he died, was then invited to visit many parks and was amazed at the wide range of work that the most forward-thinking owners were doing for the environment as mini nature reserves. Known for his distinctive gravelly voice, the botanist and broadcaster was a larger-than-life character who inspired a whole generation. He became a household name, as a scientist and conservationist and will continue to inspire the holiday park industry in his name.

Nature’s Paradise

Nature’s Paradise

Natures paradise 1

William Wordsworth described the Lake District as ‘the loveliest spot that man hath found’ and residents of Nepgill Park have certainly found their own little slice of nature’s paradise, just a few minutes away from the famous writer’s childhood home. Nepgill Park enjoys a peaceful rural setting in the quiet village of Bridgefoot, a few miles from the beautiful market towns of Cockermouth (William Wordsworth’s birthplace) and Keswick.

The park was originally established by a local man, Leo Smith, back in the 1960’s. Nepgill’s current owners, Kevin and Marcia Morgan, bought the park in 1987 from Kevin’s brother, which worked out to be perfect timing for both. “My brother wanted to sell up and move into the holiday industry,” explains Kevin. “Meanwhile, I was getting tired of flying all over the world in my job as an electronics engineer and wanted to keep my feet on the ground for a while. Nepgill represented the chance to build something for my family where I could, everyday, appreciate what I had achieved and enjoy a different pace of life.” Since taking over Nepgill, Kevin and Marcia haven’t looked back and under their careful ownership, the park is now double the size, with 56 residential plots, seven rental flats and cottages and 81 residents.

ABOVE: Nepgill's owners, Kevin & Marcia Morgan, bought the pakr in 1987.

ABOVE: Nepgill's owners, Kevin & Marcia Morgan, bought the pakr in 1987.

Daughter, Mel Wykes, joined the family business in 2016 to help out in the busy park office. Unusually for a residential park, Nepgill enjoys a diverse population due to the fact that the only age stipulation is that residents need to be over 18. “The park has a great community of working, semi-retired and retired residents,” says Mel. “There is quite a mix of ages with younger people, especially, renting out our flats and cottages. Nepgill is very much focused around its people and  building that community spirit that can be so hard to find these days. Almost everyone here gets involved in life on the park and supports our green projects.” Nestled within a quiet corner of the spectacular Lake District National Park, it’s no surprise that the area’s natural beauty is an integral part of the park’s development. In fact, the Morgans have excelled in creating a park with a focus on providing a peaceful, natural environment for both residents and wildlife to enjoy. Nepgill Park enjoys an abundance of wildlife including deer and red squirrels, with views across fields to the beautiful Lakeland fells. Over the years, many hundreds of metres of hedgerows and trees have been planted and nurtured, and a pond and wildlife area created for residents to enjoy. The pond is currently home to many ducks and ducklings, as well as being a magnet for other birds, aquatic species and amphibians. The local red squirrels are well loved (and fed) by residents, who generously provide many well-stocked nut boxes in their gardens for these regular and much admired little visitors.

 

HONEY BEES
Natural paradise 6Nepgill’s exceptional commitment to the environment was recognised last autumn, when it was named as a 2018-19 winner of the prestigious Gold level David Bellamy Conservation Award. The park received three extra commendations from Professor Bellamy for its work on protecting honey bees, managing hedgerow habitats, and its extensive wild flower plantings. “We were absolutely thrilled to be presented with the David Bellamy Award last year,” says Mel. “It’s recognition of all the hard work that my parents and the residents have put in over the years to make Nepgill such a naturally beautiful and environmentally-friendly place to live. Everyone who visits the park comments on how peaceful it is, tucked away in our own little corner between the mountains and the sea.”

FAMILY VISION
Kevin says that the family’s vision for Nepgill has always been about “quality over quantity.” The residential homes are spread over a nine-acre site but careful landscaping and generous green areas mean that the park feels very spacious and far removed from the grid layout of traditional parks. A mixture of single and twin homes, many from Lissett Homes and Prestige Homeseeker, encircle traditional stone cottages and barn conversions, which are available to let. Nepgill Park also includes Millbanks Court, a newer development of twin homes with sett-stone driveways and adjacent garages. The park is unique in that its 12-month license for residential living has been granted in perpetuity. For the future, the family intends to develop Nepgill ’s environmental projects and is establishing a working ‘beekeeper’ team to manage the park’s own hives. They are also thinking ahead and are keen for residents to embrace the benefits of electric vehicles. Mel is currently exploring the best options for electric charging points. “It’s important to anticipate tomorrow’s needs,” says Mel. “We’re keen to stay ahead and also have plans to expand in some way.” Dad, Kevin concurs: “We don’t want to over-burden Mel for the future but there’s still lots to do here, even after 30 years. Marcia and I haven’t got any plans to retire for a while yet!”

Nepgill Park
Tel. 01900 826582
www.nepgillpark.com

 

Conservation Award For Five Star Park

Conservation Award For Five Star Park

Rufus Bellamy congratulates Morben Isaf Holiday Park managers Ben and Sarah Lewis on achieving a special distinction award from the David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme watched by Salop Leisure’s managing director Dylan Roberts.

A five star caravan holiday park situated next to the Dyfi Osprey Project in Mid Wales has received a special distinction award from the David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme. Morben Isaf Holiday Park at Derwenlas, near Machynlleth has been honoured for its partnership with Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust’s Cors Dyfi nature reserve, where the osprey project is located. The David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme recognises holiday parks that protect and enhance Britain’s natural environment. The park has held a gold award since 2015 and is also “Honey Bee Friendly”. Sarah Lewis, who manages Morben Isaf Holiday Park with her husband, Ben, said they were delighted to win the accolade. The park, which is owned by Salop Leisure, has 92 pitches for holiday homes and 26 for tourers. Since the osprey project was established in 2009, the park has provided support in many ways - mains water supply, accommodation for volunteers who guard the nest, car parking and manpower. The park has also built bridges and pathways to make it easier for holiday home and tourer owners to visit the project. Many of the owners are project volunteers. Rufus Bellamy, who runs the award scheme for his famous botanist father, David, said the assessor had been very impressed by the way the park has collaborated with the wildlife trust to develop the successful osprey project.

Hexham Park Is Haven For Wildlife

Hexham Park Is Haven For Wildlife

CauseyA Northumberland holiday park has received a top environmental accolade from David Bellamy.

The world-famous botanist presented Causey Hill Holiday Park in Hexham with a prestigious David Bellamy Conservation Award at its top gold level. David Bellamy said that the family owned park could congratulate itself on having created an environment which provided a VIP welcome for both wildlife and holiday guests. He praised the park’s planting of hundreds of native trees and shrubs which, along with its private woodland, provide habitats and food resources for many animal and bird species.

Park manager Linda Grant said: “We live and work in a beautiful part of Northumberland, and we are anxious to do all we can to protect the natural environment and wildlife.

“Causey Hill has a special appeal to couples and families and they are very supportive of our efforts to safeguard the surroundings here, and to help preserve this area’s very special character,” Linda added.

Bellamy Praises Community Spirit

Bellamy Praises Community Spirit

Fern

Mother Ivey’s Bay Holiday Park in Padstow, Cornwall, gives away a week’s holiday to a needy family for every hundred bookings the park takes.

Hundreds of holiday and residential parks which reach out to their local communities will be put under the spotlight in this year’s David Bellamy Conservation Awards.

Scheme organiser Rufus Bellamy says that this year he is keen to celebrate parks acting as ‘good neighbours’. He reports that a whole raft of initiatives are now making a very real difference to many peoples’ lives around the country.

“The David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme does, of course, put a major emphasis on how parks work to protect their natural environment,” said Rufus.

“However, the scheme also highlights those which engage with their local community because this, in our view, demonstrates that the park is taking a holistic view of its business.

“This year, our assessors have uncovered many fantastic new initiatives which we’ll be using to underline just how many ways there are for parks to reach out,” said Rufus.

The names of the 500-plus parks expected to receive David Bellamy Conservation Awards this year at gold, silver and bronze levels will be announced this month.

Family Values at Dornafield Caravan Park

The environment is a top priority for the park and it has earned a David Bellamy Conservation award at gold level since 2000.

Above: The environment is a top priority for the park and it has earned a David Bellamy Conservation award at gold level since 2000.

Family Values at Dornafield Caravan Park

Traditional family values have proven to be a winning formula for Dornafield Caravan Park in Devon.

Park owner Peter Dewhirst, who with his wife Tina, first started welcoming visitors to the former farm over 30 years ago.

Today Peter, aged 83, is helped in the day-to-day running of the business by his son Simon and daughter-in-law Linda. Situated on the doorstep of the English Riviera and Dartmoor, the multi award-winning Dornafield Caravan Park attracts thousands of visitors each year.

“Our close knit team of nine staff work tirelessly throughout the season to produce a charming and desirable holiday experience for our loyal customers,” comments Peter. “We value all of our visitors and pride ourselves on our friendly and helpful manner. This is one of the many reasons why we believe visitors come back year after year.”

Having held the prestigious AA 5-Pennant rating for 24 years and the current 5 Gold Pennant rating since its introduction three years ago, Dornafield is well-known for its pristinely landscaped grounds and first-class facilities. The focal point of the site is 13th century Devon long House which dates from 1238, just after Magna Carta and is Grade II listed. The farmyard is the park’s central hub and is the setting for barbecues and Morris dancing throughout the summer season and the surrounding farm buildings have been turned into a shop, games room and tourist information point.

The Dornafield team has supported Breast Cancer Campaign’s ‘Wear It Pink’ day for the last seven years, which has raised over £1,500.

Above: The Dornafield team has supported Breast Cancer Campaign’s ‘Wear It Pink’ day for the last seven years, which has raised over £1,500.

The 30 acre park is divided into three separate areas; the Orchard, the Buttermeadow and Blackrock Copse. The Orchard comprises of 16 grass tent pitches and is ideal for families with young children as it is enclosed by old walls and hedges. The Buttermeadow has been specially landscaped to provide spacious, level pitches which are all served by luxury toilet and shower facilities. Meanwhile Blackrock Copse is designed to offer the ultimate caravanning experience with 60 deluxe pitches complemented by the climate-controlled facilities building with heated flooring.

“We drew on our 18 years’ experience with Buttermeadow when we created Blackrock Copse and the unashamedly up-market development continues to be a talking point for many of our guests,” says Peter. “We are proud to have been Caravan Club affiliated for 23 years, so all Club members can be assured that the high standards they expect from Club Sites are more than met at Dornafield.”

The environment is also a top priority for the park and it has earned a David Bellamy Conservation award at gold level since 2000.

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New Park Guests Create a Buzz

New Park Guests Create a Buzz

Bees

Drovers Way Holiday Caravan Park took delivery of two hives for up to 100,000 honey bees this summer.

The family owners of a Tees Valley holiday park are welcoming thousands of extra guests this year – each of which will be accommodated and fed for free.

Drovers Way Holiday Caravan Park near Stockton-on-Tees is now a safe haven for honey bees which have been dropping dramatically in number over recent years. Park owners Chris and Helen Brown took delivery in April of two hives which will become the homes for up to 100,000 honey bees this summer.

Their thriving future at Drovers Way is almost a certainty thanks to the large number of high nectar-bearing blooms on the ten acres of grounds.

The park’s initiative follows news that it has been named as a 2015 winner of the prestigious David Bellamy Conservation Award for protecting the natural world.

Natural World

It is Forest Park’s commitment to its surroundings, the beautiful scenery and natural attraction of North Norfolk that brings families back to the park each year.

It is Forest Park’s commitment to its surroundings, the beautiful scenery and natural attraction of North Norfolk that brings families back to the park each year.

Natural World

Situated on the North Norfolk coastline and nestled amongst 100 acres of woodland, it is Forest Park’s unique mix of coastline and forest, along with its commitment to nature that has made the park a firm favourite among holidaymakers for generations.

Since 1967, owners Simon and Deborah Gurney have run holiday park that it is today. Among its accolades, Forest Park has been awarded a David Bellamy gold conservation award each year since 2001 for helping wildlife to flourish and reducing energy consumption.

"Our location is probably what makes us stand out the most,” comments park owner Deborah Gurney. “We are very proud to be able to offer beautiful scenery which includes sea views and sheltered woodland. Having lived in Norfolk for the majority of our lives we appreciate how precious the unique woodland and coastline is too. The scenery is what makes Norfolk so special so we have an unwavering commitment to nature and conservation too.”

Visitors to the park will spot a range of environmentally friendly initiatives that have been employed around the site, including bird and butterfly boxes, as well as the management of dead trees and forest areas to encourage natural habitats to thrive. The park also uses low energy light bulbs, runs electric buggies, monitors water usage and encourages recycling. It also supports the community where possible by buying from local suppliers and backing local events and sporting clubs.

Today, the park accommodates 250 tourers, motorhomes and campers, complemented by two cottages, a wilderness campsite and over 400 wooden lodges and holiday homes. Open for ten months of the year from March to January, Forest Park welcomes over 20,000 guests each year.

“We welcome a whole host of clientele from couples and young families to group bookings, the three generation holiday and the retired. We are also proud to be a dog-friendly resort to ensure that the whole family can enjoy a break together,” says Deborah.

Forest Park
Tel. +44 (0)1263 513290
www.forest-park.co.uk

Lakeland Parks Chief Is New Association Chairman

lakeland

Henry Wild has become national chairman of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association (BH&HPA).

Lakeland Parks Chief Is New Association Chairman

The association representing Britain’s £4 billion holiday parks industry is now being headed-up by Lake District leisure business developer Henry Wild.

Henry has become national chairman of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association (BH&HPA) which brings together the owners and managers of some 3,000 parks.They range from small farm-based camping sites to major park groups, as well as residential parks.

Henry, 44, is a director of his family’s long-established holiday parks business comprising Skelwith Fold Caravan Park in Ambleside and Moss Wood Caravan Park in north Lancashire. Both parks provide privately owned caravan holiday homes as well as touring pitches – and were among the first to gain the David Bellamy Conservation Award on its inception two decades ago.

Nature’s Best

nature

Now in its 18th year, the David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme is one of the longest running green tourism awards in the UK. Pic: Waveney River Centre.

Nature's Best

The green achievements of some of the UK’s most environmentally conscious holiday parks have been celebrated in the latest round of the David Bellamy Conservation Awards.

More than 500 parks were named as winners of the 2014/15 accolade, presented annually at gold, silver and bronze levels. Now in its eighteenth year, the award scheme was started by the world’s best-known botanist to highlight exceptional efforts by parks to protect the natural world.

This year’s long list of achievements varies from the winter-feeding of red deer to the creation of butterfly gardens and nature trails to the building of wildlife ponds and bird-hides. But single projects by themselves will not earn a park an award, says Rufus Bellamy who helps his father administrate the awards.

To stand a chance of qualifying, the park must submit all aspects of its operation to the scrutiny of an independent assessor trained in the running of the scheme.

“Their brief is extremely broad, and covers not just the more obvious initiatives such as creating wildlife habitats and the erection of bird boxes, valuable though these are,” says Rufus. “The assessors take a holistic view of the park’s conservation policies, and judge how far this is succeeding in making it a sustainable and environmentally friendly business.”

Rufus continues: “David Bellamy also attaches great importance to the ways in which parks help children engage with nature through activities such as badger-watches, wild food safaris, or building willow sculptures.

“These awards encourage parks to keep pushing the boundaries of what can be accomplished, and to adopt even bolder and more imaginative measures which make a real difference.”

Among this year’s winners was husband and wife team Trevor and Grace Barber of Silver Trees Holiday Park in Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, who were delighted to be awarded a top level accolade for the sustainable management of their park for the sixth year running.

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