TRIPLE TRIUMPH FOR OLD OAKS

TRIPLE TRIUMPH FOR OLD OAKS

Glastonbury’s Old Oaks Touring and Glamping Park has scored hat-trick of awards in a national poll carried out by the UK’s two top touring magazines. The readers of Practical Caravan and has scored a hat-trick of awards in a national poll carried out by the UK’s two top touring magazines.

The readers of Practical Caravan and Practical Motorhome voted Old Oaks as their favourite park on which to stay in Somerset, Avon and Wiltshire Dorset. In the same annual poll, readers also named Old Oaks as Britain’s best park for enjoying adults-only stays which are free from the patter of tiny feet.

Completing the hat trick of honours, the publication presented the park with its national award for the Best Green Site in the UK for eco-friendly holidays. Old Oaks has been in the same family’s ownership for over 30 years, and is managed by family members Tara White and her husband James. As well as touring pitches, the park provides a range of exciting glamping options including luxurious fully-equipped mini cedar lodges, shepherds huts and cosy camping cabins.

Fowler Group Swoops For Welsh Acquisition

Fowler Group Swoops For Welsh Acquisition

John Fowler Holidays has announced its acquisition of Llanrhidian Holiday Park, one of Wales’ largest parks. The move will make the North Devon based holiday park group one of the principal privately-owned holiday park groups in the country. A family business, started in 1953, John Fowler Holidays has expanded to operate 12 holiday parks throughout Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Wales. It employs almost 1000 people across the region. Every year more than 300,000 visitors stay at their parks.

Llanrhidian Holiday Park, on the Gower Peninsula, an area of outstanding natural beauty, was previously owned by the Richards family for more than 27 years. John Fowler Holidays managing director Martyn Fowler said: “We are delighted to have been able to add Llanrhidian to our business, it forms an important part of our planned expansion. It has been a pleasure to work with a family with a similar ethos to ours during this process and we are looking forward to continuing their excellent work as we take the park forward.” Ollie Fowler head of development for the group, added: “We intend to add further parks in exceptional locations in the future but it will be hard to beat the beauty of the Gower Peninsular.”

Eighth Destination

Eighth Destination

Eighth DesinationThe Hoburne Group has acquired a new holiday park on the edge of Bodmin in Cornwall, which will boast a new range of bespoke luxurious Hideaway lodges. Established in 1912, Hoburne is an expert in providing UK holiday breaks and holiday home ownership already owning seven holiday parks across the most picturesque counties in Great Britain, Hampshire, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and the Cotswolds. Hoburne acquired the new 17-acre site in the village of St Mabyn for its eighth park. With a primary focus on holiday home ownership, the new development at Hoburne St Mabyn will house ‘Hideaway’ lodges and aims to create an idyllic lodge escape for owners and holiday makers, enabling them to relax and unwind in an environment which offers a tranquil quiet space without the busier traditional park facilities and can be used as a base from which to explore the local area. The first phase of the new Hideaway lodges development includes 25 plots, 17 of which are available for ownership and eight for holidays, as well as a lodge reception for two full-time park management personnel.

 

Quality Benchmark

Quality Benchmark

The number of homes at Birch’s Parks ranges from 20 plots to over a hundred.

The number of homes at Birch’s Parks ranges from 20 plots to over a hundred.

Jane Herbert meets the team behind Birch’s Park Homes…

When Charles Birch Sr saw the opportunity to expand his caravan sales business into the park homes market in the early 1970s, he would not have foreseen that this was the start of the Birch’s brand we know today.

Now, synonymous with the highest quality homes in some the most desirable locations in England, Birch’s Park Homes are one of the UK’s leading operators in luxury residential developments.

As Chairman of Birch’s Park Homes, Charles Birch Sr has long since handed over the day-to-day operation of the Cambridgeshire-based business to his sons Charles and James Birch. With a growing portfolio of ten parks across Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Hampshire, Somerset, and soon Essex, Birch’s Park Homes are renowned as a luxury operator but as a family-run business, like to keep their feet on the ground. “Our business has grown so much over the years and we are constantly expanding and looking for new opportunities,” explains Managing Director Charles Birch. “It’s not just about growth though. We like to be the best we can be. Attention to detail at every level is an important part of the Birch’s brand. We are continuously working with new products, new landscaping and new ideas to push forward our business and make our next park better than the last.”

CLASS LEADERS

The number of homes in Birch’s parks varies considerably from under 20 select plots to over a hundred in their largest parks, but the emphasis is very much on quality over quantity, regardless of size. Class-leading homes (often designed in partnership with Birch’s themselves) placed amidst careful landscaping to maximise residents’ privacy and security are key to each overall park design.

Bluebell Woods on the outskirts of the beautiful city of Cambridge is typical of a Birch’s development. Opened in 2007, this small, gated estate offers just 16 high-specification homes in a pretty, woodland setting. All Birch’s parks are aimed at retired and semi-retired people with residents generally required to be aged 45+.

Key to the success of many of Birch’s ‘boutique-style’ developments is their stunning locations. Sandbanks, in Clevedon, Bristol, is an exclusive development of just 23 contemporary homes on a private, gated estate. Opened in 2009, the park has been expertly designed to make the most of the spectacular seaside setting, ensuring that every home benefits from magnificent views over the Bristol Channel to the mountains of Wales. Additionally, each home boasts a stylish glass balcony from which to enjoy the incredible views. Indian stone paths wind around the landscaped terraces and lead to private access to the bay below and a lovely coastal walk to the Victorian seaside town of Clevedon, just 13 miles from Bristol.

New to the Birch’s portfolio is another brand new waterside development. The Estuary will be launched in March 2017 and will offer the highest standard of park homes, each offering unrivalled marina views over Hamble, one of England’s finest spots for sailing and watersports. According to Charles, interest in the limited number of homes available is already “at fever pitch.” With prices starting from around £300,000, The Estuary will offer truly luxurious park home living.

View of the patio of one of the homes at The Tides development in Somerset.

View of the patio of one of the homes at The Tides development in Somerset.

PUSHING BOUNDARIES

Pushing the boundaries of the park homes business and its reputation is central to Birch’s vision. “In the past, park home living has sometimes suffered from a poor reputation due to a handful of unscrupulous operators,” says Charles Birch. “Thankfully, the tides are changing. We like to think that our unique brand of parks, our partnerships with quality manufacturers and our emphasis on exclusivity is all helping to change the perception of park living. At Birch’s, we genuinely believe the potential for the park homes sector is limitless and we want to keep Birch’s at the forefront.” Charles says Birch’s aim is to grow their park portfolio so they have a “park in every county in England.” Acquisition is a key part of their future expansion plans. “We’re actively looking to acquire new parks at the moment. Residential parks, caravan or camping sites… We’re keen to get any parks with additional development opportunities on the Birch’s radar,” says Charles. Having outgrown their existing HQ in Waterbeach, Cambridge, Birch’s are also in the process of constructing new offices and looking to expand their team of staff from 20 to considerably more. A new website is currently in development and Charles, James and the team are working on a number of exclusive projects that will ensure Birch’s profile in the park homes business and property world only continues to rise.

Making A Splash – Holiday Park Pool of the Year

Making A Splash - Holiday Park Pool of the Year

splash

Eight parks have been shortlisted for the Holiday Park Pool of the Year Award in the 2015 UK Pool & Spa Awards. Pic: Hoburne Holidays

Holiday parks across the UK have been singled out for their outstanding swimming pool facilities in the prestigious UK Pool & Spa Awards. Piran Meadows Resort and Hendra Holiday Park in Newquay, Ladram Bay Holiday Park in Devon, Hoburne Bashley in Hampshire and Holiday Resort Unity in Somerset, have all been named as finalists in the Holiday Park Pool of the Year category. They are joined by Craig Tara Holiday Park in Scotland and Bluestone National Park Resort and Talacre Beach Holiday Park in Wales. Sponsored by Heatsavr liquid pool cover from Brenntag, the Holiday Park Pool of the Year award is a new addition to the UK Pool & Spa Awards this year, which celebrate the achievements of the entire water leisure industry. The shortlisted parks will be awarded a gold, silver or bronze grading at the presentation evening on Monday November 23. The not-to-be missed event will be hosted at the brand new Vox Conference centre within Resorts World on the Birmingham NEC site. The event was a complete sell-out last year and is set to be even greater this year with a higher capacity venue and more opportunities to network with a host of pool and spa professionals.

For more information or to buy tickets visit www. ukpoolandspaawards.co.uk

Bluestone National Park Resort

BluestoneThe Blue Lagoon water park at Bluestone National Park Resort in Pembrokeshire is an all-weather, all-year destination for guests as well as day visitors. The aquatic park features a wave pool, flumes, lazy river, beach area and a spa pool with hydro jets. Opened in 2008, the Blue Lagoon caters for around 282,000 guests each year. The pool building is in the shape of a Welsh coracle and includes some the latest eco-friendly features. The pool is heated by an on-site biomass energy centre, which is thought to be the largest system of its kind in Wales. Two 26-ton, 800 kW boilers heat water through the burning of woodchip, and energy crops grown by local farmers. The process is considered carbon neutral because the carbon dioxide emitted is balanced by that which the crops absorbed during growth. Bluestone National Park Resort continuously invests in the Blue Lagoon water park. In the past 18 months the water park has seen a number of new areas incorporated into it, including a pirate’s ship, surf shack and other aspects including an area dedicated for the very young and toddlers.

Bluestone National Park Resort Tel. 01834 869900 www.bluestonewales.com

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Craig Tara Holiday Park

CraigBilled as the most successful pool in the history of Haven, the multi-level pool complex at Craig Tara Holiday Park was refurbished earlier this year. The refurbishment has allowed for an increase in activities the pool can offer and provides a better overall swimming experience. The refurbishment involved new floor finishes and mosaic tiling, as well as the addition of a new racing speed slide and lazy river ride. Other highlights of the pool complex include the water shooters and tipping bucket water tower, the interactive play channels and waterfall within the tiny tots pool, plus flumes, slides and viewing platforms. But most importantly Flip and Flop, and their penguin friends and family are having an amazing time around the pools, including parachuting from the sky! The pool has an annual bather load of approximately 210,000 and is open for swimming, kayaking, aqua gliders, aqua jets, pool parties, swimming lessons, turbo paddlers and water walkers.

Craig Tara Holiday Park Tel. 01292 265141 www.haven.com

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Hendra Holiday Park

HendraWith an annual bather load of 70,000 per year, the swimming pool facilities at Hendra Holiday Park are open to both residents and nonresidents and cater for school groups and clubs. Facilities include indoor and outdoor pools, flumes, slides, fountains and waterfalls. Energy efficiency upgrades in 2014 included a UV water treatment system, PAC treatment, new pool water heating scheme incorporating biomass supply, district heating scheme and thermal buffer tanks to minimise heat loss. Bespoke control systems enhance the effectiveness of new systems and precisely manage pool water temperatures. The pools are managed by a team of 30 staff, headed up by pool manager Petra Van Splunter. Petra stepped up to the role three years ago and has control over the facility, both technically and operationally. Dedicated to in-depth and thorough training of her staff, Petra ensures that the facility is kept immaculate and takes pride in delivering exceptional care to guests.

Hendra Holiday Park Tel. 01637 875778 www.hendra-holidays.com

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Hoburne Bashley

HoburneThere is something for everyone at the pool at Hoburne Bashley Holiday Park in Hampshire; more space for those who want to swim and plenty of room for play. Originally opened in 1987, the bather load at any one time is 80 and the pool welcomes approximately 200,000 visitors annually. The indoor pool was completely refurbished last year at a cost of £1.4 million. It was made larger at one end to give more room for swimming and an interactive wet play area for younger children was added at the side of the pool. A new, modern changing area was included, plus a gym overlooking the pool and a lift to enable easy access to and from the changing area, pool and gym. There are four permanent members of the water leisure team and 20 seasonal workers during peak season and eight out of season. They are supported by a dedicated pool manager, activities coordinator and two swimming teachers.

Hoburne Bashley Tel. 0844 288 2050 www.hoburne.com

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Holiday Resort Unity & Brean Leisure Park

BreanThe on-site pool is one of the main reasons that guests re-book Holiday Resort Unity and Brean Leisure Park for their family getaways year after year. The pool not only serves the guests, but also the local community. It provides splash play areas to entertain all age groups, as well as an impressive 25m pool, which is also home to local swim clubs and used by local schools. The park is dedicated to reinvesting in the facilities and has recently added a new indoor soft play area to the complex, with a Starbucks cafe and a pool shop. The annual bather load is 127,390 and the pool is open all year round for the local community, as well as park guests, which increases the amount of bathers year on year. Pool manager Jeff Smith ensures the smooth running of Brean Splash Leisure Centre and organises the workloads of all staff and assignments for lifeguards. He also oversees the daily maintenance of the pool, including making recommendations for repairs and capital improvement expenditures.

Holiday Resort Unity & Brean Leisure Park Tel. 01278 751235 www.hru.co.uk

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Ladram Bay Holiday Park

LadramRefurbished in two stages the new pool at Ladram Bay Holiday Park in Devon has been a huge success since its completion, offering holiday makers and the general public a wider selection of facilities, the new pool is state-of-the-art. As well as the indoor heated pool the complex offers a sauna, steam room, whirlpool, gym and cafe - and all of this can be found right on the edge of the world famous Jurassic coast. The new pool has something to offer everyone; opening at 8am for an ‘Over 55’ swim guests can use the pool in a relaxed environment. With the addition of the interactive play area designed and installed by Hippo Leisure and Cresta Leisure, there’s plenty to keep the children entertained and the sauna and steam offer the perfect sense of relaxation. Swimming pool manager Lee Chapman heads up a team of 16 staff, who work together to maintain these facilities and offer a five star service to both the holiday makers and general public.

Ladram Bay Holiday Park Tel. 01395 568398 www.ladrambay.co.uk

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Piran Meadows Resort & Spa

PiranWith an annual bather load of up to 25,000 users each year, the swimming pool at Piran Meadows Resort & Spa in Newquay is used for a variety of activities, including general swimming, swimming lessons, lifeguard training, fitness classes, Water Walkerz, snorkelling, sea scooters and raft building sessions. The pool itself is deck level, and it remains at a very comfortable 30°c. The fitness classes, swim lessons and activities are available for both holiday makers and public, and the pool regularly hosts activity days for local groups such as schools and scouts from the local area. The pool also has a small splash area 0.45 m deep, with water jets, which is designed for younger children. Eleven staff members are involved in the day-to-day running of the pool, including leisure manager Jack Thompson, Go Active supervisor Vicky Bennett and Ashley Thomas who recently completed his PPO course and assists with the running and maintenance of the pool.

Piran Meadows Resort & Spa Tel. 01745 858010 www.darwinescapes.co.uk

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Talacre Beach Holiday Home Park

TalacreThe swimming pool at Talacre Beach Holiday Home Park in Flintshire was originally built in 1989 and has a bather load of 30,000 to 35,000 users each year. Based on a tropical theme, the indoor pool evolved from what was originally an outdoor pool. In keeping with the theme, a number of tropical plants surround the pool and the white resin floor is designed to look like sand. The pool underwent a number of upgrades last year, which focused on improving the energy efficiency of the pool. A new fully insulated roof was installed, as well as energy efficient lighting and new air ducting, which moves the air around more efficiently. The pool is managed by a 12-strong team, including the leisure manager Karen Frost and swimming instructor Anna Lee.

Talacre Beach Holiday Park Tel. 01745 858000 www.darwinescapes.co.uk

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Winners will be announced on Monday 23rd November at the UK Pool & Spa Awards Presentation Evening.

If you would like to get involved in next years awards please get in touch with the team today.