Following the announcement last week that the Camping and Caravanning Club have sold the Camping in The Forest (CiTF) business to Forestry England and Forestry and Land Scotland, Forestry England are now looking for new operators to run their sites.

There are 13 sites available in England (on a leasehold basis), and they have been split into four lots. The existing offer at these sites includes a total of over 4,000 pitches and represents a significant opportunity within the camping industry.

The lots are at Sherwood Pines (Nottinghamshire), Bracelands (Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire), Postern Hill (Savernake Forest, Wiltshire) and 10 sites across the New Forest (Hampshire).

These hugely popular and market-leading campsites provide guests with forest immersion and direct access to miles of walking and cycling trails and other outdoor activities. Each site is individual, and they range from those without any facilities, to sites with full amenity blocks, as well as some with cosy glamping pods and pre-erected tents.

The camping and touring market in England has remained resilient over recent decades and is now considered as being in a growth phase linked to the continued strength of the domestic tourism market and the affordability of camping as an accommodation choice. In recent years the standard of the camping and touring offer has had to evolve and innovate to meet the demands of a wider range of customers leading to an increasing sophistication in camping equipment and motorhomes, and the introduction of alternative accommodation types such as glamping.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to a significant boom in camping and touring as UK residents, and increasingly, families, have sought to enjoy experiences closer to home. Forestry England Camping provides an excellent opportunity for operators to benefit from the sustained, elevated interest in camping, especially as camping is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to holiday.

Forestry England are very excited about the potential of working with new operators across these sites. Although the offer at each campsite is established, they are looking for operators that are keen to innovate and expand the offer at these special locations. This could include experiential activity packages linked to nature, wildlife and recreation, and broadening the portfolio of camping accommodation where appropriate.

Working with Forestry England gives operators the unique opportunity to capitalise on the millions of people that come to enjoy the nation’s forests by converting day-visitors to overnight guests.

The campsites will be continue to be operated by the Camping and Caravanning Club in 2022 and there will not be any disruption to the high levels of service and experience for customers during this transition.

Forestry England are inviting expressions of interest from organisations who would like to hear more about the opportunity to operate and evolve one or more of the campsites. More information including how to register your interest can be found here.