Nature conservation in our parks
Did you know that touring parks and campsites are often the unsung heroes of nature conservation? Many Tranquil Parks are quietly working away to provide a natural environment in which our native plants, birds, reptiles and mammals can survive and thrive.
You don’t have to be a serious nature lover, birdwatcher or conservationist to be aware that many of our native species are in decline. So we’ve put together a brief roundup to show how Tranquil Parks are creating wildlife habitats and investing in the future, while providing unique, peaceful and environmentally friendly destinations for your breaks and holidays.
In recognition of the way that holiday parks protect and enhance our natural environment, the British Holiday & Home Parks Association runs the David Bellamy Conservation Awards scheme. Two years ago, the scheme teamed up with the British Bee Keepers Association (BBKA) to recognise bee-friendly parks, and now there is also a Wildflower Parks award. Some Tranquil Parks hold these awards there’s more about this below.
Pictures courtesy of Back of Beyond Touring Park in Dorset unless otherwise stated.
The Old Oaks Touring Camping and Glamping Park, Somerset
Ecology has been kept at the forefront of all recent developments at Old Oaks Touring Camping and Glamping Park. These include a Victorian-style reed bed to filter wastewater from the amenity block in a chemical-free way, whilst also providing an excellent habitat for wildlife.
The award-winning park is also using energy efficient technologies, hedge laying and a ‘borrow a bird feeder’ scheme. Read more about all the Old Oaks’ green initiatives.
Blue Rose Country Park, East Riding of Yorkshire
Keeping the wildlife, native plants, bushes and trees thriving is a priority at Blue Rose Country Park. This park has received the Gold David Bellamy Award for a number of years now, and the management team believes it is one of their best accolades.
Blue Rose is also recognised as a Honey Bee Friendly Park through the planting of native wild flower beds around the park with plants that bloom at different stages throughout the year – from daffodils in early spring to late bloomers such as cornflower, thistle and heather.
Self-watering solar powered plant troughs have been placed around the park and these are very popular with guests. The troughs save water by automatically recycling water and reducing the need for topping up.
A wide variety of bushes and shrubs have been planted around the dog park to create habitats for many different types of wildlife. These plants not only provide a focal point for dog lovers, but also mask its use!
Back of Beyond Touring Park, Dorset
Eighteen acres of woodland, two lakes, a river and a Site of Special Scientific Interest help make Back of Beyond Touring Park a real haven for local wildlife. In fact, the loudest noise you’re likely to hear at this peaceful park are the birds in spring!
Back of Beyond has been awarded the David Bellamy Conservation Award for several years. A local beekeeper keeps several hives on site, so the park also has the bee-friendly award, and you can buy honey from the Back of Beyond bees in the park’s shop.
This autumn, proprietors Victoria and Martin Bowrey have been busy planting more than 2,000 hedge whips around the park. All native species, these plants will grow to give pitches more privacy and provide new wildlife habitats.
York Caravan Park
You’ll find lots of bird boxes placed around York Caravan Park, with kestrels and barn owls among the birds that frequent the nesting boxes.
In 2007, a major planting programme of 4,000 trees and 3,000 hedge plants began. These plantings are now providing great shelter for a wide range of wildlife.
Briarfields Motel and Touring Park
They’re passionate about conservation at Briarfields Motel and Touring Park, where they always plant wildlife friendly hedges. It’s important to plant native species to provide a habitat for native insects on which many birds and small mammals depend.
The favoured species of hedge at Briarfields is Hornbeam. As well as encouraging more wildlife to the park, these hedges offer a more private setting for guests. The hedge bottoms are kept natural to give more cover to small animals and insects, allowing them to thrive.
There are now two beehives, both with ‘extensions’ (known as supers) as they have been doing extremely well. Many more wildflower seeds have been planted along the orchard banks to encourage more pollinators.
Long Acres Touring Park, Lincolnshire
Long Acres Touring Park has been a David Bellamy Gold Award winner for the past five years. Proprietors John and Tracey Plant maintain a diverse range of trees, hedges and bushes to help encourage wildlife.
A wide variety of birds visit the park, including the barn owl, little owl, tawny owl, sparrowhawk, goldcrest, jay, coal tit, great tit, long-tailed tit, chaffinch, greenfinch and yellowhammer, as well as the great spotted woodpecker and green woodpecker.
Many other species also visit, depending on the time of year. With nature reserves and RSPB sites nearby, Long Acres is an ideal location for nature lovers.
Red Kite Touring Park, Mid-Wales
Named after the birds of prey that you can see circling above, Red Kite Touring Park actively supports the RSPB and has set aside much of the park as a refuge for wildlife. There’s a section of the website dedicated to this – see the Wildlife and Birds page.
Guests find it both relaxing and rewarding to listen to the sounds of nature and spot newts in the lake. In fact, the habitat for great crested newts has earned the park a Distinction under the David Bellamy Awards scheme. Other wildlife sightings in and around the park include buzzards, kingfishers, ospreys and waterfowl.
Overbrook Caravan Park, North Yorkshire
The team at Overbrook Caravan Park maintain a large selection of different flowers and shrubs to attract wildlife. These include wild flower beds to attract the bee population.
David Bellamy Awards
To win one of these awards, parks must show that they manage their land as a haven for wildlife, reduce their use of energy and resources, recycle waste and support their local communities. There are three levels of this award, Gold, Silver and Bronze. Read more about the David Bellamy Awards
Tranquil Parks which currently hold the Gold David Bellamy Award include:
- Blue Rose Country Park in Yorkshire
- Long Acres Touring Park in Lincolnshire
- Delph Bank Touring Park in Linconshire
- Briarfields Motel and Touring Park in Gloucestershire
- Waterrow Touring Park
- Wells Touring Park
- Back of Beyond Touring Park in Dorset
- Moor View Park in Devon
- Red Kite Touring Park in mid-Wales