Skelwith Fold Caravan Park trumped more than 100 eligible parks in the county to take the overall gold accolade in the holiday parks category of the competition. And now park director Henry Wild says he will use the award to shine the national spotlight on Cumbria’s “amazing and diverse” parks industry.
Stepping up to receive the Cumbria Tourism honour at the glittering awards ceremony at Cartmel Racecourse was Henry and members of the park team.
The park is set in the 130-acre grounds of a former country house It was a proud moment too for Henry’s father Syd who has been involved in the parks industry for more than 40 years, and who with Henry acquired Skelwith Fold two decades ago.
They immediately set about transforming the park and its neglected 130-acre grounds, creating an idyllic retreat with 450 pitches for holiday home owners and touring guests. Their reward has been to see a continuing increase in customer numbers, glowing reviews, and a succession of regional and national accolades for Skelwith Fold’s achievements. These include the David Bellamy Conservation Award at its top gold level, an honour given to tourism businesses making outstanding efforts to protect the natural environment.
Earlier this summer, Skelwith Fold was also named as Britain’s ethical business of the year in the Federation of Small Businesses and Worldpay UK Business Awards 2017. Henry said that the Holiday Park of the Year award has a special significance as it also pays tribute to the park’s hard-working staff:
“An important component of these awards is the hospitality and quality of service provided to guests. Our team at Skelwith must take a major share of the credit for providing this. They are always prepared to go the extra mile to make holidaymakers feel welcome and at home. They genuinely want to help them get the most out of their stay.”
The Lake District holiday homes at Skelwith Fold have picture-postcard locations. “We knew we were up against some extremely tough competition in these awards from other excellent Lakeland parks, so everyone is naturally delighted with the result. Now we intend to use this award to highlight Cumbria generally as a wonderful place to enjoy a fresh-air holiday on one of its many first-class parks,” added Henry.
Also shortlisted for the 2017 Cumbria Tourism awards were Waterfoot Park in Pooley Bridge, Silverdale Holiday Park near Arnside, and The Quiet Site near Penrith. The Quiet Site was also named as the sustainable business of the year at the awards ceremony which was attended by hundreds of tourism professionals from across the county.
A long-time champion of the parks industry, Henry Wild stepped down earlier this year from his two-year term as national chairman of its official body, the British Holiday and Home Parks Association.