A Lake District caravan park plans to reopen next year as a holiday destination which squares up to the challenges of a new post-COVID world.
Work will start over the winter at Skelwith Fold, a family-owned park in Ambleside, to address a variety of modern-day issues.
The aim, says director Henry Wild, is to give guests the best possible holiday experience while reimagining traditional ways of doing things.
On the drawing board are projects ranging from a new eco-friendly building development to a forest trail designed to get youngsters active in the fresh air.
“The old order has now changed forever, and holiday providers are no exception to the need for re-examining how we go about our business,” said Henry.
“For example, we are building a three-storey extension to our reception and offices which will ensure that park staff have a more spacious area in which to work.
“The experiences of the past year tell us that creating extra distance between people creates positive health benefits, even if it’s only coughs and sneezes we’re guarding against.
“The building also recognises the importance of clean energy, which is why we are installing high-efficiency solar panels and an air source heat pump to reduce our carbon footprint.
“Last year we invested £150,000 to create a children’s play zone at Skelwith Fold, and the focus on high-octane activities has been a fantastic success.
“Over winter we now intent to enlarge this feature, and create a forest trail with a series of physical challenges to bring out the inner Bear Grylls of our younger guests.
“It will be great fun, but once again draws on lessons learned that being outdoors in the fresh air and staying active is one of the best tonics for physical and mental wellbeing,” he said.
Henry thinks that the likely strong demand for staycation holidays – of which there was much evidence this year – suggests that parks should also appeal to an even broader customer base.
He added: “Traditionally we have been best known for providing holiday homes to own, but our recent diversification into glamping shows there is a tremendous appetite for these type of stays.
“That’s why we are also planning to expand our number of safari tents and other types of lets, and also to create extra super-pitches for motorhome visitors who also rose in numbers this year.
“It means that in 2021 we will be able to provide even more options for people staying in this country, covering an even wider range of holiday styles and budgets.
“The new dynamics of leisure are tremendously exciting, and I think that parks such as ours have a fantastic role to play if we are prepared to embrace change,” said Henry.
Skelwith Fold provides around 450 pitches set within 130 acres of Lake District woodland, and has won a number of awards for its environmental care.
Skelwith Fold aims to reopen in March.