Bird-loving NE park swoops on top green award

Ringing true: British Trust for Ornithology volunteer James Grant is ringing birds at Drovers Way – such as this kestrel – in order to get a clearer picture of the species diversity which thrives on the park.

Ringing true: British Trust for Ornithology volunteer James Grant is ringing birds at Drovers Way – such as this kestrel – in order to get a clearer picture of the species diversity which thrives on the park.

An ambitious scheme to monitor its booming bird population has helped a Tees Valley holiday park to wing its way to a major environmental award.

Drovers Way Holiday Caravan Park in Elton, Stockton-on-Tees, has been named as a winner of the prestigious David Bellamy Conservation Award at its top gold level.

The family-owned business, said Professor Bellamy, has shown itself to be a true friend of the countryside through its raft of different activities to help wildlife.

He praised especially a new initiative by the park this year to gather information on the many different bird species which thrive at Drovers Way.

Working with the local branch of the British Trust for Ornithology, more than 700 birds have been ringed so that their numbers, health and location can be tracked.

This kingfisher is also among the birds being audited

This kingfisher is also among the birds being audited at the park

Using drift nets, the ringing team were able to round up “a remarkable variety” of common and less familiar species including redwings, march tits, goldcrests, willow warblers and tree creepers.

Park owners Chris and Helen Brown have achieved the gold David Bellamy Conservation Award every year since they first opened Drovers Way in 2010.

Many types of resident and migratory birds, said Helen, are drawn to the park’s large number of nesting habitats in its woodland areas and ancient hedges, as well its two fishing lakes.

This year, David Bellamy also designated Drovers Way as an official “Honey Bee Friendly” park as part of his new initiative to help protect the threatened insects.

The park maintains two hives housing up to 100,000 honey bees which, together with many different butterfly species, forage on the abundance of wild flowers at Drovers Way.

Other wildlife guests at the park range from deer and badgers to kingfishers and dragonflies.

Based on a farm which has been in Chris Brown’s family since 1952,  the park has consent for around 70 luxury holiday homes for private owners.

“Our agricultural background means we are always conscious of what impact our business decisions have on the countryside and its inhabitants,” said Helen.

“That’s why it’s fantastically encouraging to know that someone like David Bellamy is giving us his full support to all our conservation efforts.

“Drovers Way has a special appeal for people who lead busy lives, and who enjoy taking breaks in these tranquil and natural surroundings.

“Their spending benefits many local small local businesses – so I hope the publicity from these awards will help boost other tourism providers in the area,” she said.

Helen added that she and Chris valued greatly the friendly and professional support they received throughout the year from the British Trust for Ornithology.

More information about Drovers Way and its facilities is available at www.droversway.com

Share