Buzz of excitement as Dorset park’s new guests fly in

Vicky and Martin Bowrey (above) have also made their bee-friendly park a sweet retreat for glamping guests

Vicky and Martin Bowrey (above) have also made their bee-friendly park a sweet retreat for glamping guests

Over a quarter of a million honey bees have helped a New Forest couple’s camping and caravan park to wing its way to a top environmental award.

Back of Beyond touring park near Ringwood has been praised by botanist David Bellamy for its “outstanding efforts” to provide a safe haven for the beleaguered bee.

Business owners Martin and Vicky Bowrey have installed eight hives on their 30-acre park to try and help stem the sharp national decline in bee numbers.

These and other wildlife-friendly initiatives have now earned the couple the prestigious David Bellamy Conservation Award and its top gold level for the third year in succession.

Honey-bee hives are hidden in a quiet corner of the park's woodlands

Honey-bee hives are hidden in a quiet corner of the park’s woodlands

It was just over two years ago that Martin and Vicky sold their successful London photography business and took a gamble on their future in rural Dorset.

The aim, said Martin, was to run an eco-friendly holiday park for nature-loving guests in a part of the country where they, as a family, often went camping.

Since then, Martin and Vicky has invested much time and energy into creating surroundings in which the flora and fauna is made just as welcome as human guests.

Covering 30 acres of quiet countryside, over half of which is woodland, Back of Beyond provides 80 pitches for camping, touring caravans and motorhomes.

The couple now also offer ready-erected bell tents for glamping guests with home comforts such as full-size double beds, a kitchen area, lighting and private exterior decking.

Back of Beyond is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and Martin says that visitors to the “adults only” park are thrilled at the close encounter with nature on offer:

“We’re fortunate to have two wildlife lakes in the grounds, and it’s possible to spot an amazing number of species including otters and red deer,” he said.

“The lakes and the woodlands also attract many different types of birds from woodpeckers to water fowl, and we’ve also erected many bird, owl and bat boxes.

“Back of Beyond has its own bore hole so we don’t rely on mains supplies, and we harvest rain water to help irrigate the many new tree and shrub plantings we make.

“The park is also rich in wild flowers including many high pollen-bearing blooms which bees and butterflies love – and that gave us the idea for the hives.

“Experts say that lack of foraging opportunities and the use of agricultural chemicals are causing bee populations to fall, but we’ve plenty of nectar here and a total ban on herbicides.

“It’s great that we are now able to stock our own honey in the park shop alongside the many other locally produced foods and drinks we carry,” said Martin.

As well as the David Bellamy award, the park has also gained a raft of other accolades including the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for its consistently glowing reviews.

Back of Beyond was also voted into the top 100 of Britain’s 3000-plus parks by the readers of Practical Caravan and Practical Motorhome magazines, and has earned the four-star gold pennant award from the AA.

Recently, Martin was invited to join the board of Tranquil Parks – an independent group of top-rated family-run businesses – of which Back of Beyond is a member.

There is more information about Back of Beyond at www.backofbeyondtouringpark.co.uk

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