Cumbria park swaps fireworks for a natural dazzle

Henry Wild (above) admits that nature has the upper hand this year when it comes to colourful displays

Henry Wild (above) admits that nature has the upper hand this year when it comes to colourful displays

An Ambleside holiday park swapped pyrotechnics for pumpkins this year after admitting it simply couldn’t compete with nature’s own fireworks display.

Skelwith Fold caravan park owner Henry Wild said that staff and holiday guests voted in favour of a Halloween celebration to replace its tradition bonfire party.

One of the reasons given was that no amount of rockets, roman candles and catherine wheels could match this autumn’s kaleidoscope of colours on the park.

Instead, holidaymakers thrilled to an evening of eerie entertainment which included a freaky forest walk through woodland in Skelwith Fold’s 130-acre grounds.

Adding to the atmosphere were ghosts, ghouls and ghastly glowing lights created from entries to the park’s earlier pumpkin carving challenge.

Grown-ups and youngsters also took part in a frightful fancy-dress competition, danced to live music from local bands, and joined in a gaggle of ghastly games.

“We’ve staged firework parties for over a decade at Skelwith Fold, and many guests would make special journeys to see the displays,” said Henry.

“This year, the fantastic autumn colours were already drawing scores of extra visitors – so we asked everyone, including the staff team, if they would prefer a change this year.

“The general view was that nature’s display couldn’t be bettered, and that a fun Halloween would raise the spirits just as much as rockets.

“Everyone had a fantastic time, and we’ll take a vote again next year as to whether it should be fireworks or forests!” added Henry.

Meanwhile, with the grounds now closed until next March, Skelwith Fold is starting to roll out its winter feeding programme for the park’s abundant wildlife.

Roe deer and red squirrels are among the extra mouths to feed as animals come down from the surrounding high ground to find shelter and food.

“The park already plays host to a large range of resident wildlife, so the swollen numbers obviously place pressure on the limited natural food supplies,” said Henry.

“When these extra guests arrive, we set up a series of feeding stations around the grounds with a mix of foods for different wildlife diets.

“If Cumbria’s feast of autumn colours is going to be followed by a famine for wildlife, we are determined not to be caught out, and are laying up extra supplies now,” added Henry.

There is more information about the park at www.skelwith.com

Cumbria's autumn, said to be the finest for years, has attracted high numbers of visitors

Cumbria’s autumn, said to be the finest for many years, has attracted high numbers of visitors

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