MP marks Tourism Week on family’s Ambleside park

Tim Farron MP (left) joined Henry Wild on his family’s Cumbria holiday park to mark English Tourism Week

MP TIM FARRON helped celebrate English Tourism Week this March when he visited family-run Skelwith Fold caravan park near the shores of Windermere.

The annual event, which ran until 27 March, shines a spotlight on England’s tourism industry, and the huge contribution it makes to the UK economy.

Mr Farron, who represents Westmorland and Lonsdale, attended the Ambleside park at the invitation of the Wild family which has owned Skelwith Fold for nearly 25 years.

During that time, the Wilds have restored the 130-acre grounds of a Victorian country house to their former glory, and created one of the Lake District’s most celebrated holiday destinations.

Henry Wild took the MP on a tour of the park during which they discussed a variety of challenges which the Lake District’s tourism industry faces.

They included the relatively small number of electric vehicle charging points in Cumbria, and the fears of “range anxiety” which may deter some visitors from coming.

Safari tents are one of the popular staying options at Skelwith Fold this year

Mr Wild said that Skelwith Fold had last year installed new EV charging points, but that in parts of the county it was the limited electrical supply capacity which was the main hurdle.

Also on the agenda was second home ownership, and the pushing up of house prices by buyers from outside Cumbria, limiting the number of smaller properties available to local purchasers.

Buying a holiday caravan on a park, said Mr Wild, side-stepped this problem, and didn’t create “ghost villages” where many properties remained unoccupied for large parts of the year.

Mr Farron was also shown recent new developments on the park, including a new office complex which can generate all of its own electricity – and still have some to spare.

The 3,000 square foot building has been designed for total self-sufficiency with a bank of high-efficiency solar panels on the roof to produce the green energy.

Mr Wild said that although holiday bookings this Easter were slower than expected, the events of the past two years had reinforced the appeal of being out in the natural world:

“The pandemic and accompanying lockdowns served as a real reminder to everyone of the huge benefits to mental and physical health of being out in nature,” he said.

“Throughout the crisis Tim Farron has been a stoic supporter of Cumbria’s tourism industry, and clearly understands well its importance to the region’s visitor economy.

“We are very grateful for all the help he has given to us and other small businesses , and are delighted that was able to take time out to help raise the profile of English Tourism Week,” said Henry.

Skelwith Fold has around 450 pitches for touring caravans and motorhomes, glamping accommodation such as luxury safari tents, and privately owned holiday caravans.