Pioneering park family in Dales gains top diamond award
MEMBERS of the family who helped pioneer caravan and camping holidays in North Yorkshire have been given a special “thank you” by their trade association.
Studfold holiday park near Pateley Bridge has received the top diamond level award for its loyalty to the British Holiday & Home Parks Association (BH&HPA).
The association is marking its 70th anniversary this year, and is celebrating its longest-serving members who have helped popularise outdoor holidays in Britain.
Studfold first joined BH&HPA after it started welcoming visitors in 1959, and has therefore now clocked up six decades of active membership.
But the history of the park’s owners goes back much further – because the Walker family has farmed the land on which the park sits for around 400 years.
The 180-acre beef cattle and sheep farm, near the village of Lofthouse, is now being run by 16th generation family member Ian Walker with his sister Anne Challis.
Ian says that the staycation trend of recent years has seen a big surge in the popularity of holidays in touring caravans, motorhomes and tents, as well as holiday home ownership.
“My grandparents Herbert and Gladys decided to diversify into tourism in 1959 when a fisherman asked if he could leave his caravan in the corner of a field,” he said.
“Word spread about the park’s tranquil rural location and friendly atmosphere, and it started to attract a large and loyal following among younger families especially.
“Over the years we’ve gradually introduced new facilities, and it’s fantastic to see the grown-up children of many of our earliest visitors coming back, often with their own families!
“We have always supported our trade association and all the help it gives to smaller businesses like ours, so it’s great to have them saying thanks to use in this way,” added Ian.
Not that Studfold is any stranger to accolades, for it has won both local and regional awards for the quality of its facilities and the care the family takes of the natural environment.
The park is also a past winner of the prestigious Welcome to Yorkshire White Rose Award in the holiday parks category in which its popular adventure and discovery trail was highlighted.
As well as the many activities on offer, such as nature challenges. den building and sit-on tractors, there are regular themed events such as fairy hunts for younger children.
Ian Walker said the everyone was very proud of the BH&HPA award, and he hopes it will help throw the spotlight on North Yorkshire generally as a first-class holiday destination.
There is more information about Studfold on its website at www.studfold.com