Conservation inspiration: hands-on nature

Parkdean goes all out for discovery and adventure

Taking a closer look: a youngster at Ruda Holiday Park discovers natural wonders with the help of a ranger

Ruda Holiday Park in Devon is a David Bellamy Conservation Award winning park that has long been a leader in environmental education, thanks, in part, took things up a notch with the “Outdoor ‘n’ Explore programme.

“This is an expansion of the outdoor activity sessions which we have undertaken for a number of years,” says Rose. “The new programme gives a central focus to develop this interest when they get home from holiday.”

Ruda is just one of four Parkdean Resorts’ holiday parks that have taken part in the first year of Outdoor ‘n’ Explore. The group prepared team training sessions to ensure each park could make the most of their local landscape and wildlife. Capital funding was allocated so that each park could have an Outdoor ‘n’ Explore base camp and these were constructed over the winter of 2017.

By the end of February 2018 the four parks had hired or selected ‘lead explorers’ who went to go.

“Lots of the kids and parents got really involved in the activities, particularly shelter building sessions but also rock pooling and tracking/spotting wildlife,’ says Rose. “The feedback from guests has been overwhelmingly positive. Many who were returning holidaymakers to include Outdoor ‘n’ Explore in several of the start of season team training sessions next year.”

Rose explains that, from a park point of view, one of the key challenges was the little details like talking through all the risk assessments and making sure that we were sensible about the maximum number of bookings per session. From an operational perspective, challenges included recruiting the right people, sourcing the right products and choosing the right area to build a shelter.

For any park interested in a similar scheme, Rose says that the first thing to share this with guests and the whole park team.

Seeking inspiration for new ways in which your park can help protect the natural world? In these articles, Rufus Bellamy, head of the David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme, highlights some of the latest initiatives being taken. For more ideas, visit