Ledbury park creates buzz in green awards

Now 50 years under the same family's ownership, the park's green policies have made it a magnet for wildlife
Now 50 years under the same family’s ownership, the park’s green policies have made it a magnet for wildlife

A Herefordshire family’s holiday park is flying high after honey bees, butterflies and birds helped wing it top environmental accolade from David Bellamy.

The world-famous botanist has presented Woodside Lodges Country Park in Ledbury with his prestigious David Bellamy Conservation Award at its top gold level.

Professor Bellamy said the park’s owners, Ken and Janet Davies and their family, have shown themselves to be true friends of the countryside through their careful eco-management policies.

It’s the thirteenth year in succession that the park has scooped the award – but this year David Bellamy announced a bonus accolade.

He also designated Woodside as an official “Honey Bee Friendly” park as part of his new initiative to help protect the threatened insects.

Ken Davies says guests enjoy the park's natural attractions
Ken Davies says guests enjoy the park’s natural attractions

The family, said David Bellamy, have created a “wildlife wonderland” on the 28-acre park which was originally bought as a smallholding by Ken and Janet 50 years ago.

Today it provides luxury Scandinavian log cabins for hire, plus camping pods and facilities for holidaymakers with their own torhomes and tents.

Professor Bellamy praised the park’s wild flower meadow with high nectar-bearing blooms on which honey bees, butterflies and other pollinators can forage.

Other initiatives include the construction of a series of ponds which are now a magnet for different aquatic wildlife including kingfishers, newts, dragonflies and wetland plants.

One of the lakes has been designated for “wild swimming” by guests, and holidaymakers are also invited to the old-variety apples and damsons in the park’s orchard.

Hundreds of native trees and hedges have been planted, and irrigation is provided by harvested rainfall in order to reduce reliance on mains water.

A converted barn on the park has also been provided with a special roof which will allow the resident bats to flourish and encourage nesting swallows.

According to 87-year-old Ken Davies, who still plays an active role at the park with a small team, including the next generation of the family, Woodside has always followed a “conservation  first” policy”.

“For many years we ran this land as a smallholding, so we are always conscious of what impact our business decisions have on the countryside and its inhabitants,” said Ken.

“That’s why it’s fantastically encouraging to all our conservation efforts.

“Woodside has a special appeal for people who lead busy lives, and who enjoy taking breaks in these tranquil and natural surroundings.

“Their spending benefits many local small local businesses – so I hope the publicity from these awards will help boost other tourism providers in the Ledbury area,” he said.

David Bellamy also applauded the park’s engagement with the local community, including its work with the local Big Apple Festival, and the annual wassail held on the park.

The park’s website is at www.woodsidelodges.co.uk