Rare gold among Dales park’s award hat-trick

Awards just kept flowing this autumn for Riverside Caravan Park, praised for its environmental policies
Awards just kept flowing this autumn for Riverside Caravan Park, praised for its environmental policies

Riverside Caravan Park in High Bentham, North Yorkshire, has joined a small elite of holiday parks judged by to be among England’s very best.

Just 36 out of more than 3000 caravan and camping parks in the UK currently boast the prestigious Gold Award given out by VisitEngland to its highest rated parks, now including Riverside.

The accolade is among three national honours being celebrated by the park this autumn, including awards for the Riverside’s environmental responsibility – and the quality of its washrooms.

VisitEngland says the body’s gold standard can only be achieved if a park demonstrates exceptional quality standards during its annual grading inspection.

Even then, a subsequent “mystery shopper” visit by a VisitEngland quality assessment area manager must be made before the award is officially confirmed.

Riverside’s Gold Award comes on top of the maximum five-star grade it achieved, and business owner Thomas Marshall says that park staff deserve a big share of the credit:

“To achieve gold, a park must out-perform its star rating on the excellence of its facilities and, most importantly, on the quality of the hospitality it provides,” said Thomas.

“Responsibility for this is largely in the hands of our hardworking park team who always go the extra mile to make guests feel welcome and at home.

“It’s their friendliness and commitment to our success in achieving the gold award,” said Thomas whose business employs around 30 staff.

Following the VisitEngland award this autumn, news came through that Riverside Caravan Park had once again taken the David Bellamy Conservation Award at its top gold level.

The accolade recognises the raft of initiatives taken at the park to safeguard wildlife and protect the natural environment, including its planting of many high nectar-bearing flowers.

The blooms provide valuable foraging for bees and butterflies, and Professor Bellamy has now designated Riverside as an official “Honey Bee Friendly” park as part of his new initiative to help protect the threatened insects.

But that wasn’t the end of Riversides’ accolades this autumn, for the park has also won a toilet facilities.

Thomas, whose father Bateman first started welcoming camping guests on his farm in 1969, said that all these latest awards would give the business a flying start to 2017.

He said he also hoped that the publicity they achieve will help other local tourism businesses by highlighting the region as a perfect holiday destination.

Thomas and his wife Jane are helped in the running of their business by their daughter Isabel. There is more information about the park at www.riversidecaravanpark.co.uk