Bryony Symes
Staff Writer

See other News articles filed in ‘Sites and touring’ written by Bryony Symes
   
The best CL of 2014 has been crowned and the Sites in Bloom awards given out, at The Caravan Club's prestigious London ceremony this week

The Caravan Club announced the winners and runners up of the club's CL of the Year and Sites in Bloom awards at a ceremony in Westminster this week.

Caravan Club Chairman, Grenville Chamberlain, and David Amess, MP for Southend West, hosted the awards and the Right Honourable Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, presented the certificates to the winners and runners up.

The winner of CL of the Year 2014 was Poole Farm CL, which owners David Hunter and Diana Smith run themselves.

Sited on the border between Devon and Cornwall, in gorgeous, rolling countryside, Poole Farm CL has great views and is adjacent to the River Tamar. Pitch your 'van here for easy access to Dartmoor National Park, atmospheric Bodmin Moor and the spectacular North Cornwall Heritage Coast.

Poole Farm is an adults only CL, making it peaceful and a perfect retreat for relaxing in the countryside. It is also popular for people touring with dogs, with a good dog walk which meanders through the wild flower paddock and orchard. Visitors also enjoy the variety of birds around the site, encouraged by the bird feeding stations on each pitch.

After staying at CLs for years, David and Diana decided to open their own, based on their own ideas of the perfect getaway. "It is so rewarding to receive positive comments and see returning visitors, many of whom have become friends."

Carr's Hill CL near Stirling, in Scotland, received second prize in the CL of the Year rankings. Grant and Gillian Turnbull have run the CL for four years, after building their own family home on 12 acres of farmland and seeing an article on CL ownership in the Caravan Club's magazine back in 2009.

Meeting new people and hearing about their travels is one of the parts of ownership that the Turnbulls enjoy the most. "We believe we provide a quiet, well presented CL that offers more than minimal requirements. Since 2010 the CL has blossomed beyond belief. Both Gillian and I love meeting visitors, we try to personally meet as many on arrival as we can."

Brunette Cottage Caravan Park CL scooped third place in the CL of the Year 2014 awards. The site is in Ty Broughton in Shropshire and Paul and Helen Clarke opened it in 2012. It has easy access to the main road network, whilst being perfectly situated for many walking and cycle paths, as well as touring Cheshire and North Wales, as well as Shropshire.

Helen and Paul try to provide a friendly and relaxing place to pitch your 'van. "Our local knowledge ensures everyone's stay meets their needs and interests, and we enjoy welcoming a diverse range of visitors and sharing the beautiful views with them. The site has a special dog walking area, tested and approved by our own canine friends, Bobby and Heidi."

At the Annual Parliamentary Reception, which was well attended by people from both the caravanning and camping industry and the wider tourist industry, both Grenville Chamberlain and David Amess talked of the importance and contribution of the caravan industry to economic growth within the UK.

"Access to The Caravan Club's CL network is a huge benefit of membership and each and every CL is a gem in the jewelled crown of the overall sites network," commented Grenville Chamberlain. "All 2500 CLs on the network make a massive contribution in boosting local tourism economies."

The Rt Hon Sajid Javid also thanked the caravan industry for the continued contribution to the economy.

Sites in Bloom winners announced by The Caravan Club

Also announced by The Caravan Club at this week's Parliamentary Reception in Westminster were the winners and runners up of the annual Sites in Bloom awards.

The late Alan Payne OBE, Executive Member and Caravan Club Life Member, started these awards in 2003, and his daughters attended the presentation.

The purpose of the awards is to give recognition to the work of the campsite wardens, including their horticultural skills, their attention to detail and their creativity, all of which combine to make sites friendly, attractive and welcoming.

These awards are judged on criteria such as the site's layout and use of space, innovation, variety, colour co-ordination and flair. Displays that are particularly low-maintenance and economical are also given special consideration. In addition, the judges consider the use of species of plant that are particularly suited to the site's geographical location and environment.

First place was awarded to Chester Fairoaks Caravan Club Site in Cheshire, with the judges acknowledging that the work "makes the reception area look like a country cottage garden, including traditional rose bushes, ornamental grasses and the friendly faces of pansies."

Simon and Becky Allen, wardens of Chester Fairoaks Caravan Club Site, received the Alan Payne trophy from Grenville Chamberlain and the Rt Hon Sajid Javid.

Buxton Caravan Club Site, Tewkesbury Abbey and Blackshaw Moor were named as runners up in the Alan Payne 2014 Sites in Bloom awards.

The second placed Buxton Caravan Club Site is in a former quarry in the Peak District, where the "brightly co-ordinated baskets that brighten up the shower blocks, along with the fiery red and pink welcome at reception" caught the judges' eyes.

Third place was awarded jointly to Tewkesbury Abbey, in Gloucestershire, and Blackshaw Moor, in Staffordshire, both of which impressed judges with their brightly adorned reception areas.

"Our site wardens are very busy people, so we are extremely grateful for the time and effort that they put into making sure our members and visitors get the most out of their stay," said Grenville Chamberlain.

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