British Holiday and Home Parks Association, David Bellamy Conservations Awards

British Holiday and Home Parks Association, David Bellamy Conservations Awards
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News & Events

News and Events

David Bellamy Award Parks Find Innovative Ways to Go Green

November 9, 2015

The results are now in for this year’s David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme (DBCAS) which aims to celebrate, support and encourage camping, caravanning and holiday home parks to improve their environmental performance and become havens for wildlife.

Over 560 parks took part in the award scheme, which is run in conjunction with the BH&HPA. Participants came from all regions of Britain – from the southwest up to the highlands of Scotland.

During the summer participating parks were visited by DBCAS assessors. They looked at how the parks were doing against a range of key criteria that cover everything from recycling and rainwater harvesting to hedges and hay meadows. Their assessments formed the basis for the DBCAS’ judges’ deliberations and parks were given either a Gold, Silver or Bronze award based on their performance.

Among the many innovative schemes that parks came up with in 2015, was a project on a park in Cornwall that turned a muddy area of a field (in which farm machinery was getting stuck) into a new wildlife pond that has attracted a wide range of dragonflies and damselflies. Other schemes included a project that saw an old tack room recycled into a new café and community hub that specializes in gluten-free food and a wonderful project on a park in Scotland that saw old delivery pallets, wind-blown trees and other waste building materials such as bricks and slate tuned into a ‘bee hotel’ in the shape of a caravan.

The ingenuity shown by participating parks covered the spectrum from the high- to the low-tech. For example, a park by the sea in the southwest has worked with its Wildlife Ranger to create a mobile phone-based “Dune Detectives’ App” that guides visitors around the beautiful coastal habitat that borders the park. While in Ayreshire, in Scotland, a park has built a wonderful greenhouse out of recycled 2-litre plastic bottles. This has been used to grow wildlife-friendly native plants that have subsequently been used to boost the park’s biodiversity.

The scheme itself saw one major innovation being put in place this year: Parks were asked to make a pledge to do their bit to help Britain’s honey bees, particularly by planting the food crops they need to survive. The new initiative, which is a link-up with the British Beekeepers Association, proved be very popular, with over 140 parks signing up.

The David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme is one of the longest running green tourism awards in the UK. The scheme proper started with a pilot programme in 1996 and the first awards were made in 1997. For more information visit: You can also follow the scheme on Twitter (@BellamyParks)

First fruits of this year’s David Bellamy Awards

September 17, 2015

The end of summer has seen the start of the assessment process for the 2015 David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme. Since the middle of June, the scheme’s assessors have been going out into the field to vet over 560 holiday and home parks on the work they are doing for Britain’s wildlife and environment.

“The first tranche of assessments has already come in,” says Rufus Bellamy, who helps David run the scheme. “Even though it’s early days, we’re already getting some great feedback about what parks are doing – from planting native trees, shrubs and wildflowers and to working with local communities to reduce litter. From what we’ve seen so far, it’s clear that the parks that are involved in the scheme continue to be real forces for positive change in the countryside.”

Among the new initiatives that assessors have highlighted are revamped recycling systems that have led to a drop in rubbish going to landfill, the introduction of solar panels and a biomass boiler to heat a park’s swimming pool and the creation of log piles to provide a valuable new habitat for small mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

This year the award scheme has asked parks to make a pledge to do their bit to help Britain’s honey bees. The new initiative, which is a link-up with the British Beekeepers Association, is proving to be very popular, with over 100 parks signed up.

For example, a park in Cornwall has undertaken a Pollinator Survey which has come up with a ‘top 10’ list of recommendations for what it should do to help bees and other insects. The park is now acting on the results of the survey and is providing more of the forage crops that pollinators need to survive.

The assessors for the David Bellamy scheme are drawn from local wildlife trusts and other local conservation bodies. They look at the steps parks are taking to manage their land as a haven for wildlife, to reduce their use of energy, water and other resources, to reduce, reuse and recycle the waste they produce and to support their local communities.

David Bellamy uses the assessors’ reports (and any comments received from members of the public) to make his awards each year. Three levels of excellence can be achieved: Gold, Silver and Bronze.

The David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme is one of the longest running green tourism awards in the UK. The scheme proper started with a pilot programme in 1996 and the first awards were made in 1997. For more information visit: You can also follow the scheme on Twitter (@BellamyParks)

David Bellamy set to celebrate community-minded parks

July 3, 2015

Hundreds of holiday and residential parks which reach out to their local communities will be put under the spotlight in this year’s David Bellamy Conservation Awards.

With assessments for the 2015 accolade winners now coming in, scheme organiser Rufus Bellamy says he is keen to celebrate parks acting as “good neighbours”.

Early feedback from assessors, he reports, suggests that a whole raft of initiatives are now making a very real difference to many peoples’ lives around the country.

They range from parks opening up their grounds for school nature projects and wildlife discovery walks to those organising litter-picking projects and beach clean-up operations.

Other examples include parks becoming involved with local sports and arts organisations, and even hosting live theatre and musical performances in their grounds.

There are also award-winning parks extending life-line to their local community by having a defibrillator sited on their site with staff specially trained in its use.

But where parks especially excel, says Rufus, is in charity fundraising which provides a massive boost to many good causes, often locally-based, throughout the UK.

Here, comments Rufus, parks have proven themselves to be particularly enterprising with business owners and staff taking part in a host of different sponsored events.

These range from bike rides and marathons to taking on a tough Royal Marine assault course, braving Europe’s longest zip-wire, and driving an old banger across Europe.

One park donates tents abandoned by guests to a charity working in Africa, and another provides free holidays to needy families for every one hundred bookings it receives.

“The David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme does, of course, put a major emphasis on how parks work to protect their natural environment,” said Rufus Bellamy.

“However, the scheme also highlights those which engage with their local community because this, in our view, demonstrates that the park is taking a holistic view of its business.

“This year, our assessors have uncovered many fantastic new initiatives which we’ll be using to underline just how many ways there are for parks to reach out,” said Rufus.

The names of the 500-plus parks expected to receive David Bellamy Conservation Awards this year at gold, silver and bronze levels will be announced in September.

Parks in harmony to give bees a chance

May 12, 2015

Honey bee numbers are set to blossom on holiday parks this year thanks to a new initiative to create a national network of honey bee-friendly park sanctuaries.

The ambitious project has been launched by the David Bellamy Conservation Award scheme in conjunction with the British Beekeepers Association.

Many bee species have seen dramatic declines in recent years with experts blaming the increasing scarcity of food resources and nesting habitats.

Parks will be helping to address this by growing additional flowering plants, and especially those which provide valuable nectar and pollen in the spring and autumn.

According to Rufus Bellamy, son of the world-famous botanist, holiday parks that plant and manage the right flora can provide a vital lifeline for honey bees:

“Holiday parks are in a position to provide a wide variety of forage crops that, if chosen carefully, can provide food for bees for a long period of time,” he said.

“Parks can also provide places for bees to nest. In fact, a surprising number of parks are already getting into beekeeping, often in conjunction with their local beekeepers association branch.

“Butterflies and other pollinators will also benefit when a holiday park commits to increasing its stock of bee-friendly flowers and shrubs,” added Rufus.

More than 100 holiday parks, all participants in the David Bellamy Conservation Award, have so far taken the “honey bee pledge” and now form a network stretching from Scotland to Cornwall.

Rufus points out that parks making efforts to help the beleaguered bee can also add another fascinating dimension to the experience of their holiday guests:

“The plight of Britain’s bee has been well publicised, but many people don’t understand the real reasons for their decline, or what they can do to help,” said Rufus.

“That’s why another important dimension of our work with the British Beekeepers Association is to help parks enlighten guests about the important role they can play.

“Interpreted walks around the park and its bee-friendly planting schemes can be used to explain why foraging is so important for bees.

“Our hope is that many holidaymakers will use the knowledge to make their own gardens more welcoming to bees and other pollinating insects.

“Some parks are even selling bee-friendly seed mixtures to give guests a head start,” said Rufus who is a wildlife advisor to parks taking part in the David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme.

By the end of the year, he added, it’s hoped that almost every county in the British Isles will be able to boast at least one honey-bee friendly park.

Go wild on Twitter, David Bellamy urges park visitors

February 24, 2015

Rare birds and a host of other wildlife will be taking to Twitter this summer as part of a new initiative by the David Bellamy Conservation Awards scheme.

Holidaymakers staying on the 500-plus winning parks are being invited to spread news about their sightings on a new Twitter account (@BellamyParks).

Professor Bellamy hopes the feedback will provide an “informal audit” of the range of species to which holiday parks are currently playing host.

“Thousands of families will be staying on awarded parks this year,” said Rufus Bellamy, son of the world-famous botanist and a wildlife adviser to parks taking part in the scheme.

“We hope that many will act as our unofficial nature wardens in spotting both animals and plants which they come across, and taking a quick photograph.

“Some pictures may be of familiar species, whilst other users of the Twitter account may be able to help put a name to less common flora or fauna.

“We hope park managers and staff will also take part, and it would be great if this helped to create an interactive platform for sharing experiences and making new discoveries.

“At the same time, it will also help us as scheme organisers to get a broad snapshot of park-based wildlife activity to be seen across the country,” said Rufus.

The David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme, deigned to highlight exceptional efforts by parks to protect the natural world, is now in its eighteenth year.

Rufus says he hopes that the new Twitter account will also encourage children to get more closely involved with the natural world by Tweeting their own sightings.

Awards for parks who roll out the green carpet for wildlife

December 23, 2014

Holiday parks that make wildlife feel as much at home as their human guests have been celebrated in the latest round of the David Bellamy Conservation Awards.
This autumn, more than 500 parks were named as winners of the 2014/15 awards, and presented accolades at the gold, silver and bronze levels.
These awards mark the seventeenth year of the scheme, which was started by the internationally famous botanist to highlight exceptional efforts by parks to protect the natural world.
The long list of achievements of the winning parks includes everything from the creation of butterfly gardens and nature trails to the building of wildlife ponds and bird-hides.
But single projects by themselves will not earn a park an award, according to Rufus Bellamy who helps his father administer the awards. To stand a chance of qualifying, the park must submit all aspects of its operation to the scrutiny of an independent assessor trained in the running of the scheme:
“Their brief is extremely broad, and covers not just the more obvious initiatives such as creating wildlife habitats and the erection of bird boxes, valuable though these are,” says Rufus.
He explains that the scheme’s assessors take a holistic view of each park’s conservation policies, and judge how far this is succeeding in making it a sustainable and environmentally friendly business.
“That’s why moves such as harnessing renewable energy, protecting the night sky from light pollution, harvesting rainwater for irrigation and recycling can all make a difference,” he says.
“We also look at factors such as how well the park works within the community, promotes locally sourced food, or encourages guests to use local transport rather than their cars.”
David Bellamy also attaches great importance to the ways in which parks help children engage with nature through activities such as bat-watches, wildlife safaris, or building willow sculptures.
“Holiday parks provide an important introduction to the natural world for many children, and can inspire a lifelong love of our unique countryside and the desire to protect it,” says Rufus. “These awards encourage parks to keep pushing the boundaries of what can be accomplished, and to adopt even bolder and more imaginative measures which make a real difference.”

Let the Scheme Help You Decide Where to Go

April 25, 2014

It’s that time of year again – the sun has started to shine, the blossoms are coming out and thoughts are turning to day trips and holidays. If you’re wondering where to go, and want a holiday in amongst the beauty of the British countryside, then take a look at the parks in the David Bellamy Award Scheme.

With over 620 parks on board – from all corners of the UK - the Scheme offers a real helping hand when it comes to choosing your next holiday destination. Go to the Find a Park section of this website, where you’ll find links to all the parks in the scheme.

Choose any one of the award-winners and you can be sure that you’ve chosen somewhere that’s committed to working for wildlife, to reducing its environmental impact and to being a good neighbour to surrounding communities.

Whichever one you choose you can pat yourself on the back, safe in the knowledge that you’ve made a greener choice – and that you’ll have a holiday full of natural enjoyment.

Remember that you can let us know what you think about any park you visit – please use the form on the contact page to tell us what you love (and if there’s anything you’re not so happy about). Your voice counts – so we look forward to hearing from you.

Wild ideas win latest David Bellamy park accolades

September 27, 2013

More than 600 holiday parks where wild ideas flourish and take root are honoured in the latest round of the David Bellamy Conservation Awards.

Announced this autumn, the 2013/14 winners from across the UK mark the sixteenth anniversary of the award scheme started by Britain’s best-known botanist.

The awards highlight parks where successful efforts to protect the natural world produce real gains for both the environment and for holidaymakers.

Wildlife safaris, bird hides, nature trails, butterfly gardens, species-rich woodlands, and beautiful wildflower meadows are just some of the features on winning parks.

According to environmental adviser Rufus Bellamy, who helps his father administer the awards, the scheme was always intended to encourage parks to take bold and imaginative conservation steps:

“Many holiday parks in Britain, particularly those in rural areas, are blessed with abundant wildlife, and their owners are generally mindful of the need to manage their natural surroundings with sensitivity,” he said.

“The David Bellamy Conservation Awards encourage them to broaden their existing practices even further by adopting new initiatives to make their parks real havens for wildlife and to help protect the wider environment.

“The opportunities vary from business to business, but even a park in an urban setting can embrace measures which will make a real difference.”

“As well as being mini-nature reserves, the best parks are also leaders in terms of the steps they take to be more sustainable. For example, many have installed the latest renewable energy systems, aim for 100% recycling and buy, use and promote sustainably-produced, local food.”

Parks wishing to enter for an award must, as part of the evaluation process, allow all environmental aspects of their business to be audited by an assessor. The assessor’s brief is extremely wide ranging, and includes judging how well the park works within the community to make local life more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.

The awards, emphasises Rufus, are as far from a box-ticking exercise as it’s possible to get, and the evidence of a park’s efforts will often be obvious for visitors to see:

“A big benefit of this scheme is that holidaymakers can often enjoy an extra dimension to their stay by choosing a park which offers a chance to get closer to nature.

“There are parks where you can build willow sculptures and put up bird boxes, gather herbs, join a ladybird hunt, or just enjoy an interpreted nature trail.

“David Bellamy has always described parks as important outdoor classrooms, and that’s why you will often find a special emphasis on activities which children can enjoy, said Rufus.

Your Voice Counts

April 26, 2012

It’s another exciting year for the David Bellamy Conservation Awards with over 620 parks from all corners of the country currently in the scheme.

At the moment all of the parks are getting ready for the Summer season and our assessors are preparing for their park visits. It’s therefore a good time to remind anyone who is thinking of visiting one of our award-winning parks that you too have an important role to play.

Remember that you can let us know what you think about any park you visit – please use the form on the contact page to tell us what you love (and if there’s anything you’re not so happy about). Your voice counts – so we look forward to hearing from you.

A Message From David Bellamy

May 25, 2011

Hello to everyone who visits this site. I am blogging to let you know about the award scheme and to highlight why it makes sense to visit parks that are award winners.

The scheme started off over thirteen years ago when I realised that the best parks out there were doing really great things for the environment. It’s not hard to see why – a lot of parks have loads of green space and, if this is managed properly, it can be a real oasis for wildlife. However, what made me go ‘Wow’ at the time was the fact that this was actually happening all over the place – parks were not just thinking about the bottom line, but were investing in their most important resource: Biodiversity. They where planting trees, re-instating hedges, creating wildlife meadows and wetlands. Indeed a hundred and one other things to put the wild flowers and other wildlife back where they used be when I first went camping. All I had to do was pat them on the back and so the Bellamy awards were born!

You can read more about how it works by exploring this site. Once you’ve taken a look at what we do, why not think about using the scheme to plan your next holiday? I always find that there is nothing better in the dead of winter than planning a break for when the weather improves, and you can use the search engines at either or at search engines to look at the Gold, Silver and Bronze parks in the scheme. Visit one and you can be guaranteed a great green holiday on a park that is committed to really improving its environmental performance and to being a good green neighbour.

Let me just whet your appetite by pointing out just a few of the highlight projects that the scheme shone a spotlight on this year. Take Ross Park in Devon. Here the park staff have got dug in and created a wonderful walled organic vegetable garden from what was a weedy wilderness area that had limited wildlife value. Or how about Highfields Park in Lincolnshire? This park has turned about 60 acres of poor-quality arable into a wildlife rich grassland area. Its staff have also thinned out a viewing area in its large patch of woodland, put up brash piles to provide cover for animals and installed hanging-log bird feeders and salt blocks for deer – perfect for anyone who wants to go wildlife watching on their hols.

Parks aren’t just busy boosting biodiversity, they are also busy saving energy, water and other resources. Some are even hard at work spreading the green message. Take the Earth Day event which has been run for the past three years at Deepdale Backpackers & Camping in North Norfolk. It takes place on the 22nd April and in 2010, the park had about 150 stalls run by a whole range of green groups and businesses. Over 10,000 people came to visit. Deepdale hopes to repeat this success in 2011.

One of the complaints that is often levelled at the caravan industry by environmentalists is that it encourages people to drive their cars. One park that has taken an innovative step to offset such criticism is Clippesby Hall in East Anglia. Here, staff encourage guests to pledge to spend car-free days while staying at the park. Those that do pledge get a native tree planted in their name, or, if they pledge to go ‘car-free’ for more than one day, they get a bird box put up on the site.

As you can see, parks are up to a lot of really fantastic green work. Why not search them out on and get a bit of ‘Wow’ yourself on your next holiday?

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