British Holiday and Home Parks Association, David Bellamy Conservations Awards

British Holiday and Home Parks Association, David Bellamy Conservations Awards

Oakdown

Oakdown

Wildflower meadows are one of the jewels in the crown of parks that are doing their bit for the environment and at Oakdown Touring and Holiday Caravan Park in Devon, the park’s team has scored a hole in one.

The golf course at Oakdown, (originally opened by David Bellamy), is a rolling landscape of mown and long grass with impressive swathes of wildflowers. A clay-lined pond has been created which swarms with swallows and dragonflies. Nearby, a dew pond has also been dug out and a ‘Victorian’ reed bed has been planted, which helps deal with the park’s sewage. This reed bed is overlooked by a large bird hide which is well stocked with posters and identification books. From the hide a path connects through to the tranquil walkway of the neighbouring donkey sanctuary so that visitors can have a really delightful circular walk.

The brains behind the golf course wildflower meadow and the rest of the habitat creation, is park owner Doreen Franks. Mrs Franks ensured that everything was done to accommodate wildlife as the course was created. She introduced a range of wildflowers herself, but also says that she has had a helping hand or two. "People come and walk around and love the flowers and then come back with a handful of seeds or a root from some wild native plant from their gardens for me to try."

The management of the golf course is done to promote the blossoming of as much biodiversity as possible. The rough and semi-rough gets cut once a year, as does the wildflower meadow. This gives lots of cover and food for insects and other animals. All clippings are also removed from the wildflower areas so that the nutrient levels in the soil are reduced (too many nutrients would allow weeds and grasses to choke the wildflowers).

The pay back for the park is the fact that not only do they get lots of wildlife visiting, they also gets lots of repeat bookings as people come back to see the beauty that is Oakdown, again and again.

Oakdown