British Holiday and Home Parks Association, David Bellamy Conservations Awards

British Holiday and Home Parks Association, David Bellamy Conservations Awards

Tom's Field

Tom's Field

When it comes to alternative energy, Tom’s Field, a park situated amongst the beautiful Purbeck Hills, shows that a bit of lateral thinking and a do-it-yourself approach can go a long way towards helping the planet. Here, the owner John Wootton, has turned an old Nissan Hut into a unique solar water heater. "We’ve had the campsite for over 15 years," explains John. "We inherited this dilapidated Nissan Hut and used to joke that when it rained you got wetter inside than out. But once it was refurbished, the shiny corrugated iron, made me think I could turn it into a solar system."

To make his dream a reality, John painted the iron sheets and ran a garden hose along the corrugations of about three quarters of the building (which now houses an activity room and workshop). The system was completed with four copper storage cylinders and a series of thermostat gauges and pumps that control it. It now acts as a heating system for the adjacent shower block and has cut the parks use of gas cylinders by half.

Although John has an engineering background, the project was a first for him – he got the information to do it from a book he picked up at the Centre for Alternative Technology at Machynlleth in Wales.

The project hasn’t just saved Tom’s Field money, it has also pleased its visitors: "Our guests are very interested in what we have done," says John. "Most of them, like us, are very concerned about the environment."

Tom's Field