Staff at a Peak District holiday park with its own acclaimed micro-brewery have been toasting their success in a major green awards scheme.
The family-owned Callow Top Holiday Park has won a top gold accolade in the David Bellamy Conservation Awards, and was praised by the world-famous botanist for its raft of green initiatives. One of rural Derbyshire's largest and most highly-rated touring parks, Callow Top was described by Professor Bellamy in his citation as "a wildlife wonderland".
Owners of the business, Alan Palmer and his wife Jill, first started welcoming camping guests to their sheep and cattle smallholding near Ashbourne over 40 years ago. Its idyllic position overlooking Dove Valley, and proximity to some of the Peak District's best-loved natural attractions, soon won Callow Top a large and loyal following.
Today it provides around 350 pitches for touring caravans, motorhomes and tents in a tranquil rural setting – plus holiday cottages and apartments to let. But although the park and its facilities have grown, Alan says that the family has always tried to ensure that the business has only a positive impact on the natural world.
The green awards' founder David noted that Callow Top remains a haven for wildlife thanks to a long list of measures taken to ensure that its flora and fauna are given the same VIP treatment as holiday guests. He praised especially the family's management of its four spring-fed fishing ponds which act as a magnet for many different birds, as well as dragonflies and other aquatic life. A bird hide allows visitors to glimpse the wide range of resident and visiting species, and the park works closely with Peak District National Park rangers to monitor the numbers.
Green awards founder David Bellamy praised park's conservation efforts
Alan and Jill, aided by their grown-up children, have also planted hundreds of native trees and shrubs which provide valuable nesting and breeding habitats as well as food resources. David highlighted the abundance of high nectar-bearing wild flowers on the park which attract many different types of butterfly as well as honey bees and other pollinators. His also applauded the park's shielded illumination which minimises light pollution, and provides visitors with the best views of the Peak District's star-studded night skies.
According to Alan the park's success in the green awards will be a spur to even more wildlife initiatives, and he explained, "We've always felt very privileged to live and work in such a beautiful part of Derbyshire, and have always tried to ensure that the park is a match for these beautiful surroundings.
"Callow Top has long had a special appeal to guests seeking a perfect escape in a tranquil setting, and it's also a great place for children to come and learn more about the natural world.
"It's fantastic that our conservation work is being supported by someone like David, and everyone here is delighted that we have received his top conservation award."
Facilities at Callow Top include a popular heated outdoor pool, games areas, a shop featuring locally sourced produce, and the park's Callow Inn and restaurant.
When drinking in the inn's traditional surroundings, guests can sup on beer from the park's own Bad Ram micro-brewery – whose ales have won honours at major beer festivals.
There is more information about the park and its facilities at www.callowtop.co.uk