Botanist David Bellamy has singled out a Cockerham family as role models for “green tourism” in Lancashire – and presented their business with a top sustainability award.
The honour goes to Moss Wood Caravan Park, which was established 40 years ago by Syd Wild, and which is now run jointly by him and his son Henry.
The wildlife-friendly enterprise was one of the first in the UK to receive Professor Bellamy’s prestigious Conservation Award when it was introduced almost 20 years ago.
Since then, Moss Wood has continued to win the accolade every year at its top gold level, thanks to a succession of initiatives to encourage animal, bird, insect and plant life.
In a special message to the park, David Bellamy said that he was “constantly amazed and excited at what you are achieving to protect and enhance the natural world.”
He added that the park has created a virtual “green blueprint” for sustainable tourism enterprises.
Amongst a raft of measures taken at Moss Wood has been the creation of a wild flower meadow where high nectar-bearing blooms provide food for honey bees and butterflies.
Hundreds of indigenous trees and hedges have been planted, and around the 30-acre grounds are many wildlife habitats built by the park, plus hand-made bird, bat and owl boxes.
The Wild family has also established a wildlife “buffer zone” around Moss Wood on which no development is allowed, and which has become a haven for animals and plants.
Another recent move to safeguard the environment has been the creation of a spring-fed tarn which acts as a magnet for birds, water fowl, dragonflies and a host of other aquatic life.
In an area surrounded largely by agricultural land, Henry Wild says that Moss Wood is also sustaining a largely chemical-free oasis by not using potentially harmful pesticides or sprays:
“Every year we are assessed by David Bellamy’s Conservation Foundation on our latest green projects, and it’s fantastic to think that these have won a top gold award each time,” said Henry.
“We always try and base our decisions on what would be the best outcome for the natural world, and our aim is to make wildlife feel as welcome here as our holiday guests.
“Because our park is well off the beaten track, we do tend to attract couples and families looking for a tranquil and unspoiled location – so what we do is also good for business.
“It’s a great being able to live and work in this beautiful part of Lancashire, and to be helping to preserve its special character with the support of someone like Prof Bellamy,” added Henry.
Moss Wood provides caravan holiday homes to buy, and pitches for the owners of touring caravans and motorhomes. There is more information at www.mosswood.co.uk