Eric Ollerenhaw visits Moss Wood Caravan Park
MP Eric Ollerenhaw flew the flag for Lancashire tourism this month when he paid a special visit on 20 March to Moss Wood caravan park, near Lancaster, as part of English Tourism Week.
The event, which runs from 14 March, is designed to put the spotlight on England’s tourism sector, and the £97 billion annual contribution it makes to the UK economy.
Mr Ollerenshaw, who is MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, toured Moss Wood in Cockerham to see how the park attracts thousands of visitors each year to rural Lancashire.
The MP met with the park’s owners Henry Wild and his father Syd who first started welcoming guests to 30-acre Moss Wood in the mid-Seventies.
Since then, the family business has invested substantially in creating a high-quality environment for the owners of caravan holiday homes, and visitors with touring caravans and motorhomes.
It was one of the first parks in Britain to achieve the David Bellamy Conservation Award 20 years ago, and has continued to win the accolade at its top gold level every year since.
Henry Wild told Mr Ollerenshaw that, according to independent economic research, visitors to Moss Wood spend more than £1.5 million in the area every year.
Almost all of that money, said Mr Wild, benefits local enterprises such as shops, cafes, and visitor attractions, supporting the both the businesses and the jobs they provide.
Whilst at the park, the MP helped pay tribute to one of its longest-serving employees: Chris Peacock from Cockerham who is head groundsman and now marking his twentieth year at Moss Wood.
Chris was presented by Mr Ollerenshaw with Exceptional Service Awards handed down by the park industry’s official body, the British Holiday and Home Parks Association.
Around 3000 UK holiday parks belong to the association, most of them family-owned businesses, and earlier this year its members elected Henry Wild as their national chairman.
Henry’s father Syd also served BH&HPA in the same capacity over two decades ago.
On his tour of Moss Wood, Mr Ollerenshaw was shown the fishing tarn created by the park a few years ago, and which today acts as a magnet for a wealth of bird and aquatic life.
The park’s many other wildlife residents include red squirrels, badgers, foxes, bats and a wide variety of bird species such as woodpeckers, owls and wild geese.
Many indigenous trees and hedges have been planted, and sowings of wild flowers with high pollen-bearing blooms attract a wide range of common and less familiar butterflies.
Henry Wild told the MP that this area of rural Lancashire had a special appeal to lovers of the natural world, and his family had tried to create a park which was a match for the magnificent surroundings.
He said he was delighted that Mr Ollerenshaw was able to take time out to visit his family’s park, and to help raise the profile of English Tourism Week.