2009: David Bellamy opens the Anniversary Trail.
The new trail will take visitors along a clearly signposted route which explores some of the natural and built environments created at the park over the past 25 years. It will also show what impact Kelling’s interventions have made and how it might have developed without an environmental management plan.
2009: Star Party returns to Kelling Heath.
Over 500 amateur astronomers and intrigued general public were drawn to the 250-acre Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at Weybourne, which is famed for some of the clearest and darkest skies in England, to enjoy crystal clear views of our planetary neighbours and elusive galaxies.
2009: David Bellamy Conservation Scheme – Gold status was retained for the 13th consecutive year.
2010: Coasthopper Bus Calls into Kelling Heath.
The Coasthopper Xtra bus, which runs along the north Norfolk coast, added an extra stop at Kelling Heath Holiday Park.
From May, those staying at or visiting the park were able to leave their cars behind and travel along the coast by bus, getting the chance to take in the scenery, as well as doing their bit to help the environment. Coasthopper’s existing service travels from King’s Lynn to Hunstanton, Wells-next-the-Sea, Sheringham and Cromer, and the new Coasthopper Xtra travelled further west inland, taking in the busiest section of the coast, calling at Holt, Kelling Heath and cutting across the Peddars Way.
2010: Anniversary Celebrations Close with Launch of Tree Trail and Sculpture.
Kelling Heath continued to build on its green credentials with the launch of a new tree trail and the unveiling of a sculpture to mark the closing of a year of anniversary celebrations.
The Sculpture, ‘Time Flies’, stands 12ft tall with fused glass inclusions within its Corten steel structure. It is the work of local artist Nora Gaston, who worked with Fransham Forge on the construction to mark the park’s 25th anniversary of ownership by the Timewell family.
Commenting on the finished work, Nora said that Kelling Heath is a beautiful area of North Norfolk that has been sensitively cared for by the Timewell family for 25 years. “It is so beautiful that it did not seem appropriate to merely imitate nature, and I had to think of something else. This is how the idea of using the family name as inspiration for a sculpture developed. I decided to play with time.”
“I began to think of how time means nothing when on holiday, time does not dictate when things are done, and time becomes irrelevant. This was all symbolised by the image of a deconstructed clock. The fused glass reflects flowing water and the items we find and collect on the beach, and the large leaves make the sculpture blend in with the surroundings and adds to the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ experience” said Ms. Gaston.
The new Tree Trail is a circular route of 25 specimen trees, one for each year of the Timewell ownership. The trail was designed to give the public the chance to find out more about the collection of existing trees on the Kelling Heath site whilst introducing new species to the park. It takes between two and three hours to complete, giving visitors and those staying on the park the opportunity to amble through the woods and learn more about nature.
2010: Gold rating from the Green Tourism Business Scheme.
The Green Tourism Business Scheme is the national sustainable tourism certification scheme for the UK and is widely regarded as one of the most important environmental accreditation schemes across the tourism sector. It aims to ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of sustainable tourism by rewarding organisations across the country that make a conscious contribution. Kelling Heath was awarded Gold at its first attempt.
2010: Trim Trail Re-Launched as Eco Gym.
To mark 10 years since Kelling Heath Holiday Park first opened the on-park health & fitness facilities, the park relaunched one of its challenging fitness pursuits – the Trim Trail – which offers a holistic blend of outdoor exercise and woodland fitness.
The Trim Trail takes fitness enthusiasts through woodland and forest with designated stops along the way where participants can try their hand at challenges, including inclined sit-ups, pull-ups and the balance beam. Substantial changes were made to the course, including hurdles, a new traverse wall and a challenging new rope climb.
2010: A Hat Trick of Awards for Kelling Heath.
Kelling Heath Holiday Park in North Norfolk picked up a hat trick of awards at the prestigious Regional Enjoy England Awards at a ceremony held at The West Wing at Ickworth, near Bury St Edmunds. The internationally renowned Park scooped awards in the ‘Caravan Park / Holiday Village of the Year’, ‘Sustainable Tourism’ and ‘Tourism Experience of the Year’ categories.
The Enjoy England Awards for Excellence are recognised as the premier awards for the tourism industry. The regional awards highlight the quality of the tourism industry in the eastern region (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk) and help raise the profile of the participants.
2011: A New Reception and Guest Services & Refurbishment to Village Store.
The winter of 2010 / 2011 saw the development and renovation of the Reception and Guest Services area at Kelling Heath Holiday Park. The work also saw external refurbishments and a new interior to the Park Village Store to provide a dedicated gift area.
2011: The Forge Bars & Restaurants Introduced.
The introduction of a table service dining area in the Terrace Bar, offering a selection of freshly cooked meals with locally sourced food. There will be improved seating layouts to the Terrace Bar, plus a new children’s zone area adjoining the Terrace. That will include a soft play area where Acorn Events and other child-related activities will take place.
2011: Holiday Park funding keeps Norfolk hearts beating.
Staff and holiday-makers at Kelling Heath Holiday Park raised more than £3,200 to pay for new life-saving heart defibrillators to be installed in remote areas of north Norfolk.
In July, a cheque was presented to the Holt Community First Response team – a group of volunteers who assist in emergency situations in north Norfolk before an ambulance can arrive on the scene.
Kelling Heath already has its defibrillator located in the Village Square, which has been used to save the life of one guest.
2011: Kelling Heath Retains David Bellamy Gold Conservation Award.
Rufus Bellamy, British Holiday and Home Parks Association environmental advisor and one of the judges added: “Blue Sky Leisure is a real pioneer when it comes to sustainable tourism. They are also leaders when it comes to welcoming wildlife onto their sites. They do everything they can to make sure that the parks are bursting with biodiversity.”
2011: Sustainable Award for Kelling Heath.
Kelling Heath Holiday Park was again recognised for its green credentials, triumphing in the Sustainable Tourism category at this year’s EDP Tourism Awards.
Recognising that the park puts sustainability at the heart of its operation and profitability, the judges, including Archant Anglia Business Editor Paul Hill, said: “The environmental ethos throughout the company is endorsed by customers and staff alike, but has been implemented on the strength of cost-saving and economic benefits, resulting in true sustainability rather than superficial ‘tokenism’.”
2012: Kelling Heath Scoops Top Euro Award.
Kelling Heath Holiday Park was voted one of the best country campsites in Europe.
The Park was one of only two UK campsites to be recognised at the Alan Rogers Awards – an annual event organised by leading travel guide publisher, Alan Rogers. Named as runner-up in the Country Award category, the park was commended for its dedication to protecting and maintaining the natural beauty of the woodland and rare open heathland. It was also praised for the excellent range of amenities and activities on offer to visitors.
The park was chosen for the honour ahead of more than 2,500 others.
2012: New Female Red Squirrel arrives from Cornwall.
Kelling’s latest addition arrived as part of a swap deal with Paradise Park in Cornwall, which specialises in breeding endangered birds and other wildlife.
David Martin, countryside manager at Kelling Heath Holiday Park, said: “There has been a shortage of red squirrel females over the past year, so we’re very lucky to have found a mate for ours at Kelling. Now we all have our fingers crossed that the pair get on so we can help to maintain and conserve the British Red Squirrel bloodline.”
Picking up on the arrival, the local newspaper – The North Norfolk News – held a competition to name the pair – the winning names were Red and Ginger.
2012: Embracing new technology with the iPhone Explorer App.
Developed exclusively for visitors to Kelling Heath by Affinity New Media, the App features two trails which can be completed on foot or by bike, enabling families to discover more about the rare heathland and woodland environments. Explorers can download the app before visiting or at the park and can choose between the Enchanted Wild Wood Trail and the Golden Trail to earn explorer badges and a prize. Following the maps and way markers, families can work together to locate special codes which for the app, which unlock questions about the Kelling Heath estate, its wildlife and the local countryside. A correct answer reveals more information about the subject, alongside pictures and audio recordings of the wildlife. Once adventurers have completed the trail and earned their explorer badges via the app, they can collect their prize – an enamel Kelling Heath badge.
2012: Kelling Heath Retains Green Tourism Business Scheme & David Bellamy Gold Awards.
We were pleased to have retained gold status in both the Green Tourism Business Scheme and the David Bellamy Conservation Awards.
Kelling Heath’s success in the Green Tourism Business Scheme means it has retained the coveted gold award first presented in 2010. Businesses are graded against a rigorous set of criteria, including energy and water efficiency, waste management, biodiversity and many more. Assessors were particularly impressed with Kelling Heath’s biodiesel processor, which converts the waste cooking oil from the kitchens into fuel for the Parks vehicles. The range of great nature‐based activities for adults and children also attracted praise, alongside the solar power used to provide hot water for the toilet blocks.
Kelling Heath also retained the highest accolade in the David Bellamy Conservation Awards for protecting and enhancing the natural world. The scheme is one of the longest-running green tourism awards in the UK, with Kelling Heath continuing to achieve recognition since the awards launched in 1997.
2012: CPRE Norfolk Award.
Kelling Heath has been given a special award in recognition of the educational trails and Acorn Events – all of which are designed to teach children and families about the natural environment. The CPRE gives awards to projects which make a significant contribution to the protection and enhancement of the beauty, tranquillity and diversity of the English countryside.
Judges commented that “Kelling Heath has a beautifully maintained natural landscape which provides a chance for people from urban areas to relate to nature on holiday.”
2013: Kelling Heath Holiday Park is the best in the country.
Kelling Heath Holiday Park has picked up a national award recognising it as the best caravan park in the country.
Members of the park’s dedicated countryside team collected the coveted trophy after winning the Caravan Holiday Park / Holiday Village of the Year category at the prestigious VisitEngland Awards for Excellence in Manchester on 20 May 2013.
It was also awarded Bronze after being shortlisted as a finalist in the Sustainable Tourism category. It is the second year in a row the park has been commended for its green credentials after being highly commended in 2012.
2013: Kelling Heath Holiday Park was highly commended in the Green Tourism Goldstar Awards 2013.
In this honour recognising its green ethos, the holiday park, set in 250 acres of woodland and rare heathland, was entered in the Best Holiday Park category. The awards recognise organisations that have done the most to promote sustainability within the tourism industry by implementing cost-saving practices that help the environment and improve customer services.
2013: Blue Sky Leisure scoops top accolade in EDP Business Awards.
Bradwell-based family firm, Blue Sky Leisure, is celebrating after carrying off the top award ‘Business of the Year’ in the prestigious Eastern Daily Press Business Awards last evening (7th November 2013) at the Norfolk Showground Arena.
Blue Sky Leisure, which runs north Norfolk holiday parks Kelling Heath and Woodhill Park, as well as the Zaks restaurant chain, was also nominated in the Sustainability category in recognition of its strong eco-ethos.
More than 300 firms entered this year’s awards – a record number – with 36 finalists competing to win 12 categories, with the business of the year selected from one of the finalists.
2013: There are two breeding pairs of Red Squirrels at Kelling Heath for the first time.
The UK’s rare red squirrel population is set for a boost after one of two kittens born at Kelling Heath Holiday Park earlier this year was found to be female.
The kittens, named Sunny and Summer by popular vote on the holiday park’s Facebook and Twitter pages. The male has been moved to Pensthorpe to find a suitable female, while his sister will move to an adjacent enclosure at Kelling to meet a new male companion.
David Martin, Countryside Manager at Kelling Heath, said: “This will be the first time in nearly fifteen years that we’ll have had two breeding pairs of squirrels at Kelling Heath, which is fantastic. We’re pleased that our work to support the squirrel population through this conservation scheme is going from strength to strength. The squirrels we have at the park are happy, healthy and very inquisitive.”
2014: New heathland created at Kelling Heath.
The countryside team at Kelling Heath have created a new heathland habitat from scratch, reverting arable land to its previous state of heather heath. The new heath will be the location for twenty luxury lodges that will be offered for sale.
Creating heathland is not an easy task, and substantial investment has gone into making sure ground conditions were right to receive the heather and acid grass seeds harvested from the surrounding established heathland. The result of this work will be another push by Kelling Heath towards expanding this rare habitat rather than allowing it to disappear, sending a clear message to the Park’s many guests that their visit achieves much more than just enjoying a relaxing break in a very special part of the country.
2015: Sheep helped restore the land to nature at Kelling Heath.
An area of environmentally sensitive heathland at Kelling Heath in north Norfolk is being restored to its natural state thanks not to modern technology but by using techniques that nature intended.
Kelling Heath Holiday Park, internationally recognised for its contribution to eco-friendly tourism, has brought in a small flock of Welsh Mountain Sheep to help wage war on the lowland heath’s ever-encroaching scrub and tree growth.
Traditional Norfolk lowland heathland has been disappearing at an alarming rate, largely due to changing farming practices. Animals are no longer commonly grazed on heaths, leading to the heathers and grasses being taken over by more aggressive vegetation and eventually turning it into scrub woodland. Hence the expansive views, for which Norfolk is especially famous, are gradually disappearing.
This is not the first time that sheep have grazed at Kelling Heath. In 1999, a flock of Hebridean sheep were on the park helping manage the heathland.