TV Star Praises Holiday Park

Britain's best known bird watcher, Bill Oddie, says Kelling Heath holiday park in North Norfolk sets a perfect example to others of how to successfully combine tourism and the environment. The TV star was speaking while opening a new £1.75 million health and fitness club at the park.

Following the opening, the presenter of the hugely popular BBC programmes Bird in the Nest and Birding with Bill Oddie joined Kelling Heath's own resident countryside manager, Kevin Hart, with invited guests and holidaymakers on a guided tour of the 250 acre award winning wildlife haven.

Kelling Heath recently gained national and international attention as the UK winner of the prestigious British Airways/Wish You Were Here Tourism for Tomorrow awards.

Mr. Oddie heaped praise on the park's environmental programme saying:

"Kelling Heath sets a perfect example of how to successfully combine tourism and the environment."

Owners Blue Sky Leisure have carefully designed the state of the art leisure club to blend in with Kelling Heath's outstanding natural environment.

Kelling Heath's managing director, Paul Timewell, says the new complex adds considerably to the holiday park's already wide range of facilities:

"First of all, it gives our seasonal visitors and holiday home owners what is undoubtedly the very best indoor health and fitness facility of any holiday park in the region, if not in the UK. Secondly, and importantly, it complements our centrally heated and double-glazed holiday homes to offer warm and comfortable facilities in early and late season, cementing our already very successful short breaks occupancy. And thirdly, it will allow local people year-round membership of an absolutely top notch health and leisure facility right on their doorstep."

Architects Paul Robinson Partnership have used red bricks and flint panelling as the leisure club's main visible materials, both internally and externally. Inside the complex, natural pine laminate wood framing has been left deliberately exposed, while, in the swimming pool area, huge windows overlook woodland and heath.

As Bill Oddie said at the opening:

"The Leisure Club design is so integrated into the woods that, as near as damn it, you feel you are outside when actually you are swimming inside!"

The existing open-air pool has been cleverly used as a backdrop to the new facility. The feeling of nature is continued into the gymnasium area where high level windows allow the woodland to be seen without passers by being able to look inside.

Antique pine shiplap boarding has been used on the ceilings. Male and female changing rooms, which each have a capacity of fifty people, have been finished to the highest quality, with timber and reconstructed stone.

Facilities include a 19 x 9 metre indoor swimming pool, spa, sauna and steam rooms. A gymnasium equipped with the latest high tech machines allows members to exercise to their chosen level. Fully trained staff from Norwich-based Fitness Express, who manage fifteen independent health clubs around the country, are on hand to supervise and advise on all activities.

Importantly, the new complex has been designed on one level to give unrestricted access to disabled visitors. The Leisure Centre is open for holidaymakers and holiday homeowners as well as local members.

Kelling Heath, near Holt in North Norfolk, as well as the Tourism for Tomorrow award, is a holder of a silver award in the tourism industry's 'Oscars', the England for Excellence Awards. The Park has won a TOURFOR Award, recognising its commitment to sustainable tourism and recreation within a forest. The park has also won a special award from the Norfolk Society - a branch of the Council for the Protection of Rural England - for promoting tourism in an environmentally sensitive way.

With a fascinating range of plants, woodland and heathland as well as an interesting diversity of flora and fauna, Kelling Heath is also the holder of a David Bellamy Gold Award for conservation.