A couple who sold their busy London photography business to buy a tranquil camping park in the New Forest say their re-opening can’t come soon enough.
That’s because Martin and Victoria Bowrey’s Ringwood park, called Back of Beyond, has scooped a three top awards that they are now anxious to celebrate.
It has been voted the best holiday park in Dorset by the readers of two top touring magazines, Practical Caravan and Practical Motorhome.
Back of Beyond also topped the poll as Britain’s best park for enjoying eco-friendly holidays.
And completing the hat trick of honours, the park has achieved the 2020 gold David Bellamy Conservation Award with a special distinction.
“We feel very humbled by these accolades, and can’t wait to share the good news with our customers when Back of Beyond is allowed to re-open,” said Martin.
“We’ve put various extra safety measures in place for when the government gives the green light, and social distancing isn’t an issue as all our pitches are five to six metres apart.
“Back of Beyond would normally close at the end of October for four months, but we’re hoping to get an extension to try and make up some of the massive income we have lost.
“We know that many local businesses, including shops, cafes and pubs, are also feeling the effects of our closure as they too are heavily reliant on tourism spending.
“Victoria and I feel very humbled by our recent three awards, and many of our regular customers have send messages of congratulations and support,” added Martin.
Back of Beyond’s conservation award was presented to the park just before lockdown by Rufus Bellamy, son of botanist David Bellamy who founded the award scheme 25 years ago.
Rufus praised the couple’s many environmental initiatives including the creation of wildlife ponds which are now a magnet for dragonflies, otters and many types of bird.
Rufus highlighted too the pair’s planting of new hedgerows, and the nine honeybee hives they have sited on the park where many high nectar-bearing flowers provide vital foraging.
It was just over seven years ago that the couple sold their Muswell Hill home and their West End photography business and took a gamble on their future in rural Dorset.
The aim, said Martin, was to run a sustainable holiday park for nature-loving guests in a part of the country where they, as a family with young children, often went camping.
Back of Beyond provides pitches for camping, caravans and motorhomes – plus luxury glamping options including yurts, pods, shepherds huts and timber lodges.
There is more information about Back of Beyond at www.backofbeyondtouringpark.co.uk