Forty years after they spent their first holiday at Dartmoor’s Langstone Manor Holiday Park, Peter and Margaret Rickards were back again this August – but they weren’t alone.
That’s because the couple, who live in East Sussex, decided to celebrate their four decades of happy park memories by inviting along all 18 of their children and grandchildren.
Their arrival at the multi-award winning holiday park near Tavistock was the cue for the start of a fortnight’s festivities as the extended family enjoyed a get-together like no other.
Langstone Manor’s owners, Jane and David Kellett, said the Rickards’ booking was the largest they had ever received from one family since acquiring the park almost 20 years ago.
The mums, dads and grandchildren took over the apartment in the 150-year-old manor house, two luxury cottages, and a caravan holiday home for their stay.
Now both retired, Peter Rickards was a senior claims negotiator and office supervisor for a major insurance firm, and Margaret a micro-biology laboratory technician with the NHS.
The couple initially stayed in a tent during their early years at Langstone Manor, and spent their first wedding anniversary in a tiny two-berth caravan at the park.
As their careers blossomed and they became parents, Peter and Margaret continued their visits, but now preferred the extra comfort and space of rented holiday homes.
Unchanged from then to the present day, though, is their love of the Devon countryside – and especially Dartmoor – which has been passed down to their three children.
John, Zoe and George now live in different parts of the country, but were delighted to be reunited at the park, and to show their offspring where they had enjoyed their summers as youngsters.
But although the standpipes, small shop selling eggs and milk, and the trek to the toilet blocks have long disappeared, Peter and Margaret say the park’s most important qualities remain the same.
It is still, they assert, the peaceful, welcoming, well-run and friendly park it always was – and that Langstone Manor will forever hold a very affectionate place in their hearts.
Among the park’s many accolades is the David Bellamy Conservation Award at its top gold level, and the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for its consistently glowing reviews.
Today the park still provides camping and touring facilities along with a wide range of holiday homes and luxury glamping pods, plus facilities including a popular bar and restaurant.
There is more information about the park at www.LangstoneManor.co.uk