Fragile areas such as the Lake District should be doing all they can to woo visitors in motorhomes, according to the owner of a major Cumbria holiday park.
Henry Wild of Skelwith Fold in Ambleside says that people using such vehicles are helping to drive up the use of transport considered more environmentally friendly.
Buses, bicycles and two legs are the preferred ways of exploring Lakeland for many of Cumbria’s thousands of motorhome users each year, says Henry.
As such, he says, motorhome visitors help reduce congestion on the roads, and minimise the release of harmful greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.
Last summer, Henry reports, motorhome visitors to his park grew by 8% compared with the previous year, and are fast gaining ground with many younger couple and families.
But despite their size, he believes, motorhomes should be hailed as green holiday heroes – as long as they opt for holiday park pitches and not roadsides or public car parks.
“Much of the tourism traffic seen on Lake District roads is likely to belong to people who have already checked in to their destination, and who are now enjoying the sights,” said Henry.
“By contrast, motorhomes will often spend the entire duration of their stay parked-up whilst their users find alternative ways to tour around and get to where they want to go.
“The same will apply in many other rural areas, and suggests that we should be encouraging motorhome visitors in parts of Britain where the countryside is deemed to be at risk,” added Henry.
However, he adds the caveat that “wild campers” – those who prefer a roadside to a legitimate holiday park – should be discouraged, not least because of the visual pollution they cause.
Skelwith Fold is taking part in a national campaign, mirrored by many local authorities, to put across the message that a park is a much more practical and comfortable option for such vehicles.
In contrast to a decade ago when touring caravans were king, says Henry, motorhomes now occupy almost 50 percent of Skelwith Fold’s 150 touring pitches.
Motorhomes also bring in increasingly younger couples and families, he believes, thanks to the much wider availability of hire and their promise of a more adventurous holiday experience.
To help motorhome guests stay mobile, the park – just a short stroll from Ambleside – offers electrically powered bikes for hire, and provides information on local transport services.
It has also provided additional “super pitches” to accommodate longer length vehicles.
Skelwith Fold was crowned last year as Lakeland’s top holiday park in the Cumbria Tourism Awards, and is the current holder of the David Bellamy Conservation Award at its top gold level.
As well as touring pitches for motorhomes and caravans in its 130-acre grounds, the park provides luxury glamping pods, safari tents, and holiday homes to own.