Storms blast in a £500,000 bill for Lakes Holiday Park

A Cumbria family is facing a loss of around half-a-million pounds after calculating the cost of winter storms which brought down around 400 trees on its Lakes holiday park.

Skelwith Fold park in Ambleside says the storms, which began in November with Storm Arwen and continued through February, saw gales of up to 90mph batter the grounds.

“The devastation has extended right across Skelwith Fold’s 130 acres of parkland above Windermere lake,” said director Henry Wild whose business re-opened for the new season on March 01.

130 acres of parkland above Windermere Lake

“The main expense will be extracting the trees felled by the blast, and this has now been estimated at around a half-million pounds.

“You can’t insure against this sort of damage, so we must dig deep into our pockets – and have already spent around £50,000 on plant and machinery to carry out the task.

“Our only consolation is that there will be some environmental gains which could benefit our wildlife and the diversity of plant species across the park,” said Henry.

The hundreds of tons of fallen timber is being processed on the park by its grounds team, and non-usable branches and other tree parts will be used to create brush piles in the grounds.

These, said Henry, provide important cover and nesting habitats for animals, and attract insects which represent a bounty of food for birds, reptiles and mammals.

Wildlife consolation

The trees taken out by the winds, he said, have also opened up the canopy of leaves and branches which previously prevented sunlight from reaching the forest floor.

Now, says Henry, the scene is set for new growth to flourish, including shrubs and wild flowers.

“It’s a great shame to have seen so many mature tree specimens destroyed, but the timber will be used for new building projects we have lined up on the park.

“And we’ve now almost a lifetime’s supply of material for wood chips which can be up-cycled on pathways, in the children’s play area, and used as mulch.

“Although this has all come at a great personal cost to us, we’re in this for the long haul and will just have to factor the weather into our risk assessments in the future.

“Happily we managed to complete the clear up from the storms in time for our re-opening in March, so at least we’ll not be disappointing guests,” added Henry.

Award-winning Environmental Lake District Holiday Park

The Wild family, which has owned the park for nearly 25 years, has won a number of environmental awards for its care of the natural world and many wildlife-friendly projects.

Last November, Skelwith Fold opened a new office complex which can generate all of its own green energy – and still have some to spare for use elsewhere on the park.

The 3,000 square foot building has been designed for total self-sufficiency with a bank of high-efficiency solar panels on the roof which supply all of its electricity needs.

Skelwith Fold provides glamping accommodation including safari tents, plus touring pitches and holiday homes to rent and own.

There is more information about the park on its website at

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