British Holiday and Home Parks Association, David Bellamy Conservations Awards

British Holiday and Home Parks Association, David Bellamy Conservations Awards

Finlake

Finlake

Often an environmental eyesore can be an environmental opportunity in disguise. This was the case at Finlake Holiday Park in Devon. Here, an area that was previously a dumping ground and a 4x4 driving area has been turned into a natural haven, complete with a series of wildlife ponds.

"The project was done on the advice of local ecologist Peter Beale who suggested that the park put in a couple of ponds and let it go back to nature," says James Gourlay, the Area Manager. "We did a lot of tidying up because it was an eye-sore. The wildlife is now flourishing. I was up there walking with my children and saw deer and many other animals."

The project is an example of striking while the iron is hot: when the project was suggested, the park was having some other development done, so the right machinery was on hand to do the digging (at minimal cost thanks to the support of the contractor). To get the best habitat for wildlife large, shallow ponds were dug in the clayey soil.

"The flora that has emerged around the ponds is most interesting," says Peter Beale, who is particularly excited about the fact that some unusual and rare plants, such as the Penny Royal, have bloomed, their seeds probably brought in by birds. He explains that the new area is already floristically rich and is a habitat for a range of wildlife, in particular amphibians, dragonflies and butterflies/other invertebrates. "This Summer I am going to go up and count the dragonflies," he says. "I can’t wait."