MARTIN'S BLOG

The goings on at West Dorset Leisure Holidays
29
May

Poll Dorset Sheep looking for further TV appearances

PollDorsetAs the farming side of our business continues to grow, we have recently introduced 36 Poll Dorset Sheep to our original flock. The Poll Dorset is a breed of sheep that was bred for its meat and the name refers to its hornless variation of the Horned Dorset Breed. Poll Dorset’s are an all-white, medium sized sheep and able to breed out of season and we are planning to lamb in January when the park is not open.

Our new ewes which we didn’t realise until we purchased them had been part of the flock which were featured in the recent filming of ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ which has just been released in the cinemas. Far from the Madding Crowd, was the fourth novel written in 1874 by Thomas Hardy and who was originally from West Dorset.

The BBC have recently released this review about the film: Based on the literary classic by Thomas Hardy, FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD is the story of independent, beautiful and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan), who attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), a sheep farmer, captivated by her wilful spirit; Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), a handsome and reckless sergeant; and William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), a prosperous and mature bachelor. This timeless story of Bathsheba’s choices and passions explores the nature of relationships and love – as well as the human ability to overcome hardships through resilience and perseverance.

Over the last few days our almost famous sheep have had their winter coats removed at Highlands End Holiday Park. There was a lot of noise but I am sure that they are a lot more comfortable in the lovely sunshine that we have been experiencing.

If there are any film producers reading this blog and are looking for some sheep to use in a feature film, our Poll Dorset’s are now looking very smart and are ready for their next auditions!

SheepHaircut

1
May

Cupcakes and Drones

VanView    This week the West Dorset Leisure Holidays maintenance vehicles have had a makeover. The Team thought it would be a good idea to add a bit of colour and advertise some key attractions about the holiday parks.

The large VW Transporter is advertising   ‘Martin’s Bar & Restaurant’, and the smaller caddy vans we have enhanced with some of our best Jurassic Coast pictures and company contact details. I think that all the vans are now looking very eye catching and hopefully they will encourage our guests to make conversation with the maintenance team when they are working around the parks.

This Bank holiday weekend the caravan holiday home sales team are hosting a ‘Temptation Challenge’ for our holiday home owners. An email invitation was sent out in the week, inviting them to the Sales Office at Highlands End Holiday Park for a cup of tea and a very tempting cupcake. Jasper our Sales Manager has pulled a few strings and will be supplying some extra special cupcakes.

We look forward to welcoming the owners to the Temptation Weekend and the team will be very interested to show our existing owner’s the new holiday homes which are available.

This week we have been looking at the possibility of purchasing a Drone to enable us to have video of the parks – I am looking forward to a test flight next week and we have seen some very interesting videos taken already by local friends – click for a quick flight. I am thinking that we could also use the drone to check the lambs and save a trip across the fields!!

NewVan

24
Apr

Golden Cap Holiday Park – Lodge for sale

VictoryEvron

Victory Evron

Last week we were celebrating the completion of the Golden Cap Holiday Park’s winter developments. A local contractor completed the tarmac surface of the roads and the landscaping is continuing around ten stunning new hire caravans; all with wrap around balconies which allow our visitors to enjoy the views.

There is currently a Lodge at Golden Cap Holiday Park for sale and this has been creating a lot of interest over the last few days. The lodge is located on the opposite side of the newly tarmacked road at Golden Cap and is called a ‘Victory Evron ’. At Golden Cap Holiday Park we have established a new sales ground and with the earlier installation of 6 new pitches for caravans for sale, we will be welcoming some new owners to the holiday park very soon.

April is proving to be a popular month for walking the south west coast path. The views along the Jurassic Coast from Golden Cap (The highest point on the south coast) and Thorncombe beacon have been breath taking. I have seen many dogs enjoying the walk with their owners, as they leave or return to the holiday Parks.

This week we have sited a number of new caravans which are now for sale at Graston Copse and Larkfield, two of the smaller holiday parks within West Dorset Leisure Holidays and located in the quaint village of Burton Bradstock.

On another note the WDLH team at Martin’s have been busy this week; our final installation of the Kitchen for 2015 is being fitted. Unfortunately the installation did mean that just for this week we have had a restricted menu, but we are now back up and running with a full menu for the weekend.

If you did want to arrange to come and view the new area at Golden Cap Holiday Park or speak to a member of our Sales team we would be very happy to organise this for you.

Call 01308 426917 or emails sales@wdlh.co.uk

 

9
Apr

A sunny and busy easter

Teacher Training Day 6

Local teachers attending a Jurassic Coast Trust course

We were very pleased that all our Easter arrivals were able to enjoy the sun last weekend; this included our spring lambs which were all born towards the end of last week with a total of 42. The new born lambs have now been released into the field overlooked by our Holiday Homes for hire and are beginning to enjoy running around together.

We have been very pleased with the positive feedback we are receiving from guests staying on the new gravel pitches at Highlands End. The grass seed is growing rapidly in the warmer weather and the pitches are starting to look smart for the peak season.

Martin’s Bar & Restaurant was very busy over the Easter weekend and we were fully booked on Easter Sunday. The kitchen is in its second stage of refurbishments and the catering team are looking forward to the new equipment.

I am very pleased to report that the Jurassic Coast Trust invited teachers from the local primary schools to come for a training session here at Highlands. The Trust wished to provide the teachers with more information about the geology of the Jurassic Coastline and for them to incorporate the Jurassic coast into their lessons. At West Dorset Leisure Holidays our visitors have risen over £40,000 for the Trust and were very pleased to see the money being put into the community.

Teachers Training Day

Teachers Training Day

This week the team have had the opportunity to update their First Aid qualifications including the defibrillators which we now have on Highlands End and Golden Cap. The defibrillators are essential life-saving equipment in these holiday areas.  Our team members are always very interested in the courses and recognised the importance of being prepared for a difficult situation.

Bridport and West Bay have been very busy over Easter and it makes a very positive feel to the town with people strolling around Bridport Market and West Bay.

1
Apr

Tourism Council and the Value of Tourism

Blog1As a member of the Tourism Council I have recognised further the value of tourism in the UK and the importance of our industry to the economy and employment. The Council recognises that the importance of the industry is not appreciated by many levels of government, businesses and in the community.

One of the working parties of the Council was asked to look at how communication could be improved and more awareness created about the sector which is taken for granted. However, many local plans do not fully adopt the visitor economy and it is interesting to see that under Employment the industry is frequently overlooked and a job in tourism is not considered to be a ‘proper job’.

Hospitality is a great industry and we need to raise the awareness of the importance of our sector and over the last 30 years we have made some progress but there is a long way to go. The working group has prepared the document below about the value of tourism in the UK and as you would expect I have added the Holiday Park industry to complete the picture!

Click here to view the document in pdf format BritishTourismInfoGraphicPlusHolidayParks

26
Mar

Shepherds View Lodge Opening Ceremony

LodgeOpeningCeremony      LodgeOpenngCeremony2

Friday 20th March was the opening ceremony of ‘Shepherds View Lodge Area’ here at Highlands End Holiday Park. The sun was shining after the eclipse and we welcomed over 30 guests to the ceremony. Oliver Letwin our MP cut the ribbon on the Lodge area and referred to the benefits of tourism to the local area.
We were graced with the company of local Councillors, the Bridport Mayor, representatives from the Local Tourism Associations, and Paula Skelton from Pinelog who we have worked with very closely in the design of the Lodges.
In 2012 the local planning department approved the lodge development and in 2013 the first Pinelog Lodge arrived at Highlands End.
In March 2015 we accepted delivery of our 6th Lodge ‘Merry Weather’. The Lodges have proved to be very popular and with a stunning view over West Bay also known as ‘Broadchurch’ from the ITV drama series; their popularity is growing from strength to strength.
The opening ceremony was a great success with an excellent buffet put on by our staff at the newly named ‘Martin’s Bar and Restaurant’. A lot of photos were taken by the local press and we look forward to spreading the ‘word’ about our new project.

If you click on the following link you will be able to read the write up from the Bridport News Business Journalist, David Bol about the Lodge Ceremony.

11
Mar

Martin’s – Rebranded for the 30th Anniversary

Martin's Bar Logo copyThe Bar and Restaurant at Highlands End Holiday Park opened in 1985 and ever since there has been numerous discussions about what to name the building.  This year we will be celebrating the 30th year that the Bar & Restaurant has been open, and it was agreed between the family that we must now finally decide on a name.

I have been working for the family business for 31 years and it seemed very appropriate to tie in the two celebrations and call the Bar & Restaurant ‘Martin’s’. Many of you that will have visited the Bar & Restaurant will know that I have quite an accomplished collection of fire engine memorabilia, of which I am always keen to add to. When we were thinking of a logo for the new ‘Martin’s’ Bar & Restaurant it seemed only right to include a picture of a fire engine.

We will be having an official launch for ‘Martin’s’ and further details will follow soon.

Martin’s will be open every night and weekend from the 20th March, serving food and drinks to the holiday park customers and the general public. We will be showing live sports with our Sky Sports TV and our games room with pool tables will be available to all.

If you are thinking about where to book your next Sunday lunch ‘Martin’s’ is a great choice. Where possible we cater with local produce and all our staff are very knowledgeable about the local area. We welcome all different forms of functions from Weddings to Business Conferences and Private Parties.

Martin’s is a great family choice with a beer garden that has stunning views over the South West Coast. We have recently updated our children’s play area which has a secure surrounding fence and is clearly visible from the Beer Garden.

Dogs are welcome, and we are a great pit stop if you are planning on walking along the Jurassic Coast cliff top and need light refreshment.

For further details you can contact Martin’s Bar & Restaurant on 01308 426919 or email bar@wdlh.co.uk

19
Feb

win a long weekend in a Lodge at Highlands End Holiday Park

Lodges at Highlands End Holiday Park

Lodges at Highlands End Holiday Park

Over the last few weeks we have been analysing our website and have been looking at ways to make it even more user friendly and informative. After a great meeting with David and Adam from Keymultimedia it looks like we are almost there with the updates and the improved site should be live within the next couple of weeks. One very clever new option is the way in which the website will respond to screen sizes particularly mobile devices.

The ‘Broadchurch’ competition that we have been running since the 5th January will soon be coming to a close on  the 23rd February, when the final episode will be shown on our TVsWe have had a great response and look forward to announcing the winner on the 24th February.  The prize is a long weekend in a 3 bedroom lodge overlooking West Bay “Broadchurch” and worth over £500. There is still time to enter, all you have to do is click this link ‘Competition’ and follow the simple instructions, good luck.

The final drafts of our holiday home owner’s newsletter are being printed today and will be posted within the next couple of days. We have some great new updates for our owners, including confirmation of a longer opening season from 2016 and the dates for the next Owners Evenings.

The 2015 Caravan & Motorhome Show has started at the NEC in Birmingham. Our sales team arrived there on Monday  and will be working  on the ABI, Willerby, My Dorset Parks and Best of British stands, if you are going to the show please do stop by and say hello. If you  would like to make an appointment to meet with one of the team please email sales@wdlh.co.uk or call 01308 426917.

We will soon be welcoming back our seasonal staff  to the holiday parks. Christine and Anthony, the wardens at Golden Cap Holiday Park, have already returned and are helping to get the park ready for opening on the 20th March.

9
Feb

a busy february and a great special offer

EypeValleyViewOn the 22nd January I attended the Bridport and District Tourism Association, social evening at Haddon House in West Bay. The annual social is always a great opportunity for meeting with other members, and allows the chance to share experiences within the local tourism industry. Stephen Banks a local photographer who works for Watershed PR received the annual award for ‘Contribution to Tourism’ presented by Scott Condliffe the Chairman of the association. Stephen is an inspiration to the young business minded in the area, and for this I am pleased he was recognised and received the award.

The BDTA is always looking for new members who are willing to join the committee and support the local tourism industry. If you are interested in finding out more about the association you can email pa@freshwaterbeach.co.uk

Last week I attended the BH&HPA Conference in Cardiff for two days, with Speakers and presentations on tourism and holiday trends, marketing, accommodation and many aspects relating to the management of holiday parks.

Next week (17-22 February) we are looking forward to the ‘2015 Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show’ at the NEC in Birmingham.  All of our holiday home sales team will be attending the show, and representing WDLH on the My Dorset Parks, Willerby and ABI stands.  If you’re attending the show at the NEC and would like to discuss owning a holiday home at WDLH, you can make an appointment to meet one of our team by calling 01308 426917.

On the 7th & 8th February our team organised a Holiday Home Open Weekend and we had a great response, meeting with many potential and current holiday home owners. The holiday home show ground at Highlands End seems to be working very well and is proving to be a great opportunity for customers to view Caravan Holiday Homes.

On the 6th February we opened the Touring Area at Highlands End Holiday Park. This is the first time we will have opened the touring area so early in the year, and already we have welcomed a number of visitors taking advantage of the February sunshine.  We are currently running a great special offer; if you book for 7 nights in February a Hard Standing Serviced Touring Pitch, it will cost only £99 for 2 people; If you would like to find out more call 01308 426947.

The Cowshed Café at Highlands End Holiday Park is now open and we are stocking even more local produce in the Shop. The staff are very excited about the new Panini machine which is being tested at the moment.  I am sure our visitors will enjoy sitting in the Cowshed Café with a cappuccino and a hot panini, whilst soaking up the views of Eype Downs and the Jurassic Coast.

In preparation for the 2015 season, we are advertising a number of job vacancies. More details can be seen on our website www.wdlh.co.uk/jobs

This week I have a meeting with the Tourism Council working group and on Thursday day a meeting in Paris with the management committee of the European Association – so a busy few days ahead ……….