8 Mile Wildlife Larder Wins Green Gong

Michael Holgate says his park's outdoor team is fully deserving of botanist David Bellamy's special award
Michael Holgate says his park's outdoor team is fully deserving of botanist David Bellamy's special award

Monday, 06, Nov 2017 12:56

By William Coleman

A Cumbrian holiday park is taking the green initiative seriously and are now part of the small elite group of tourism businesses to win a special green award.

The ground keeping staff at a South Cumbrian holiday park have been dubbed "hedgerow heroes" by television botanist David Bellamy and were given a very rare accolade following their efforts to keep the area as green and luscious as possible.

The Silverdale Park is one of only 15 sites, out of around 3000, to have gained the Special Distinction from Professor Bellamy in his annual conservation awards. What efforts did the site go to, to get this sort after award? The Silverdale site were honoured with the award after they planted 8 miles of new hedgerows throughout 2017 as part of their major environmental project.

David Bellamy has had high praise for Silversale's initiative. The new greenery that has been planted has given Cumbria's wildlife "a living larder of rich pickings", says David Bellamy. It also provides a new breeding habitat for some of the UK's most loved species like hedgehogs, red squirrels, dormice, butterflies and birds.

Silverdale is one of 6 sites owned by the Holgates group who received the top gold DAvid Bellamy Conservation Award in this year's round of green honours for the tourism industry. With all 6 sites winning awards it was actually the Silverdale's 8 miles of new shrubs and trees that were the standout achievement, said David Bellamy.

It took a lot of hard work and dedication to get this award. A lot of manpower and a lot of hours over a 9 month period. Over this time period there were more than just new animal species introduced. There was a wide range of trees planted including the hawthorn, hazel, ash and the oak.

Michael Holgate, whose family business last year marked its 60th anniversary, said the importance of hedgerows could never be understated: "What we see on hedgerows are the nectar-rich blossom in spring and the red berries in autumn - and both, of course, provide valuable food resources for wildlife," he said.

"But hedgerows also help prevent soil erosion, store carbon to help combat climate change, and help capture pollutants such as agricultural chemicals which run off from fields.

"They are also homes for many birds, animals and insects, and provide vital links across the countryside for wildlife to move about freely which helps keep populations healthy.

"We're delighted to have joined the small elite of parks with special distinctions, and the award is being dedicated to our hard-working staff who carried out this amazing project," added Michael.

The Holgates efforts to maintain our green and pleasant land does not stop there. In addition to its own conservation efforts Holgates work closely with bodies such as the RSPB and local red squirrel protection groups.

In addition to its own conservation initiatives, Holgates also works closely bodies such as the RSPB and local red squirrel protection groups to make its parks havens for many protected species.

There is more information about the group's parks at www.holgates.co.uk

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