PETER Dean has lived at Quarry Moor Park on the outskirts of Ripon for 12 years. He came to visit friends and within 15 minutes had decided to up sticks from the East End of London and move there. Deposit paid, he returned to put his own house on the market! I won’t upset you by telling you how much he paid for his Wessex Park Home, it’s enough to say that it was a different era.
What on earth convinced him in so short a time to leave his fellow East Enders? In relative terms, he considered the East End then a war zone. He had a steel front door, steel shutters at the back. By contrast at Quarry Moor Park, he hasn’t had to lock his car in 12 years.
I was told more than once, by Peter and others, that you could hear a pin drop at Quarry Moor. During my visit on a Wednesday morning, I could almost hear it too, even though the A61 (the Ripon by-pass) runs nearby. The only thing he misses is the East End accent, so this is a call to Londoners to consider joining him!
Peter went on to describe the benefits of park home living at Quarry Moor. Buses stop at the front gate and take you into Ripon, or to Harrogate or Leeds. Great if you want to be car-free, or may do so in future.
People also look out for one another on the park, without being ‘in your face’. It’s a park for over 50s, and there are no resident children, though of course grandchildren visit. ‘No teenagers’ is the best bit for Peter! (I have to confess I rather like teenagers, but I understand that for some older folk they represent a threat, and perhaps prevent hearing the proverbial pin dropping...) “If you don’t like peace and quiet,” Peter affirms, “it is not for you.”
It’s a nice little community, Peter adds. And the supermarket is just a five minute walk away. He reckons it is as close as you can get to heaven – wow!
Peter is the warden/supervisor of the park, and at the time of my visit was bringing on 700 plants ready to put some spring and summer colour into the communal areas – though I observed that residents do that themselves, too. Some opt for a low-maintenance garden, perhaps a small plot with gravel and heathers, while others have a large area they can tend to their hearts’ content. New plots are being sold with low maintenance in mind.
The recipe at Quarry Moor must have something to recommend it, as there are residents there who have been in situ up to 40 years! Very few move off, and then mainly when it is time to give up their home. I am guessing that will be later, on average, than someone in a bricks and mortar home, because of the security on a park home park, and the neighbourliness.
Quarry Moor Park has been in existence upwards of 40 years, at which time it was mainly caravan-style dwellings. York House Leisure, a family concern, took it over in the 80s. It felt, and apparently still feels, like being on holiday.
New Park was added perhaps 20 years ago, and some of its homes still look as good as new. York House bought the adjacent land and were able to develop it from scratch. In all there are about 80 homes, and a few extras are planned and being developed.
I liked the info pack provided by the park, not least because it is thoughtfully in large print, and gives you all the information you need up front. The annual running costs are estimated at under £3,000, including council tax, pitch fees, insurance and reasonable gas and electricity charges. Water is included in the ground rent. I noted the electricity charges are 8.9p a unit, gas 49.8p per unit (obviously subject to change with price rises.)
At the time of writing, two new park homes are available at a price around £185,000. Both are on New Park, and both by Prestige. They are the same spec on different plots, with two double bedrooms, option of one or two bathrooms, full fitted kitchen gas central heating, and so on.
Another small development of three homes will follow, in a nice situation on Quarry Park. If the existing new homes I looked at are any-thing to go by, the plots won’t be available for long!
In addition to everything else, the park is in a brilliant location! Ripon, a small cathedral city, is lovely and you are just on the doorstep. You are also by the Sanctuary Way, a walk which encircles Ripon and passes some historic sites. The marker near the park reads: “May you always be surrounded by beauty, your own and that of others. May you never be seduced by false attractions. May you see beauty everywhere.”
I know a lot of parks are for retirees and most at Quarry and New Park are in that category, while a few are working, but I think it is particularly well suited to senior citizens because of how handy it is for all the amenities, especially the bus stop.
WHAT DO YOU THINK, DENIS AND MAVIS?
Denis and Mavis Robinson recently celebrated their Diamond wedding anniversary, and for 27 years of their married life have lived on Quarry Moor. They have a 1976 Lissett that they have improved over the years with new roof, double glazing etc. They like their spot with a big garden by the old quarry rock face.
The couple said they have no problem with the owners, who leave them to their own devices (with Peter keeping an eye). In those 27 years, Denis says they have never had a cross word with proprietor Phil Brierley – pretty good going, I thought. One cat is allowed, or one dog, and rules are few.
Denis and Mavis love to sit in the garden and just listen – all you can hear are the birds. They think it is like ‘being in paradise’ – praise indeed. The couple find Peter very useful, and also like the fact that deliveries of milk, papers, fish and even medication can be provided at the park.
WHAT FACILITIES ARE NEAR THE PARK?
• Local amenities:
Supermarket 0.5 miles; late-night convenience store less than 1 mile; other shops and services, including banks and post office, in Ripon (1-1.5 miles).
GPs, dentists, opticians in Ripon; pharmacy at nearby supermarket; nearest hospital with A&E is Harrogate (9 miles).
Nearest station is Thirsk (8 miles) on the East Coast main line. Buses stop outside the park for Ripon, Harrogate and Leeds.
• Food and drink:
The nearest pub is less than a mile; plenty of other pubs, restaurants and takeaways in Ripon.
Cinemas in Thirsk and Harrogate, which also has a theatre. Leisure centre in Ripon. Golf course near Ripon, six others within 10 miles.
WHAT CAN I DO AROUND HERE?
Ripon is on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales
, so there is no shortage of stunning walks and drives, and many lovely towns and villages to explore. A short distance away from the park are the stunning picturesque ruins of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Gardens
(both National Trust). Also close by is Newby Hall
, a magnificent Wren mansion with interiors by Adam and beautiful gardens, indoor and outdoor art exhibitions and events such as outdoor Shakespeare, historic vehicle rallies and carriage driving. Ripon itself has its impressive cathedral
, while those with more earthly interests can enjoy horseracing at the town’s famous racecourse
. A little further away, fans of All Creatures Great And Small
will want to visit the World of James Herriot
at Thirsk, in the building where the writer had his veterinary practice.
Vacant plots are available for the home of your choice. Different show homes may also be available throughout the year. Visit www.quarrymoornewpark.co.uk
Quarry Moor & New Park Harrogate Road, Ripon, North Yorkshire HG4 3AQ
Tel: 01423 323190
• Site fee:
• Council Tax:
Included in site fee
• Gas electricity:
metered and billed by park
one per home permitted
This feature was published in the September 2011 issue of Park & Holiday Homes. To order a copy of Park & Holiday Homes please click here
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