Our Campsite: Nethergong Camping, Kent
Stepping into their parents’ shoes as second generation campsite owners Liz Morrell meets the brother and sister determined to do their parents proud
It’s the first day of April and brother and sister Lewis and Hannah are busy putting up a bell tent when I call them for an interview for the Our Site section of Camping Magazine. This is their very first week officially in charge of Nethergong campsite, after taking over the site from their parents Jed and Christine and I want to hear how they feel about taking over.
The site, which is based in Upstreet in Canterbury, was initially developed as a retirement project by their parents on land inherited from their grandfather. What began as a sideline has turned into a family business that Lewis, Hannah and her partner Dan will now take forward.
Hannah admits she is a bundle of nervous energy as she gets ready for the 2019 season opening for the beginning of the Easter Holidays. “It feels amazing,” she says. Previously a grants writer Hannah has actually worked onsite during season for around five years. Her brother Lewis has just sold the veg delivery box business he set up from the site to run the site alongside Hannah and her partner.
“We’ve had quite a long term transition. I’ve worked here for a good five years on and off and last year was the first time I was full time,” she says. Having grown up on the land herself she says that making the decision to join the site running full time was an obvious choice. “I absolutely love it. It was an easy decision to have the opportunity to take this on and continue doing what my mum and dad have put so much work into,” she says.
Lewis says he feels the same. “The land has been in our family since our grandad acquired it. It’s something that we have grown up with and is a place that we have always loved so as soon as we started having campers come and stay it’s always been on our radar. It’s an amazing thing to do. People are coming on holiday and enjoying a place we love, so for me to get involved is a no-brainer,” he says.
Both say they are looking forward to seeing their regular campers return this year. The site attracts around 80% return visitors. “You get used to seeing everyone – my three children have made lifelong friends with the campers’ children,” says Hannah. “It’s big shoes to fill but feel like we are ready for it,” she says.
And the third generation of owners may already be in the offing as both Lewis and Hannah already have their own children. “Their summer holidays are spent here and they all have jobs on the site,” laughs Hannah. “I would love for them to take it on if that’s what they wanted to do. They know they have a summer job for the long term at least.”
Nethergong Hill, Upstreet, Canterbury CT3 4DN
Read more about the Nethergong story later this year in the Our Site section of Camping magazine. If you have met great site owners that you feel we should interview in the Our Site section, or if you are a site owner with an interesting story to tell, then email firstname.lastname@example.org