Greendale Caravan and Camping Park, on the edge of the pretty Rutland village of Whissendine, is a five-star adults-only campsite, with 12 grass and hardstanding pitches - all with electric hook up - set in immaculately landscaped grounds and surrounded by farmland.
After a year's trial this campsite has chosed to go totally non-smoking. 2010 gave them their eighth year of David Bellamy awards and were also the Regional FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) Winners of the Award for Service Excellence.
The campsite offers a heated toilet and shower block, laundry services, a shop selling basic provisions, a tourist information area and small lending library, useful items for hire such as bbqs and bicycles and a heated outdoor swimming pool. So what is it then that makes Greendale so special? Well, lets start with wildlife - which all started with putting up one birdfeeder.
It turned out that there was so much visitor interest that the owners put more and more up. Now every pitch has a clear view of a birdfeeder, and visitors will find it really relaxing just sitting and watching the birds on the feeders. There are now around 10 birdfeeders on the campsite and lots of bird boxes too - so far over 77 different species of birds have been spotted from the site (even two incredibly rare bitterns were spotted here) and visitors are encouraged to log what they see on a Bird Identification list in the shop that is surrounded by photographs of bird sightings. The bird boxes are for tree sparrows, a critically endangered species that seem to be rather partial to a spot of Greendale hospitality.
The couple actively encourage other wildlife on the campsite too, and have received a Gold David Bellamy award for their efforts. Wild rabbits, frogs, and plenty of butterflies on the flourishing Buddleia are often to be seen, and you might even spot a badger or water vole if you’re lucky as there is a small brook that runs along the edge of the campsite.
Eco friendliness is a big part of day to day life at Greendale. All the lights operate on sensors, the pretty outdoor swimming pool is heated by solar panels, there are compost bins dotted around the site and all visitors are encouraged to conserve water, which, by and large, they do.
After spending much of their married life caravanning and camping, it seems as though the owners have thought of everything at Greendale. Walk into the small on site shop and one of the first things you notice is a whole range of things for hire. Barbeques, blow up mattresses, tents - you can even borrow blankets if you’re cold. There is a fridge for campers to use and at the back of the room, along with hundreds of tourist information leaflets and local restaurant information (there is a whole folder full of the restaurant recommendations of previous guests), is a small lending library, stuffed with well read paperbacks and plenty of reference books too – birdwatching and photography being particularly popular.
The shop’s shelves are full of everyday essentials, like milk, bread and toiletries, and there is plenty of local produce too. The free-range eggs come from a Whissendine farm, the bacon from a butcher down the road, and there’s a shelf full of homemade jams, chutneys and honey, which are made in the village. You can even buy a bag of organic Whissendine flour – ground at the picturesque village windmill.
There is more than enough to do to fill a week, or even two, staying on this quiet site. If you’re feeling active – well, you can hire one of the brand new bicycles and borrow one of the laminated cycle route sheets which will guide you round the sights of the surrounding countryside. The two windmill ride, with a stop for lunch at a local pub, is particularly popular we're told.
Feeling artistic? Then there is a range of art materials to borrow – and Sue will offer a few tips to get you started, or you can join Tuesday’s art group, with tea and homemade cakes thrown in too. On Wednesday you can take a photography class, and on Thursday how about an introduction to birdwatching? You’ll soon be able to identify what you’re seeing on the birdfeeders, and one guest told us that it’s worth going for the cakes alone! Of course if you’d just like to relax, then sit and read a borrowed book at one of the picnic tables dotted around the site, or have a dip in the heated pool.
On this super peaceful campsite, the only noise you’ll hear is the chirrup of birdsong - and maybe the occasional tractor. You won’t need to worry about being disturbed by running, jumping, dive-bombing children either – as Greendale is adults only. With only 15 pitches, this quiet little site offers more than its share of added extras, from being able to borrow a barbeque to having your breakfast cooked for you on Sunday – it’s like staying with old friends, an ambience that the owners work hard to create.
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