What’s Bay View Holiday Park like?
This summer's news at Bay View is that major new developments bring more holiday home choice and a 10,000-sapling woodland planting scheme is now completed
Bordering the shores of Morecambe Bay and less than an hour from the Lake District lies a holiday home park with growing appeal.
Growing – literally, in two ways: A new development means there are more holiday homes available to purchase this year, and an abundance of shrubs, plants and flowers have been planted to enhance the beautiful surroundings of the park.
Bay View, at Bolton-le-Sands, is, part of the Holgates group, which has five holiday parks, all amid scenic countryside straddling the border of north Lancashire and south Cumbria.
Their planting scheme brings 10,000 native-species trees to Bay View. The number of saplings represents two for every resident of the nearby town, Carnforth.
The idea, says owner Michael Holgate, is that the newly created mini-woodlands will eventually provide a massive boost to the area's biodiversity, like those which Michael recently created on the flagship Holgates Silverdale Park, on the southern tip of Cumbria.
Bay View has been created on former farmland; most trees disappeared long ago when the woodland was cleared to create grazing land. The new plantings will help return the landscape to the way it looked centuries ago.
The planting scheme is part of a hedging initiative that started in 2017 across all Holgates' Parks and has earned the park's recognition from the British Holiday and Home Parks Association David Bellamy Awards Scheme.
New holiday homes
Bay View's extended development creates more plots with views of the spectacular sunsets for which this park is famous, with its fabulous uninterrupted views over Morecambe Bay.
Holiday homes choice is wide at Bay View, from manufacturers Swift, Willerby, ABI and Pemberton. New, 2018 models are available as well as some well maintained second-hand holiday homes.
There is something for all budgets and tastes at Bay View.
We met up with three couples who love the Bay View holiday home lifestyle, first gathering in Bay View's stone-built restaurant for bacon sandwiches, and then chatting with them in their holiday homes. Here's what they told us…
Ken and Christine Lindsay
Home, for Ken and Christine, is at Horwich, near Bolton. They're in their fifth year of holiday home ownership at Bay View.
Like many holiday home-owners, they were previously touring caravanners: "We had a two-berth touring caravan. We came here for a weekend and fell in love with the place."
"Before we left, we picked a seasonal pitch and then upgraded to a four-berth touring caravan. Then came retirement, and we decided to have a look at statics," says Christine.
"Michael Holgate (the park's owner) gave us the keys to this one and said 'use it for the day and, if you like it, take the For Sale sign down."
"The following day we bought it and, a week later, moved all our stuff from the touring caravan, which we part-exchanged."
Christine and Ken welcomed us to their Willerby Rio after the bacon sandwiches. "It was already on this plot," says Christine.
Ken tells me some key reasons why they are so happy at Bay View: "This is a fabulously maintained park. And the staff are so helpful."
Cycling and walking are big attractions for Christine and Ken: A 38-mile round trip to Glasson Dock; to Lancaster alongside the canal and to the village of Nether Kellett.
"We cycle to a marina, only six miles away; there's a pub there that's good for lunch or coffee or a meal."
Buying a holiday home has been a part of a lifestyle change for Christine and Ken.
"We moved from a house into an apartment before we retired. We didn't any longer need a big house and there was a lot of gardening to do. The move frees up more time to come here, every weekend is a long weekend! And we've made lots of friends," says Christine.
Ken takes over: "We have barbecues frequently. And I like Sunday evenings when everyone is going home, and we are staying. We spend more time here than at home."
One of the attractions of Bay View is the proximity of the Lake District, little more than an hour north of the park. Ken explains: "We catch a bus to Windermere; that way, we avoid parking problems."
Open-top buses, ferries on the lakes, National Trust properties to visit, steam trains at Carnforth. The attractions are endless.
Other options include taking a train to Whitehaven and Carlisle along the coast route (three and a half hours) and then returning by the main line from Carlisle to Carnforth station (35 minutes).
Mark and Kathleen Graham
Mark and Kathleen's home is at Edgworth, near Bolton. It's a beef farm – most of the land is rented out now, so the couple have more time to spend at Bay View.
"We spend more time here than at home," says Kathleen.
They bought their holiday home last year. How did it come about?
"Our daughter and son-in-law have a touring caravan. They came here for a bank holiday, and we came to see them. We all came back on the following bank holiday and spotted a plot. It's elevated, with views."
"We decided we wanted that plot. Then we had to choose a holiday home. We did our research carefully." They picked a Willerby Sheraton.
Bay View is just an hour from their home. "I suppose we'll have to go home some time to mow the lawn," Mark laughs.
Their daughter and family have just arrived at Mark and Kathleen's holiday home at the time of our visit; they're staying for a holiday, planning to take in the Lake District's fair weather as well as wet day attractions.
The family assemble for our photographer; that's daughter Janine, son-in-law Craig, their son Isaac and daughter Chloe, while I take in the beautiful view from the big front windows. The kitchen's pretty impressive, too. "I have cooked more for the family here than at home since we bought this place," says Kathleen.
Geoff and Sandra Bevan
It's seven years since Geoff and Sandra bought a holiday home here. They live near the small town of Longridge, about an hour and a half away. "We love the location, there are hundreds of walks," says Sandra. I ask for more detail.
"Canalside walks. We walk to Lancaster, seven miles away, and Morecambe, five miles away. Walking is the main attraction for us. We can also walk to Kendal, along old canal tracks and ancient trails."
Geoff takes over: "Before we came here we looked at parks in North Wales and the Lake District. A friend had a caravan here. We came to visit and had a look around – and made the decision."
Their present holiday home is a Willerby Key West. "When we first came here we bought a different home. Then this one, overlooking the bay, came for sale, and we went for it."
Buying a holiday home here has meant a lifestyle change for Geoff and Sandra. "Every weekend is a holiday," says Geoff. "We come here most weekends including during the winter."
Sandra and Geoff have a seafront pitch with views of Grange-over-Sands and Ulverston in the distance, across the estuary. The sea comes over the grass occasionally. The grass on the shore is waving in the light breeze of the day. It's a picture of tranquillity. It's easy to understand why this place is such a great location for a holiday home.
The Bevans' holiday home is an unusual design, with a bay window as well as French doors; perfect for taking in the coast vista. The kitchen is set at an angle to the lounge. Their main bedroom is distinctly different, too; the bed is set into a corner with triangular cabinets behind it.
Address Bay View Holiday Park, Bolton-le-Sands, Carnforth, Lancashire LA5 9TN
Telephone 01524 732854