As we continue to introduce you to the owners of the Best of British holiday parks, we're now heading to Somerset! We focus on family/independently owned and run holiday parks. Bath Chew Valley Caravan Park is a great example of a small and dedicated team providing a personal service to its visitors. As one of our smaller parks, they demonstrate just what a great team can achieve.
With 45 pitches, you'll be assured of personal service. We caught up with Keith Betton, Owner, to tell us about the park and the team. Note, we occasionally shorten Bath Chew Valley Caravan Park to CVCP.
1. Tell us about the history of CVCP and the area in which you are based…
Bath Chew Valley Caravan Park is a short walk from the lovely Chew Valley Lake in Somerset. The lake, along with sister lakes at Blagdon and Litton are premier wildfowl reserves and fishing centres set in the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The valley is a serene, rural landscape of farmland, orchards and picturesque villages between the wonderful cities of Bath, Bristol and Wells.
The Betton family have owned the park since 1998, deciding that its location and character were ideally suited to the growing demand for tranquil, high quality, ‘adults only’ holidays. The park holds a multitude of awards for its guest facilities and the conservation of countryside and wildlife around it.
2. Please introduce your team…
Three generations of our family have managed Bath Chew Valley Caravan Park. I, Keith, took over the business when my father retired in 2004.
Marc, my son, shares the daily management of the park along with a team of dedicated staff looking after guest relations, grounds care, house-keeping and maintenance. Jo runs reception, Paul, Rich and Simon keep the park grounds and facilities up to 5-Star standards.
Between us, we have over 50 years’ experience of camping, caravanning and motorhomes. This knowledge has become very helpful with the number of recent guests who are completely new to the hobby.
3. What are the values that are your unique selling point as a holiday park?
We set out to provide first class service and facilities that guests can enjoy in comfort through every season. We are the only five star graded touring park in Bath and North East Somerset.
At the same time, we offset the environmental impact of these facilities and energy consumption with conservation measures. Our garden style landscaping, setting aside 25% of the park’s space as a woodland trail, traffic management and solar energy generation are all complementary to the tranquillity and wildlife which makes this area so special. Collaborating with the local community is also important to us so that park guests, and their dogs, are welcomed in the inns and other village businesses.
4. What is life as a park owner like?
Looking forward to Christmas...
... switching on the park’s festive illuminations and decorating lodges in November is a delight. Soon after, decorated caravans and motorhomes adorn our pitches bringing a very special atmosphere for all. It is then time for the team to plan for the coming season. New features or facilities upgrades, shower-room refurbishments, equipment replacement, pitch repair and tree maintenance. These all have to be scheduled into the quieter periods to minimise any guest inconvenience on an all year round park.
5. What makes CVCP a 5 star experience?
Bath Chew Valley’s country garden ambience and tranquillity is the first impression on arrival. After a long tow, caravanners appreciate arriving at their pitch to find the team have valet parked and levelled their ‘van ready to unload and start their holiday. Our attention to detail is always noticed, consistent with our aim to achieve the highest ratings in hospitality grades.
In 2021, the park retained its 5 Star Visit England grade with a 97% inspection report, similar to the AA’s 5 Platinum Pennant inspection. Pitches are well gravelled with clean borders, pristine lawns, shrubs and hedging. Facilities are all under cover, conveniently close to the touring pitches. Having 10 individual, hotel-style shower-WC rooms eliminates queuing, even in peak season, and our cleaning regime keeps them scrupulously clean.
Short distances between pitches and facilities, unobtrusive park lighting and toasty-warm shower rooms, makes the difference through the cooler months. All facilities are under-cover. Our staff are friendly, knowledgeable and always ready to help. In fact, the whole village is accommodating to park guests, especially the dog-friendly Red Lion Inn a few minutes’ walk along the lane.
6. What Awards have you won?
- Visit England 5 Star Touring Park (20+ years)
- AA 5 Platinum Pennants (10+ years)
- Trip Advisor Travellers Choice 2021 (5 years)
- David Bellamy Gold Award 2021 (20+ Years)
- TOP 100 Sites Best Open All Year Park 2018 (10+ years)
- TOP 100 Sites Best Adult Only Park 2019 (10+ years)
7. What local attractions would you suggest your visitors experience while staying with you?
There is a wide and varied choice of activities around the park. Chew Valley Lake and Blagdon Lake are on our doorstep. Bristol, Bath (below) and the city of Wells are all in close proximity.
There are a number of National Trust properties locally, such as Tyntesfield House in Bristol and Dyrham Park in Bath. Due to our location, lots of tourist hot spots can be reached easily, such as Cheddar Gorge. And if you've never seen the International Balloon Fiesta in Bristol, we're merely miles away!
8. How have you made CVCP a Covid-secure environment?
Bath Chew Valley Caravan Park is accredited COVID19 Secure by Visit England and the AA.
Each member of staff understands the importance of the precautions to be taken at all times, while being attentive to guest’s questions and confidence. Guests benefit from contactless booking and check-in, while all touch surfaces, for example, water taps and electric hook up connections, are sanitised at each change over.
The park’s shower/WC facilities benefit from not sharing a communal entrance. These are rigorously cleaned and disinfected at least three times each day. Hand sanitiser and disinfectant is provided in each unit for guests’ use. Hand sanitiser stations are also located around the park. Social distancing and one-way systems have been practised throughout. Local information panels have been erected at the park entrance and an on-line shop is available for camping necessities and gas.
9. What are your hopes for the 2021 season?
We are looking forwards to a time when the pandemic subsides, when more local attractions re-open and guests can enjoy more of the countryside and things to do around the park.
Asking guests to curtail a holiday, pack-up and leave the park in successive lock-downs has been the saddest thing we have ever had to do.
10. Your top tip for first time tourers...
Explore your new ‘van at home, with the manual, before travelling. The fading light of evening is not the best time to discover the heater won’t run on gas or why the fresh water has just run out from underneath the ‘van and along the pitch...
Thank you very much to Keith at Bath Chew Valley Caravan Park for taking part in our 'Meet The Owners' series! To view more about the park and check availability, please click here.