Peak District and eco glamping farm up for national staycation awards

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The Peak District is in the running for a top award celebrating Britain’s best ‘staycation’ destinations and attractions, along with a very special Brassington business.

The national park and surrounding areas have been shortlisted in the rural location of the year category at the i news Staycation Awards 2019, competing against Northumberland, and Dumfries and Galloway.

With visitor numbers continuing to rise year on year, contributing £2.3billion to the local economy in 2018, clearly many Brits feel the peaks are a perfect spot for a short break.

Jo Dilley, managing director of Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire, the area’s official tourist board, said: “We all know what a wonderful place the Peak District and Derbyshire is and we are thrilled to have been shortlisted in the Rural Staycation of the Year category.

“Thanks to our award-winning accommodation providers and attractions, our stunning landscapes and fascinating heritage, it’s no wonder the area is becoming the destination of choice with more than 42 million people visiting in 2018.”

She added: “Holidaying at home is a growing trend and we were delighted to see a 13.5 per cent increase in overnight stays last year, proving that our innovative marketing campaigns that showcase the area as a great place to stay are really paying off.

“Tourism is vitally important to the Peak District and Derbyshire, both in terms of employment and economic growth, and this nomination is great recognition of the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in the industry across the area.”

Tourism in the Peak District and Derbyshire supports over 30,000 jobs and attracted 42 million people to the area in 2018.

Among them are David and Felicity Brown, whose Hoe Grange Holidays site between Bakewell and Ashbourne mixes working farm life with deluxe log cabins, glamping pods and a heritage caravan.

The business is in contention for the sustainable tourism category, having been nominated initially by a satisfied customer.

David and Felicity Brown, owners of Hoe Grange holidays.

David and Felicity Brown, owners of Hoe Grange holidays.

Felicity said: “It was amazing to hear the news. We had no idea we’d been put forward for it, so it came as a complete surprise. It makes all the effort feel worthwhile.

“Sustainability is a personal ethos we have carried into the business. We are so lucky to have a national park on our doorstep and are passionate about ensuring the Peak District is a sustainable and accessible tourist destination for generations to come.”

She added: “Staycations have definitely been on the increase over the years. When we started, a lot of people took one real holiday a year now they are taking more short breaks instead.”

“We’re very fortunate to be in this location, with huge populations close by in Birmingham, Manchester and London. That’s a lot of people looking for an escape to the countryside.

“We’ve got fresh air, stunning scenery, and long walks, plus cycling holidays have really taken off in the last few years.”

The sustainable tourism award celebrates the locations, attractions and accommodation providers which put environmental responsibility at the core of what they do.

Environmental concerns have been central to Hoe Grange ever since David decided to diversify his sources of income from the 250 acres of land which his family has farmed for generations.

He said: “We have always been conscious of our impact on the environment and wildlife, sourcing water from a bore hole and using a combination of wind, solar and biomass energy supplies to reduce our use of fossil fuels by more than 80 per cent.

“We also encourage carbon-free days out for our guests, providing them with information to see the beautiful area surrounding the farm on foot, bike or even horseback.”

David and Felicity have also worked with the local Wildlife Trust and Derbyshire Amphibian and Reptile Trust to restore ponds and wildlife areas on the farm.

In the past year, they have opened an on-site shop selling holiday essentials and take-home gifts from local arts, crafts, and food producers, and they are currently looking to invest in a new battery array to store more of the electricity they generate.

Then there are added touches such as a wood-fired pizza oven and hot tub which guests can book, an electric car charging point, facilities for guests to bring their own horses, and electric bikes for people less inclined towards pedal power.

As well as sustainability, they have also put a strong emphasis on accessibility with facilities suited to guests with different physical needs.

The result has earned a Green Tourism Gold Award, Peak District Environmental Quality Mark and TripAdvisor’s Green Leaders Platinum Award.

Hoe Grange is also currently in the running for three categories of the Peak District & Derbyshire Tourism Awards: accessible and inclusive tourism; ethical, responsible and sustainable tourism; and camping, glamping and holiday park of the year.

The Staycation Awards will be held in London in November, while winners of the Peak District & Derbyshire Tourism Awards will be announced in early 2020.

nFor more information visit www.hoegrangeholidays.co.uk. The Staycation Awards are sponsored by the Derbyshire Times’ parent company JPIMedia and holidaycottages.co.uk. For full details, see staycationawards.co.uk.