Cumbria holiday park is UK's ethical business of year

Skelwith Fold caravan park in Cumbria has been crowned as Britain's ethical business of the year in the Federation of Small Businesses and Worldpay UK Business Awards 2017.The family-run park in Ambleside was announced as the overall national winner in the "ethical business" category at the award finals in London on 10 May.Stepping up to receive the congratulations of judges at the glittering presentation ceremony at Shakespeare's Globe was park owner Henry Wild and his wife Hannah.

Skelwith Fold earlier this year triumphed in the North West heats of the awards, and was up against other ethically-driven firms from across the UK in a closely-fought contest.

The national title was awarded after judges made a close scrutiny of how the park was successfully integrating ethics into its business culture across a range of criteria.

Skelwith Fold, they said, is an inspiration to all small enterprises – and especially when it comes to protecting the environment and adopting forward-looking green policies,

The company is owned by the Wild family, and Henry Wild said the national honour was a fantastic achievement for the park which they acquired just over 20 years ago.

Skelwith Fold occupies the once-neglected 130-acre grounds of a former country house, and is now
described as "a wildlife wonderland" by world-famous botanist David Bellamy.

Thanks to the conservation work of Henry and his father Syd, the park today attracts red squirrels, red and roe deer, badgers and a huge number of bird species.

It has many high pollen-bearing plants on which honey bees and butterflies can forage, and a wetland reedbed system for the treatment of waste water.

Skelwith Fold also helps to keep alive traditional countryside skills in the maintenance of the park, including hedge-laying, coppicing and dry stone walling.

Henry says the Federation's award is a tribute to the tourism sector which Skelwith represents:

"In many ways, our business reflects the values of the parks industry as a whole which is largely made up of smaller, family-run enterprises built up over successive generations," he said.

"They have a genuine and deep-rooted concern for their staff, their customers, and the natural world – and are keen to pass on this ethos to the next family owners.

"Ethical business management, in my opinion, is simply about having respect for the people around you, and the natural environment which gives so much pleasure to everyone," he added.

Earlier this year, Henry stepped down from his two-year term as the national chairman of the park industry's official body BH&HPA to which around 3000 UK parks belong.

As well as the national winner's trophy, Skelwith Fold also received £2,000 in prize money.

The cash, said Henry, will provide a donation of £1000 each to two local good causes long supported by Skelwith Fold: the Great North Air Ambulance Service, and Nurture Lakeland.

Skelwith Fold provides caravan holiday homes for private owners plus pitches for people with touring caravans and motorhomes, and also luxurious "glamping pods" for hire.