Hillside Caravan Park was founded by the Cook family in 2005 as a farm diversification project to help support the farming enterprise. The farm has been in the family since 1966 during which time three generations have farmed dairy and beef cattle which then progressed to solely arable land from 2003 onwards. After many years of happy caravanning trips around the country, and experience of running two Certificated Location sites, when the opportunity to diversify came, setting up a caravan park seemed the obvious choice.
The caravan park opened in summer of 2006 with 35 touring caravan pitches and a purpose built amenities block and caravan storage facility run by the owners Chris and Pat Cook. Whilst setting up the site, Chris and Pat decided from their experience of caravanning with three young children, having all fully serviced super pitches was the way to go. This proved extremely popular with our customers and in 2012 we decided that the time was right time to expand. We added a further 15 extra-large super pitches set overlooking the lake. With an increasing workload our son, Mark, who had previously worked in farm administration, came to work for the family business.
After a number of years running the business from the farmhouse kitchen (as some of our long standing customers will remember), we decided the next step was to provide a reception area. With some redundant farm buildings at the entrance to the site we identified the perfect location. We developed these into a new reception area, along with a coffee lounge, three family wet rooms and a holiday apartment. This was officially opened in 2016 by one of our first seasonal pitch customers, who had been with us for the full 10 year period.
Our next step was to diversify slightly from caravanning after keeping our eye on the ‘glamping’ trend over a number of years. We added two Mega Pods, which after a successful year then multiplied to four. These have been extremely popular and may increase, with planning permission in place to extend to 8 in the future.
Next in the pipeline we have Hillside Meadow Lodges opening in spring 2018. These will be owner occupied Holiday Lodges and provide a perfect location for those wanting to make a bigger commitment to holidaying in North Yorkshire.
To cope with the increasing workload we have taken on two local employees who provide valuable work to keep the site running smoothly. Keiran, a keen cricketer for Stamford Bridge CC, can often be seen working with Chris and Mark around the site as well as his new role in promoting and advertising the park. Sarah, who also runs her own cake baking company and Kate, a keen Newcastle United fan provide valuable support to Pat, who is often the first to welcome customers to the site in the reception area. Mark’s two siblings John and Ruth are both involved in the site from time to time, alongside their management careers outside the family business.