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Top Gold David Bellamy Award – three years in succession:

Tees Valley couple named as role models for green tourism

A couple who have just scooped a top environmental accolade for their Tees Valley holiday park in NE England are “green tourism role models” according to botanist David Bellamy.

Husband-and-wife team Chris and Helen Brown of Drovers Way Holiday Caravan Park in the village of Elton have achieved the prestigious David Bellamy Conservation at its top gold level. The ten-acre park is one which Professor Bellamy has watched closely after accepting an invitation to declare it officially open three years ago. Based on a farm which has been in Chris Brown’s family since 1952,  the couple declared from the outset their intentions to run the business on sustainable lines.

It brought them the David Bellamy award in the first and second year, and now they have achieved a hat trick by securing the honour for the third year in succession. The accolade is presented to businesses making exceptional efforts to protect and enhance the natural world, and is based on an audit by Professor Bellamy’s Conservation Foundation. The report found that a raft of initiatives by Chris and Helen was ensuring that wildlife in the grounds were being made just as welcome as human guests.

The rich bird life at Drovers Way is supported by the siting of many bird boxes and the planting of hundreds of indigenous trees and shrubs which provide nesting habitats and food resources. Recently, the British Trust for Ornithology began a bird ringing project at the park which will help track the movements of species such as swallows, woodpeckers and owls. Birds, including kingfishers, are also drawn to the park’s two private fishing lakes which also act as a magnet for a wide variety of aquatic species including fresh water mussels and dragonflies. The park’s woodland areas and ancient hedges – plus a conservation buffer zone around the grounds – additionally provide a vast range of  habitats for animals such as deer and badgers.

Guests can enjoy spotting wildlife from a willow-dome bird hide, and there is also a nature trail with interpretation boards to help identify both animals and plants. Flora includes the park’s proliferation of wild flowers with high pollen-bearing blooms which attract a wide range of butterflies, including both common and less familiar types. The park will eventually provide almost 70 luxury holiday homes for private owners, and has already attracted buyers from the north and south of Britain, as well as overseas.

Helen Brown said that she and Chris were delighted to have been considered worthy of the top gold David Bellamy award for three years in succession: ”The family farm on which we are based has always been managed with careful consideration given to the natural environment, and our park is an extension of these practices,” she said. ”I hope the award will go some way to benefiting other local tourism providers by throwing the national spotlight on the what a wonderful place Tees Valley is for a holiday,” added Helen. More information about the park is available at

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