Saturday, 25 February 2012

Caravan Club Great Days Out Mag - big savings on UK attractions

The latest Caravan Club Magazine is out this week.

Inside, amongst all the inserts, leaflets and advertising bumph, you will find the Club's "Great Days Out" magazine.  This contains hundreds of two for one entrance to UK attractions, free child entrance and many half price and money saving offers.  

Put it in your 'van and keep it handy, you never know, it could save you ££££'s this year.

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Friday, 24 February 2012

How relevant is mobile marketing to YOUR small business?

The following bulletpoints are a summary of the keypoints from a workshop run by the eBusiness Club, who provide free seminars and workshops on social media, SEO, email marketing, PPC and much more to small businesses in the East Midlands.

  • How important are your smartphone and tablet to you? Wouldn't be without it? Quite. We use our mobiles for everything
  • A mobile device is not JUST a Smartphone - think i-Pad, other tablets, Kindle and notebooks
  • You cannot ignore mobile access. Smartphones are now more numerous than PCs
  • Mobile web adoption is happening 8 times faster than it did originally on the PC
  • 3 out of 4 tablets sold today are i-Pads. Popular for both individuals and businesses, i-Pads are radically changing the way we use computers
  • Right now, there are whole sections of the community who cannot be reached by PC, only on mobile
  • By 2015, 65% of all internet access will be from mobile devices (source Mary Meeker)
  • Consumer research by Orange reveals that more men use mobiles to surf than women
  • The top 3 uses for i-Pad / tablet are: Gaming, Search and Email
  • Stunningly, 95% of websites don't work properly on mobile devices. Is your website optimised for mobile??
  • Use Google Analytics to tell you how many people are visiting your website on a mobile device. If they find it difficult to read, they may never return
  • Mind blowing statistic - "More than half of all mobile users have no specific purpose in mind while surfing"
  • Over 20% of email is now read on mobile, with desktop such as MS Outlook losing users. Click through MUST be to mobile content
  • Content which works best on a mobile are news, blogs, updates, social media, offers/vouchers/coupons, search, games and gadgets, lists and favourites
  • QR Codes are a way of turning a bit of paper into a website. Create your own at
  • More and more people now purchase goods on their mobile. Check out Amazon and eBay on your mobile to see how extremely well they do this
  • Be aware, many web-designers don't understand mobile websites. Ask for examples of their work and view it on your mobile to test what it looks like
  • Mobile marketing gives you a whole new box of toys to play with. Most of your competitors are not using these toys, so play away and get ahead of your competitors, now!
All above facts and statistics are courtesy of the  eBusiness Club, February 2012


Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Brand New Campsite Opening in the Peak District - Upper Hurst Farm

New campsites in The Peak District are rarer than hen's teeth, so when Sue Dillon contacted us about her brand new site, Upper Hurst Farm, Hartington, Derbyshire, we wanted to know much, much more.
Going back a few years, this was originally a thriving 30 acre dairy farm.  Sadly, business was affected by the downturn in the dairy industry and the UK recession but with a keen awareness of farm diversification opportunities, Sue, a former caravanner, with a steely determination to succeed, decided to restore this beautiful farm and it’s outbuildings to their original glory, for the enjoyment of the local population and future camping visitors.  

But how on earth, we were eager to know, did Sue get the holy grail of planning permission for a new campsite in the Peak District National Park, where the local authority are incredibly strict on new tourist and leisure developments?
Well, a few decades ago, Sue's business partner and owner of the farm, Frank, started taking tents and caravans in a spare field to earn a few bob on the side. This was the original, no-frills style of camping, with just a water tap and a midden (!) The complete opposite, in fact,  to the luxury camping experience which Sue and Frank have now created at Upper Hurst Farm Campsite.

So, the fact that there was an existing campsite at the farm, together with some heavy negotiation by Sue and ultimate compromise between her and the Local Authority, meant that planning permission was eventually granted, and Sue and Frank could start in earnest to fulfil their dream.
And this is exactly what they have done.
This is a luxury campsite for discerning campers.  Sue’s objective is “To have a smart, upmarket, Caravan Club standard site, but with fewer rules”.  The shower and loo block are in local stone, with under floor heating, the hard standing pitches are large, the grassy areas for tents is “huge”, which means that there will be plenty of room for tents of all sizes (a maximum of 6 pitches), and lots of space for children to play in safety.

This beautiful and unique site is just 2 miles from Hartington village, described by Sue as as a “real hotspot”.  The site is unusual in that it has virtually 360 degree “stunning views “ of the Peak District hills and countryside from every pitch.
Walking to many renowned and beautiful Peak District locations direct from the site is a major advantage of the site.  Nearby Beresford Dale connects to Hartington Village and from there to other dales, leading ultimately to the world famous Dovedale (approx 5 miles away).  For cyclists, there are more trails than you can shake a stick at – all the famous ones – Manifold, Tissington and High Peak, which will keep the keenest cyclists busy for days.
Sadly, most of us can only dream of living in such a perfect place, but from April 2012, thanks to Sue and Frank's hard work and determination, campers, caravanners and motorhomers can now share this little corner of Derbyshire for a night, a weekend or a precious few days away. 
Establishing a camp site at Upper Hurst Farm means that Sue and Frank can use the income generated to ultimately restore and convert the farm outbuildings into holiday cottages, retaining all the natural features such as wooden beams, hay cart doorways and original grit stone walls. In fact, all of the wooden furniture inside the cottages will be made from  200 year old reclaimed Douglas Fir, and Sue will  be machining much of it herself on Frank's benchsaw!  Restoring and converting the cottages means that even more visitors can enjoy and experience this wonderful place . . . . and that’s not a bad legacy, is it?
Above image : Southerly view from Upper Hurst Farm : Copyright Upper Hurst Farm 

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Friday, 17 February 2012

Follow on Twitter

AvailablePitch have been blogging since 2007 and we are pleased to announce that you can now find on Twitter
with the username @AvailablePitch. 

We will be tweeting about all sorts of things, including hints and tips for campers, latest news and gossip from the world of camping and caravanning and clever use of social media for campsites and caravan parks.

And we would love to hear from you, whether you are a camper, caravanner, involved in the industry or a campsite or caravan park owner.  We love re-tweeting, so let us have your comment, observations, ideas and news.

We hope you decide to follow us!

Happy Tweeting


Thursday, 16 February 2012

Caravan Club Closes Elvaston Castle Site

We got a letter yesterday from The Caravan Club, announcing the loss of the Elvaston Castle Site from it's network with immediate effect.   As regular visitors to this site, we are deeply saddened by this unexpected news. 

The reason given  in the letter is "considerable quality problems on the site resulting in several pitches being withdrawn from use, unacceptable maintenance costs and the belief that it is not of an acceptable standard for members"   Hmmm.  As a democratic, member-run Club, it would have been nice to have been asked our opinion first  . . . .

Living quite near to Elvaston Castle, we know that the whole estate, including the Caravan Club site, is owned by Derbyshire County Council.  The Caravan Club have leased the caravan site from the Council for over 40 years.

And for several years now there have been rumours that the Local Authority want to find a private sector investor who can turn the Castle and grounds into a luxury hotel and golf course.  There is considerable opposition to this plan, and indeed there is a local group actively opposing development plans for the Elvaston estate.   

We also remember that the Caravan Club previously announced the closure of this site two or three years ago, only for it to re-open  a few month later.   

OK, the site is not up to the usual high standard of most Caravan Club sites, but then not everyone wants to stay on a cloned, sanitised, samey type of site.  Elvaston had a unique atmosphere all of it's own, was run by friendly wardens and was regularly full or almost full.  It was also one of our favourites.

This closure truely is sad news indeed.