Ten years ago Birch Hill Farm CL won the Caravan Club’s (as the Club was called then) “CL of the Year” and I thought it would be interesting to stay on site and see how things were going ten years on. Success has continued as it won Practical Caravan’s “Best Small Site” award in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
The Club has around 2500 CL owners under the scheme – in an over simplistic nutshell these are sites allowed to take up to five outfits, only Club members can use them, maximum stay 28 consecutive days and the site has to comply with a small but important range of standards such as safe water and so on. By their very nature and a key part of their attraction is the wide variety of types on the network. The Club’s Sites Directory is at pains to describe each one; open all year or not, hardstandings or not and so on – so the member can choose what suits their needs and, typically, members get to know what suits them best and therefore develope a list of favourites. Some Club members so prefer the CL network they rarely make an appearance at any of the 200 Club sites.
When you stay at Birch Hill you can see almost immediately why it won in 2007 but more importantly it becomes obvious that far from resting on their laurels, owners Ian and Janet Kelly have continued to maintain a seemingly impossibly high standard and make further improvements. WiFi boosters for the free WiFi, a combined online booking and personal telephone system, a bespoke dog tag with the site’s details, masses of tourist information and a functional website that might put some larger sites to shame. One of the reasons it is easy to get to is because there is an arrival video of the website which makes life so much easier – on this occasion I was a solo motorhomer and believe me an arrival video is invaluable!
So I salute the policy of continuous improvement which is very much in evidence here and, when all is said and done, deepest Shropshire near the town of Ellesmere is not a bad spot to find yourself in at the beginning of November. Oh, and of course it’s open all year which is important to me as an all year round active motorhomer.