Warren Parc is a holiday home caravan and chalet park in the beautiful Dyfi Valley. Our 100 holiday homes are all privately owned by families and couples who return to enjoy the peace and tranquillity and explore Mid Wales year after year. Some have been returning to Warren parc for over 30 or 40 years; most travel from the Midlands and Shropshire but we’ve found in recent years more are coming from North and South Wales, and we even have a couple of owners who live as far away as Southampton.
Our customers are really important to us. We get to know them and their families well over the years, with many years of interaction and support. Nothing makes us happier than to see them relaxing and enjoying their time here between the challenges of everyday life, making friends within the park community or sharing a picnic with a neighbouring family. They look after one another, water one another’s flowers or invite elderly owners for tea and children play together and make lifelong friends. We see families return who have spent their childhood holidays here and want their own children to enjoy the same experience. They’re all individuals with their own stories and needs and it’s a pleasure to be able to provide a little R&R for them all in our own beautiful little corner of the world.
Obviously it’s not always plain sailing…as owners and managers we live on site and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and because it’s like running a little village, we have to be flexible, take care of everything, and try to keep it all running smoothly while still smiling! There are always challenges and we will always try to do our best for our customers, so regular time off and holidays for ourselves are difficult to find. We’ve learnt that you have to take the opportunity for a break, even if it’s just a quick walk locally, whenever you can, because quiet time at home doesn’t often happen; there is always either someone knocking at the door, the phone is ringing or there’s a job to do, and as we all know people on holiday don’t do 9-5, we’re expected to be contactable, efficient, prompt and helpful 24/7, and no matter what plans we have for the day ahead there is always something different to do!
I think the great thing about a family business is that we can be flexible and when recession or challenging times present themselves we have the opportunity to review what we do and how we do it and to make changes quickly. When our business was closed due to Covid the first thing that worried us were our customers; the majority are elderly and many had health issues, and like everyone we wondered what kind of future was ahead, but it gave us time to explore some new digital technology, and new ways of doing things, (and the time to sit down and eat a meal together without interruption!) and when we re-opened there was huge demand from new customers most of whom were friends or family of existing owners already on site, which was very welcome.
Neil and I took over the running of the park in January 2000, when my parents retired. Dad has always still been involved in the business, which can bring its challenges as well as its advantages but we all adapted well to working together as a family, and have learned to recognise and appreciate our individual strengths and weaknesses to share the workload (my skills don’t include accounting, but thankfully Neil is fabulous at Maths!). I think that’s the same in any small team or family business; you have to support and encourage one another for it to be successful. Our previous careers could not have been further from tourism. Neil started his post grad life as a manager of several branches of McDonalds in Central Birmingham, before becoming a financial advisor and then an early years teacher, and I trained as a nurse, and enjoyed working in Neuro surgery, elderly care and mental health. My nursing career has always been incredibly valuable as we often find ourselves comforting customers following bereavement or ill health, but we love hearing about their family highlights too. I found it incredibly difficult at first coming from a caring role into a commercial one, but as I discovered how valuable our industry is to people’s wellbeing and mental health I found it really rewarding and fulfilling. We help create precious lovely family memories, in a diverse holiday community, and that feels like a great privilege.
Our family moved here 50 years ago to build and develop Warren Parc. My father was looking for a farm not a holiday park but was persuaded by a local farmer that caravans were a great prospect. During that time things have changed enormously from small static caravans without bathrooms to the luxury double glazed and centrally heated twin units of today. The awful old block-built toilet blocks of the 70’s were replaced and sales once undertaken on a handshake replaced with contracts, licences, legislation and virtual tours and technology. The current digital world evolves fast and continues without boundaries or 9-5 restrictions. When my parents ran a café here in the 70’s they said you could just get on and do it without inspections or licencing, but we all now find ourselves with the relentless challenges of red tape and legislation, mostly for good reason, but meaning that like most careers it takes us further away from the face to face and increasingly confines us to the office.
As landowners we feel a strong responsibility for our natural environment. When we first came into the business, this felt like an uphill struggle but over time I think the general public and local government are much more on board, and we’ve been fortunate to have been accredited with a gold award for Conservation by the BH&HPA for many years.
Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the opening of Warren Parc and we are already starting discussions to encourage the next generation to step in to join us in the next few years. It feels like an exciting opportunity (their technology skills are far better than ours!) and it’s always important to be looking forward with fresh eyes, open minds and energy.
We’ve always valued the support of our neighbouring tourism businesses, organisations and attractions. We all depend on one another for a successful future in the industry, and we must work together and take care of our local environment and communities for tourism to be successful going forward. For this reason we believe it’s so important to be members of Mid Wales Tourism, we need organisations that work together, communicate well and unite everyone no matter how large or small. A strong tourism community is powerful, supportive and flexible, and we’ve always been particularly grateful for their friendly open-door approach and valuable IT skills, which personally help us reach out and build a better customer and support network. As Covid restrictions have taught us, community and communication is so important in all aspects of our lives and business. Mid Wales is a beautiful part of the world and we all need to work together and listen to one another to take care of it and support and safeguard both our customers and our tourism industry.
Warren Parc, Penegoes, Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 8NN
Tel: 01654 702054
>> Visit Warren Parc website
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