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    A wildlife-rich holiday park in Cumbria is recruiting guests to help identify animal habitats in its grounds - by signing on as "dropping spotters" during their woodland walks.

    Skelwith Fold Caravan Park in Ambleside says it is keen to log the spread and density of its wildlife population which includes red deer, red squirrels, badgers, hares and a wide variety of birds.

    One of the most effective ways to achieve this, believes Skelwith's Henry Wild, is to record where droppings are most commonly found.

    Armed with identification sheets which the park will provide, Henry hopes that holidaymakers' field reports will help to build a broad picture of Skelwith Fold's feathered and four-footed residents.

    "There are well over one hundred acres of parkland here, most of it wooded and criss-crossed by paths which guests enjoy exploring when they stay here," said Henry.

    "By asking them to cast their eyes downward from time to time, we could amass a huge amount of valuable data on what species favour particular locations.

    "This information will be invaluable in helping us to map our wildlife and encourage the conditions for their feeding and breeding," he added.

    Animal droppings and bird pellets can be quite distinctive, said Henry, and so too can their locations. Badgers, for example, dig out pits for their droppings, while foxes leave their deposits on tussocks.

    Many bird pellets can also be readily identified, he commented, like those left by owls and seed-feeding birds such as goldfinches.

    Skelwith Fold was named as the Holiday Park of the Year in 2010 by Cumbria Tourism, and has won a number of top green awards for its care of the natural environment.

    The park has also been praised in recent times by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales for its successful bid to re-introduce colonies of red squirrels in the grounds.

    Guests who wish to take part in dropping safaris will be issued with illustrated crib-sheets to help identify their finds, and a map of the park's grounds to mark their location.

    "We're hoping that this will catch the imagination of children especially as they love exploring with a purpose and making their own discoveries," said Henry.

    "Next year, we'll also be offering a small weekly prize for the youngster which records the most sightings on their safaris.

    "After giving it some thought, we've decided to let them choose between a book token - or a hardback set of AA Milne stories," he said.

    The Caravan & Motorhome show 2011 returns to Manchester Central from 20-23 January 2011 as the nation’s love with camping and caravanning continues. Tickets are now on sale and with more exhibitors than ever before, the show is the ideal place for enthusiasts and newcomers who have been inspired to consider a caravan, motorhome or camping holiday to start making plans for their 2011 adventures.

    An extra hall has been added for January’s show to make room for over 100 exhibitors - a phenomenal increase on last year’s 70 to give visitors more choice than ever before. The show will be the first opportunity for the North West caravanning community to see, explore and purchase all the latest 2011 caravan and motorhome models in one place. From Swift to Hobby to Lloyd Caravans, there’s a huge choice of touring caravans, motorhomes and holiday homes. Keen campers will also find a variety of tents and accessories at the best possible prices in the Riversway Accessories Superstore. This year, new exhibitor, Yeoman’s will launch a ‘Tent Pitching Championship’ where visitors will race against the clock to pitch up their tent in super quick time for the chance to win a Yeoman’s tent.

    For those who come to the show in search of inspiration for their next holiday, there will be campsites and destinations from around the UK and Europe, providing the best starting point and plenty of ideas of where visitors can enjoy their next adventures.

    Representatives from The Camping & Caravanning Club, The Practical Caravan, The NCC and many others, will be on hand to answer any questions and offer useful advice on everything from how to find the perfect destination for a camping or caravanning holiday, through to sourcing specialist insurance and finance packages.

    There will also be many more attractions on offer to keep all family members entertained, including a cookery and expert talks theatre, farmers’ market and Gulliver’s KidZone, making for a great family day out.

    Clarion show director, Sam North says “Each year we’re amazed at the level of interest from exhibitors and visitors alike. We’re confident that the extra hall coupled with 40 per cent more exhibitors this year will make the show a huge success and help maintain it’s postion as the number one caravanning and motorhome show in the North West. We’re aiming for 20,000 visitors in 2012 so this will be a great starting point”.

    Whether visitors wish to make a purchase, hear interesting and informative talks on a range of topics or improve their gastronomic skills in the cookery theatre, there’s something for everyone at the Caravan & Motorhome Show 2011, Manchester Central.
    Advance day tickets cost just £6.50 compared to £8 on the door, and kids go free! (aged 16 and under).

    Tickets can be booked online at www.caravanshows.com or on the ticket hotline number 0844 209 7351

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