A HOLIDAY park near Thirsk has been recognised by top botanist David Bellamy for its commitment to sustaining and encouraging wildlife on its site.

York House Holiday Park at Balk retained its Gold Conservation Award for the 15th year running for its “many positive environmental activities” and all the “wonderful projects” that have been put in place to help protect wildlife.

The park has participated every year for nearly two decades in the David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme, which champions holiday parks that are working to protect and enhance wildlife.

York House also retained its status as a Honey Bee Friendly site, with managers and groundsmen including Paul Sorbie, praised for their efforts in encouraging bees to the site. In addition, they received a Wildflower Habitat badge for features such as “a magnificent 1422.5m of native hedge”.

The 23-acre site is home to a variety of wildlife including rabbits, squirrels, stouts, hedgehogs, bats and a visiting fox. Birds include chaffinches, sparrows, blackbirds, thrushes, pheasants and swifts, while barn owls can be heard and sometimes seen at night. Ducks and mallards love to bathe in the new water feature on Bishops Brook.

The park’s ponds and beck also provide habitat for aquatic animals and birds including grayfish, bull heads, trout and water voles, while a resident pair of moor hen have made Abbots Green their home for the past five years, producing at least two sets of chicks annually. The same pond is also home to carp and is visited by Canada geese and herons.

Park manager John Reay said: “We’re delighted to once again receive the David Bellamy Conservation Award in recognition of our efforts and commitment to protecting and enhancing the environment at York House and Abbots Green. We are so grateful for the hard work of our wonderful staff, particularly our groundsmen, in keeping our park as wildlife-friendly as possible.

“We are incredibly lucky to be located within the tranquil and beautiful countryside between the Hambleton Hills and the Yorkshire Dales, and it just makes sense to us to continue our love of nature within the park itself. Many of our residents and guests really appreciate the abundance of wildlife in our grounds, and we encourage them to get involved in our conservation efforts as much as possible.”