THE White Horse Country Park, which is situated on the outskirts of Westbury, is moving ahead with plans to bring more visitors to the town with a new touring caravan and camping site.
Derek Hulin and Shaun May bought the land and leisure facilities at the Lafarge Cement Works site back in 2009 in a £1.5m deal. Since then, they have been investing much more time, money, and effort in transforming the park into an all-inclusive leisure venue for families in Westbury, as well as attracting people to the town from further afield. While the park continues to be a favourite with golfers and fishermen it now has plenty to offer local families and visitors.
When Derek and Shaun took over the land they acquired the clubhouse, 9-hole golf course, fishing area, and model railway. Their main project over the last 12 months has been to transform the clubhouse, installing a new kitchen, new toilets, changing facilities, and disabled facilties, as well as redecorating the exterior. Other developments include a conference room and a children’s play area, while a new patio area is currently under construction.
The next priority is to get a 300-yard, floodlit driving range open in spring next year, a project that the park had hoped would be simple and quick but that they say has been hampered by the “bureaucracy” of Wiltshire Council’s planning system. Land has been allocated to extend the golf course to 18 holes in the future, while crazy golf is another activity the park owners hope to introduce.
The latest development is the submission of a planning application for a touring caravan and camping site and chalet accommodation, with plans for 60 touring caravan pitches and 50 camping pitches. In addition, the park plans to extend the fishing lake.
Derek explained, “Obviously we want to make money, but if we’ve got 60 caravans and all those people using us as a base, there’s going to be people using the facilities and shops in Westbury. If we can get the caravans in, and we’d like to get the holiday lodges in as well, once we get the whole of the complex done we’ll have 15-20 full- time staff on site, and part-time staff as well.
“So many people think that we are a members’ club, but we are open to all – with free car parking and free access to the grounds and clubhouse. People can come along and enjoy food and drink, and while they can become members for golf or fishing. we also offer a pay- as-you-go arrangement for both.
“We’ve got free parking which is something that is increasingly hard to find and although we may be out of town, we have a minibus facility where you can just ring up the club and we can go out and pick you up.
“We’ve put most of our investment and focus on the clubhouse over the last 12 months. We do food all day until late, we’re going to reintroduce live music on Friday evenings. We’ve also got a fenced in children’s area and we’ve even got CCTV from the area to the bar so that you can watch your children while you’re drinking – it’s little things like that, that set us apart. We’ve got the Sky package so we can show all the matches.”
Food is available from 10.00am and includes a daily bar menu and specials, with an emphasis on pub classics and traditional homecooked food. The park offers an ideal location for a leisurely Sunday lunch, and can also cater for conferences, weddings, children’s parties, and other special occasions. The park is now taking bookings for Christmas.
Derek and Shaun have always hoped that their project will bring something special to Westbury. “We’re a typical country park but better – many don’t have a driving range or fishing lake!” Derek said. “We’ve got the golf where you can be a member or pay and play, we’ve got the fishing lake where you can be a member or pay daily, we’ve got the rugby club here now, and the bowls club who are always looking for new members. And it’s a beautiful place to be.”