Meet the owners - Dornafield Caravan Park
Dornafield Caravan Park is a multi-award-winning touring caravan and camping park in glorious south Devon between Torquay, Totnes, Newton Abbot and Dartmoor. A Caravan Club Affiliated Site now in its 24th year, with all grass and hardstanding pitches fully serviced. The focal point of the site is the lovely fourteenth century farmhouse, once besieged by irate Roundheads in the Civil War. The farm buildings have been turned into a shop, games room and tourist information.
How long have you been running your campsite for?
Simon has been running Dornafield since 1989 and Linda joined in 2012.
How did you first become owners of the site/what made you want to own and run a campsite?
The site was inherited from family. Simon started running Dornafield to assist his parents to fulfil a dream of developing the farm to a fully operational touring caravan park.
Tell us a little about your site and how it first began?
The development of Dornafield began in a shape or form of a caravan park in 1982 after being purchased in 1972 from what was a derelict farm.
What did you do before becoming the owners of this site?
Simon worked in the electronics industry, and Linda in social work.
What do you like most about being a campsite owner/manager?
Working with and meeting new people and seeing both returning and new customers. The comments we get from customers make us believe what we offer is worth all the hard work.
What are the challenges of running a campsite?
There are many challenges daily, and they are all different. A lot of our customers often say “Oh I would love a job like yours.” It is a hard life but with many rewards such as working with and meeting lovely people. We do not have a lot of time outside of Dornafield so it can be all consuming and 2020 has been the most challenging year ever.
What is a typical day like for you?
The day starts at 8am by answering emails and voicemails. We then check the work required for the day ahead, which could include machine maintenance, caravan tow on and tow off, grass cutting, and generally ensuring the pitches are up to standard for that day’s arrivals. We also take bookings and general telephone queries, check in guests and do lots of meeting and greeting. Then there’s all the purchasing and accounts for the park, sorting out the staff and any staffing issues. The day is long, full and complex.
What do feel makes your site special and appealing to the guests who return every year?
The rural location with easy access to the moor and the coast. The friendliness of the staff, the cleanliness of the facilities, the convenience of the fully serviced pitches and the family run atmosphere.
What do you love about the region your site is based in? Do you have any favourite locations/attractions?
Devon is the only county to have two National Parks and two separate coastlines spanning 330 kilometres. There’s also the quaint towns and villages full of local history and beautiful country pubs. Our favourite part is the views experienced when walking or driving across the moor and beyond.
What do you like to do on a rare day off?
Sleep! We will often take a drive to take in the beautiful scenery of the moor and coast where we will also enjoy a pub lunch.