Once the idea was sown Clare got down to business searching online for campsites for sale and registered with several “business for sale” agencies. I have to say now, Clare was the driving force at this time, she just loves an internet search challenge!
At this point we found out just how expensive campsites are! Undeterred, we set off in our trusty van to view some and get a feel for what you could get for your money. We were definitely looking at the lower end of the price bracket!
Although we had an open mind about where we wanted to live, the price quickly ruled out Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire, well pretty much everywhere except Cornwall, Devon, Wales, Scotland and the far north of England and Lincolnshire for some reason. We didn’t fancy Scotland (too cold and too dark for too long in the winter). Our first trip then – mid Wales!
The very first campsite we viewed belonged to a lovely English couple who had bought the site when he was made redundant from a biscuit factory 15 years earlier. They ran it as a hobby; something to occupy them before real retirement, not exactly ideal for us. We needed more income.
The site was called Aeron View and was near Tregaron (it’s still trading and has new owners, see link at the bottom). It consisted of several static caravans and some touring pitches. The most remarkable thing about it was that the owners fed dozens of Red Kites daily on the field with scraps from the local butcher! We were treated to a remarkable display whilst sitting in the sun in the owner’s garden drinking their cider; they let us camp for nothing too! We didn’t find a business that weekend but sure were enjoying looking for one!
The beautiful Harbour at Aberaeron near Aeron View Campsite.
Next stop Gower Villa touring site, Clunderwen near Narberth Pembrokeshire. What a contrast; this site, run by two single brothers looking to retire, was making money. They knew how to run a campsite, it was busy and many of the placements were booked as “seasonal pitches”. A seasonal pitch is one that is paid for in advance and reserved for the whole season – no need to tow your caravan home every Sunday evening, just leave it on site. We learnt a great deal from these boys – they were open enough to share their accounts and explain some of the finer points of campsite management, however although the “park-home” owners accommodation was superb the site just didn’t float our boat. It wasn’t somewhere we would have stayed and we though any changes were more likely to reduce the profits than increase them. We did have a great night out in the village pub, very friendly locals which was surprising given that the owners told us to expect otherwise; that’s the power of taking a cute, friendly dog to the pub!
Crazy dog barking on the beach near Aberaeron.
Time to head back to Hampshire and take stock; no closer to finding our dream lifestyle but much better informed.