Stories of a Caravan Site Ranger at Ilam Park

Aerial view of Ilam Park caravan site

Miri and Len Hammond have been volunteering as Caravan Site Rangers for a few weeks a year at Ilam Park since 2007. Read on for their experiences and an insight into this role.

Signing up

In 2006, Len and I came for a holiday. We saw a notice on the office door asking for volunteer Wardens (now called Rangers).
We had a chat with Eileen and John who were the wardens on duty. They gave us a form to fill in and the following year we did our first 4 weeks.

Friendly faces

We like chatting to people and what better way to get to meet folks from all walks of life, either on site or over the gate when they tell us they never knew the caravan site was there.
We tell them it is ‘Derbyshire’s best kept secret’. One lady asked us how to pronounce Ilam. She said she tells people she is going to visit 11 AM!

Our role

We like to keep the site looking nice and trim so that guests have a good first impression. The weekends are always busy and the site is full of various sets of friends requesting pitches together.
With only 20 pitches, we do a good job of juggling and breathe a sigh of relief when a plan comes together.
We get regulars coming back and it is always nice to catch up with them. If everyone leaves the site happy having enjoyed their stay, then we feel happy too.

Problem solving

One Easter we had a heavy fall of snow overnight. Two caravans woke up to their awnings buckling under the weight of the snow. We helped them take them down and put them in the shed to dry out.
Later, the two families went out walking and returned wet through from head to toe. They had been rolling down the hills and into the drifts up against the dry stone walls. So more outer wear went into the shed to dry out. The families said they had had the most fun ever. The next morning the snow had gone and we were amazed at how much wet gear we could get into the shed at the same time.

Nature visits

I remember a couple coming to tell us one morning they thought they’d had an intruder during the night. The lady had awoken to rustling in her awning. She woke her husband to investigate and when he looked out of the window he couldn’t see anyone, but could hear the rustling.
Further investigation found a very large hedgehog had got into an empty carrier bag and couldn’t get out again. Panic Over.
Another family had left their plastic cereal boxes in the awning only to find the squirrels had got in and opened up the containers the cereal was all over the floor. It was a good thing we had some bread, toast all round!