Practical Caravan Magazine 'Best Small Site' 2014, 2013 & 2012
National First Prize Winner - Caravan Club 'CL of the Year' 2007
Birch Hill Farm, The Cross, Ellesmere, Shropshire, England, SY12 0LP Telephone: 01691 622951
An award-winning caravan site, in the beautiful lake-lands of Shropshire, open all year, exclusively for Caravan Club member holidays.
One mile North of Ellesmere in rural Shropshire, Birch Hill is an award-winning Caravan Club CL Certificated Location for members of the Caravan Club. It is a quiet hideaway in the heart of England, open summer and winter for up to 5 touring caravans or motorhomes. The 5CL caravan park is dog-friendly and enjoys pleasant panoramic views across a wide expanse of green gently rolling hills: on a clear day we can see 9 counties: Shropshire plus Cheshire, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Lancashire, Merseyside, Powys, Staffordshire, and Wrexham.
Quotations about Birch Hill from the Caravan Club Magazine February 2005 - "a nice CL from which to marvel... spacious... hook-ups... woodland walkies track… information packs for newcomers… Great Site, lovely location and always a warm welcome..." - travel writer John Bateman visited and wrote about us in his 'On Location' article for the Caravan Club magazine.
If we were to attempt to describe our typical holiday visitors, we would say, slightly tongue-in-cheek, 'a semi-retired couple with a rescue-dog, and perhaps bicycles, here to relax and walk in the countryside'. An increasing trend is for visitors with motor-homes / caravanettes. We get many repeat visitors and with so much to see in the local area, guests often ask to stay longer than their original booking.
This is a genuinely quiet and relaxing caravan park, with no car-door slamming at pub closing-time, no static caravans, no seasonal pitches, no adjacent commercial caravan site, and we have no intention of holding caravan rallies.
The site is well-maintained and overlooks acres of farmland. We let our fields to a neighbour who grazes cows in summer and sheep in winter, but they are sometimes left empty to quietly grow a grass crop for winter silage.
A good base for a short stay or longer holiday: we are just 2 miles from North Wales and within 20 minutes to about an hour you could be at one of three UNESCO World Heritage Sites or numerous castles, historic houses and National Trust properties. Our lane is on one of the main Land's End to John o'Groats cycle routes and Ellesmere is a lovely spot for country walks and bird-watching, especially around the Meres.
The site is located over 200 metres up our private drive. It is discretely away from the public road with pitches in sight of our farm home, which is in a pleasant, safe, rural back-water.
There are plenty of electrical hook-ups, mains water supply, free wi-fi, chemical waste disposal point and we now have 5 grassed hard-standing pitches for Winter caravanning. Up to 5 caravans park over a spacious area of about 2 acres of grass which is mown regularly throughout the growing season. (To give you an idea of size, many CLs offer half an acre, so Birch Hill is 4 times bigger for the same number of caravans).
We offer caravan storage in our barns for a small number of caravans - out of sight and under cover. We have no storage vacancies at present.
We are open for Summer and Winter Caravan holidays all year round, subject to firm ground field conditions - please telephone to check in advance during Winter months. We have added 5 hard-standing areas using 'EcoGrid' and 'HoofMark' grass reinforcement matting to help when the ground is soft: this has improved life for Winter visitors, particularly those with camper vans. Trailer-tents are welcome, but we do not have tent-only campers ('no tents' is a Caravan Club rule).
Thousands of votes were cast to find the 2014 Practical Caravan & Practical Motorhome Top 100 Sites and we were delighted to hear that Birch Hill has won the UK 'Best Small Site' Award for the third year in succession. The award is based on votes from readers who have stayed here, which is a lovely way of showing their appreciation. We were the only Caravan Club CL to have made the Top 100 list in 2013. Thank you very much to all the guests who took time to vote for us - we hope to see you again very soon.
2013 'Practical Caravan' magazine 'Best Small Site' Award in the UK Top 100 Sites Listings
2013 'Practical Motorhome' magazine Top 100 Sites finalist.
2013 'Practical Caravan' magazine Top 100 Sites finalist.
2012 'Practical Motorhome' magazine Top 100 Sites finalist.
2012 'Practical Caravan' magazine Top 100 Sites finalist.
2010 'Practical Motorhome' magazine Top 25 Five-Van Sites finalist.
On 1st April 2008, we went to the Caravan Club Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons to collect First Prize in the 2007 National Caravan Club CL of the Year Awards. The trophy was presented by the Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MBE MP, Minister for Culture, Creative Industries and Tourism. This is an annual award based on votes from Caravan Club members. Given that there around 2500 CLs, winning First Place is a tremendous compliment and we thank all those who voted for us.
A year earlier we were told that Birch Hill was the 2006 Regional Winner of the Caravan Club CL of the Year Competition, voting us best CL in the region that covers the whole of Wales, the West Midlands and Northern Ireland. Under previous ownership, Birch Hill also held the runner-up prize for National 'CL of the Year'
Access for caravans is good, with wide gateways and a Tarmac drive. The drive is about a quarter of a mile from the lane, which reinforces the feeling of a quiet secluded site. Birch Hill is close enough to a quiet 'A' Road to give easy access, but far enough to be away from road noise.
For programming Satellite Navigation (SatNav), Birch Hill Farm road entrance is at:
We are very strict on the '5 Caravan Rule', so advance booking is recommended, especially for Bank Holidays.
Dogs are welcome and we have a nice woodland walk that dogs enjoy. Although we are 'dog friendly', we have a limit of 2 dogs per caravan or motor-home.
In general, we are happy for dogs to have a fair amount of freedom here, but please be considerate of fellow guests who may have allergies or concerns about dogs. On that basis, please be prepared to keep your dog on a lead, particularly at those times of year when we have farm animals in adjacent fields. The fields surrounding Birch Hill are used for agriculture (grass grown for silage in the Spring & Summer, cows in the Autumn & sheep in the Winter).
Our Dog. We have a friendly Golden Retriever who wanders around the site. To keep her to a healthy weight, please do not feed her. We appreciate that some people are afraid of dogs or are allergic to dogs, so please do not allow her into your caravan as she may think that she is welcome everywhere.
Dog Tags. Whilst not suggesting that you
remove your 'home address' dog identity tag; if it has your
home phone number, it isn't much help if you are away
on holiday. We offer visitors the free loan of a
second 'Birch Hill' dog tag for the duration of their stay.
We aim to make you welcome so that you:
Please call at the house on arrival to collect a folder of local information and maps.
Ellesmere is a friendly quiet lakeside market town in North Shropshire, that dates back to Saxon times. The market is on Tuesday, Ellesmere having been granted a market charter by King Henry the Third nearly 800 years ago in the year 1221. The town's floral displays have won 'Britain in Bloom' prizes over several years. Ellesmere has car parks, shops, banks, pubs, restaurants, cafés and tea shops. Camping gas is available from the local petrol station or builders' merchant. Don't miss the bread and butter pudding at the local baker's shop - Vermeulen's Delicatessen.
For antique collectors, there are two antique shops, an antiques auction about once a month plus a Sunday antiques fair in the new Town Hall each month. You may also find a bargain at the massive Chirk Airfield car boot sale open every Sunday morning and on Bank Holiday Mondays. Nearby Chester and Shrewsbury also have lots of antique shops.
The lakes (called 'meres') around Ellesmere have resulted in the area being called Shropshire's lake-lands. They are famous for their water fowl, with nature trails to observe the bird life. Swans, geese, ducks, coots and herons are the most common. In addition to the canals, there are 9 named lakes in the area: The Mere, Blakemere, Colemere, Crose Mere, Hanmer Mere, Kettlemere, Newton Mere, Sweatmere and Whitemere. 'The Mere' is the biggest and is a few minutes' walk from the middle of Ellesmere.
Ellesmere is on the Shropshire Union Canal and has the Blackwater Meadow Marina for canal boats. We sometimes find that people stay at Birch Hill in order to meet friends on canal holidays. Due to Ellesmere's one-way traffic system, we are probably the most convenient caravan site for the marina.
Ellesmere has various events centred around the meres including festivals, the annual regatta and carnival.
Ellesmere is a lovely place for quiet country walks and cycling. The canals are quiet and peaceful with an abundance of wildlife, especially for bird-watching. Local public footpaths are well maintained, following an extensive renewal of signposts, stiles and footbridges in recent years.
The farm at Birch Hill was built about 1885 as part of the Oteley Estate. It was bought from the Estate by Richard & Gwen Copnall on 2 Nov 1965. As well as being farmer-butchers, they opened the CL for touring caravans on 1 March 1982. It became a popular site and Gwen Copnall went to The House of Commons to collect the 1987 runner-up prize in the Caravan Club National CL of the Year Competition. Gwen sold the house on 12 July 1993 and Sally-Anne Burgess continued to run the CL, doubling the size of the site to about 2 acres, spreading into an additional field to offer wider views.
On 31 July 2002 Birch Hill was bought by the Kelly family, who now live in the farmhouse at Birch Hill. We have worked hard to improve the site and like to make people welcome when they arrive; we were delighted to have been awarded one of only 6 Regional Prizes in the 2006 CL of the Year Awards. This was followed by winning National First Place in the 2007 CL of the Year Competition, with the award made in the House of Commons in April 2008. In 2010, readers of 'Practical Motorhome' magazine voted us one of the top five-van sites in the country.
Later in 2010, Ian Kelly was nominated by the Caravan Club to attend a Royal reception for people involved with rural communities: this was hosted by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle on 17 November 2010.
In 2012 we received the 'Practical Caravan' magazine award as the Best Small Site in the UK, going on to win the same prize in 2013 and again in 2014.
If we are full, but you still want to visit Ellesmere, you may wish to try other nearby CL Caravan Sites; details are taken from the Caravan Club website:
Please note that the following local Caravan Club CLs have closed:
Our nearest large Caravan Club Site is Lady Margaret's Park at Chirk, 9 miles away. It has over 100 pitches.
Nearby commercial caravan sites are: