We arrived at what we thought was going to be an attractive and spacious campsite on the Royal Wedding Bank Holiday, only to find that the pictures on the website are somewhat deceptive - the site is much smaller than appears, and the tent area is situated right in the middle of all the caravans - it is fairly cramped too with no space at all to park a car in-between pitches... you are required to park in front of your pitch, which affords no privacy between tents. Our allocated pitch was adjacent to the toilet and shower block, as most of the camping pitches are - that is okay if you don’t mind the corresponding pedestrian traffic - and it was incredibly uneven, covered in grass interspersed with large patches of semi-dry mud and gravel, suggesting to us that the drainage is sub-standard - certainly not worth the £18 charged per night! When we asked if there was another pitch available, we were allocated a much smaller pitch (without a smile and without an apology either might I add), which hugged the gravel road lying between the tent area and the caravans. It was suggested by the proprietors that if we preferred a nicer, more level pitch with an electric hook-up, we were welcome to one, but we would have to pay for the hook-up whether we used it or not! With that, my partner and I left the site and found another Tranquil campsite about 45 minutes away, where the owners couldn’t be more accommodating... and we had amazing views over the moors (for less than £18 per night!), so in the end, the complete lack in customer care and service at Woodland Springs did us the biggest favour. If you are travelling and need somewhere to stay for just one night, and are not bothered too much about your surroundings, then this is the campsite for you - however, if you prefer more space and sweeping landscapes to enjoy over a relaxing long weekend, then go elsewhere.
Property manager response (04 May 2011)
We are very sorry that Sharon feels like she does but we feel we must reply as she failed to give us full and proper opportunity to address her issues. As nice as it would be we cannot please everyone and are not for everyone. We offer customers their own space by allocating pitches and are all about peace and quiet and have a very high satisfaction and return rate.
We don’t have a “tent area”, all customers are allocated a pitch so you have your own space and do not have the situation of finding someone else pitching across the front of your tent as sometimes happens in “tent areas”. The basic pitches (without electric hook up) are in the general area of the toilet/shower block but as the toilet/shower block is in a convenient central location in the park that is true about many pitches.
Sharon had been allocated pitch 70. The pitch is 15m long and 7.5m wide (this excludes the car parking bay at the head of the pitch) and we admit it is not as level or as good as we would like, we are still working on this. The “gravel” Sharon refers to is actually horticultural sand. The area had drainage put in over the winter to improve what was then poor drainage.
The other pitch she refers to is pitch 67, which is shaped like a quarter of a circle, is on the inside corner of the park and is 9.3m down one edge, 9.8m down the other and the shortest radius of the curve of the road from the back corner of the pitch is 8.7m. You can get a big tent on either of these pitches. All pitches border the site roads except a small number which have their own access roads.
Both these pitches are to the rear aspect of the toilet/shower block so have no or very little passing traffic as all access to the block is at the opposite end and it is only 6 to 8 pitches in that corner of the park that may have need to walk anywhere near to these pitches.
The car rule is not just for tents as we prefer all of our customers on grass pitches to park at the head of the pitch, we make no apologies for this.
When Sharon came to reception to ask about another pitch we were dealing with other customers at the time, she talked over them from the reception door. We immediately responded letting her know which was the only other basic pitch that was unallocated (67) and said some other pitches were available which she may prefer but these were more expensive as they have an electric hook-up on them. It must be stated that choice was very low as it was the Bank Holiday and our occupancy rate for the weekend was very high. This was a very brief exchange so she could go and see what other options were available to her whilst we continued dealing with the customers we were with and then we could then further discuss how to resolve Sharon’s problem. We saw no more of Sharon so once free Chris went down to the pitches to check that she was OK, to see what decision she had come to and see if there was anything else we could do, we found that both pitches were empty and it was obvious she had left without saying anything else to us at all. If Sharon had come back to see us to talk it through we are sure we could have easily addressed her problems, but as she did not grant us this opportunity we were unable to offer any acceptable level of Customer Care.
We feel very insulted by Sharon’s closing comments as we have very many satisfied customers and many who return regularly and she was not on site long enough to make any real judgement about us. Our customers generally hold the site in very high regard and we have a very good reputation.
It must be pointed out that due to the Utilities Act 2000 a park cannot charge for using a hook-up separate to the pitch fee and there are 3 options of how to apply the OFGEM ruling. 1. Put a meter on the hook-up and take readings at arrival and departure time and the electricity charged at the same rate as paid for by the park. 2. Carry out a complicated average calculation based on the average consumption per pitch per night, this is calculated using the electricity actually consumed by the pitches and the number of pitch nights where electricity was consumed (previous year’s figures), the result is then multiplied by the actual charge made to the park for electricity. This calculation must be repeated at the end of a season using the seasons actual figures and then any overcharge paid back to customers (any undercharge can also be claimed back from customers, very difficult on a touring site). 3. You charge a price for the pitch that does not change whether the customer uses the hook-up or not and is not based on any consumption figures. This is how we do it here.
In a very brief summary Sharon did not like the pitch she was initially allocated and left the site without giving us the opportunity to properly resolve her issues and therefore denied us the chance of offering her a satisfactory level of Customer Care.