Sounds of celebration rang out when one of the most-visited country parks in the UK carried off a gold, two silvers and the top accolade in the prestigious 2015 Dorset Tourism Awards.
Moors Valley Country Park & Forest near Ringwood won gold in the Large Visitor Attraction category, and silver in the new Access & Inclusivity category. A silver award in the Tourism Activity, Sport & Experience category also went to Go Ape, the tree top adventure trail based in the park. And at the end of a gala presentation at Bovington Tank Museum on 15 October, Moors Valley was crowned Winner of Winners.
In addition to customer service, facilities, information, accessibility, use of social media and effectiveness of websites, Moors Valley’s entry emphasised how the park’s environment and wildlife helps visitors to have fun outdoors, learn and be active throughout the year.
2014 was the first year that Moors Valley had entered any scheme of this type and they were delighted to come away with a silver award in the Large Visitor Attraction category on that occasion.
Clare Gronow, Team Leader at Moors Valley said, “Dorset has some fantastic visitor attractions and the competition was really intense so I’m over the moon that we achieved gold in the Large Visitor Attraction group. To get a silver award in the new Access & Inclusivity category and for our Go Ape partner to also win silver was a fantastic bonus. But to also be named Winner of Winners is beyond our wildest expectations.
“Last year was the first time we had put ourselves forward for anything like this and we were delighted to achieve silver status on our first attempt. To return this year and do so well against such tough opposition is a great reflection on the dedication of the Moors Valley team and the partner businesses that are based here. It is a public acknowledgement of the way we continue to deliver the highest possible levels of customer service to three quarters of a million visitors, of all ages, for 364 days of the year.”
As well as a visitor centre, restaurant, trails and picnic areas, Moors Valley, which is a joint venture between East Dorset District Council and the Forestry Commission, runs a full programme of activities and events. The park is also home to the Moors Valley Railway, 18-hole golf course, and Go Ape Tree Top Adventure and Junior Tree Top Adventure. Around 750,000 people use the park’s facilities every year.