Let us introduce you to Esther and Mike from The Dorset Hideaway in Dorset, who provide caravan storage alongside a campsite.
Site Name: The Dorset Hideaway
Location: In West Dorset - 3 miles from Charmouth & 5 miles from Bridport & West Bay/Broadchurch
How long have you been in operation?
We opened in the summer of 2015.
Have you always been in caravan storage?
No. We became storage owners as a result of diversifying our former dairy farm into a campsite and glamping site.
What has been the biggest change in the caravan storage industry since you started?
The biggest change I’ve seen in caravanning in the last few years has been the number of people preferring not to tow anymore - young and old alike. They prefer to stay in an area for a season or two with someone else towing the van to & from storage or seasonal pitch sites and then the van being sited each time for them. They see the cost savings in downsizing their car and running costs and they tend to use their vans more as a result.
Having an organisation like CaSSOA is helping to consolidate and regulate storage and make it more viable for both customer and business provider with more secure and better insured sites.
What do you find most challenging about caravan storage?
The most challenging thing is getting caravan owners to maintain their units. Once stored, they tend to forget they still need as much maintenance as when they’re in use. They need to be kept roadworthy for us to tow them in and out. Vans sitting up tend to get seized brakes and high spots on tyres like all things they are best used regularly! Thefts are a big issue for the industry but investing in CCTV and security are the best deterrents.
What do you like most about caravan storage?
For us, caravan storage means seeing lots of new faces on site, so getting to know a new family group is nice. It also uses an area on the farmyard to earn extra income from.
We are a former dairy farming couple of 30 years. My husband’s family have farmed the Marshwood Vale for nearly 150 years! Diversifying has allowed us to keep our land but use it in a different way to earn an income. It has allowed us to stay and live out our later years in the area where we were born and have lived in for decades. It’s great to be able to share this stunning location with many thousands of people every year. With panoramic hills and fields as our backdrop, and the Jurassic coast less than 3 miles away, it’s no wonder people return year after year.
We provide indoor and outdoor storage, caravan cleaning services, water, EHU in the storage areas, toilets, a site to stay on with fab award winning facilities, a spa with hot tub & sauna, and a fishing pond on site. We put up awnings for customers and we offer to fully set up the caravan for arrival so the only thing our customers have to do is take the beer/wine from the fridge and sit down in their warm caravan! We can even provide pet and babysitting services too! In addition, we have a petting farm and luxury glamping in 6m domes this year.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
We love the great outdoors, so anything countryside or rural or animal related. We own a menagerie of animals, dogs, 6 cats, 2 miniature Shetland ponies, pigs, goats and chickens. We love gardening and visiting gardens. We have a shared love of history and music and try to go to the cinema and concerts as often as possible. That’s us!
For more information about caravan storage at The Dorset Hideaway click here.