Country hideaway on road to success after scooping top caravanning award
PUBLISHED: 14:41 02 December 2019 | UPDATED: 08:57 04 December 2019
Barn Owl Meadow
Caravan park owners are celebrating a prestigious national newcomer accolade after setting up a farm diversification business near Diss.
Roger and Pauline Dixon, of Barn Owl Meadow, branched out into caravanning in 2018 after acquiring a former agricultural and haulage operating centre site, which Roger and his brother had set up on their father's farmyard at Rickinghall in 1972.
After it closed, Roger bought the site, which came with 15 acres of land, and turned it into a smallholding where he produces and sells small bale haylage for local horse owners under the banner Dixons Haylage.
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"Pauline and I then built our top of the range CL Caravan Site at the New Delight Road end of our meadow, opening in August 2018," said Roger. "We feel this is a lovely peaceful place for nature lovers to enjoy with us."
Now the couple have been voted Best Newcomer Certified Location (CL) Caravan Site under licence to the Caravan and Motorhome Club. As a result, they were invited to an awards ceremony at the Houses of Parlaiment, where they were hosted by the Earl of Leicester and Caravan and Motorhome Club chairman Grenville Chamberlain OBE.
"Running a successful business is an achievement in itself but the accolades of our customers is very much appreciated," said Roger. "We are local people having lived here in Suffolk near the Norfolk border all of our working lives."
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The delighted couple hope their newcomer accolade is a strong indicator of the future success of their new business.
Their plan now is to "keep going as we are don't change anything", said Roger.
"We all enjoy running this family business and we benefit greatly from the friendships we have made with the quality people who are attracted to use our unique top of the range CL campsite.
"We hope to be an escape from the mad rushing crowds for many people in the future who want to enjoy the unique peacefulness of our tranquil Suffolk country hideaway."
The couple's daughter, Shelly, supports the business, running it when her parents are away on holiday in their own motorhome, and coming in to clean.
She has her own smallholding business at Finningham, rearing rare breed outdoor pigs and sheep and selling their meat at her farm shop at Finningham and on the campsite, cleans at the site, and also manages while they are away holidaying with our own motorhome, or Roger is golfing at Diss Golf Club.
Meanwhile, the couple's son, Matt, a former Ipswich Town youth team player who went to play for Thetford, Diss and Stowmarket football teams, owns his own window cleaning business in Bury St Edmunds.