A QUARTER of a million honey bees have helped a couple’s camping and caravan park to wing its way to a top environmental award.

Back of Beyond touring park in St Leonards has been praised by botanist David Bellamy for its “outstanding efforts” to provide a safe haven for the beleaguered bee.

Business owners Martin and Vicky Bowrey have installed eight hives on their 30-acre park to try and help stem the sharp national decline in bee numbers.

These and other wildlife-friendly initiatives have now earned the couple the prestigious David Bellamy Conservation Award and its top gold level for the third year in succession.

It was just over two years ago that Martin and Vicky sold their successful London photography business and took a gamble on their future in rural Dorset.

The aim, said Martin, was to run an eco-friendly holiday park for nature-loving guests in a part of the country where they, as a family, often went camping.

Since then, Martin and Vicky has invested time and energy into creating surroundings in which the flora and fauna is made just as welcome as human guests.

Covering 30 acres of quiet countryside, over half of which is woodland, Back of Beyond provides 80 pitches for camping, touring caravans and motorhomes.

The couple now also offer ready-erected bell tents for glamping guests with home comforts such as full-size double beds, a kitchen area, lighting and private exterior decking.

Back of Beyond is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and Martin says that visitors to the “adults only” park are thrilled at the close encounter with nature on offer:

“We’re fortunate to have two wildlife lakes in the grounds, and it’s possible to spot an amazing number of species including otters and red deer,” he said.

“It’s also great that we are now able to stock our own honey in the park shop alongside the many other locally produced foods and drinks we carry.”