By Emma Dodd
With increased interest in caravanning in the wake of lockdown, people have been calling for a more relaxed attitude to where visitors can pitch up throughout the UK.
Some have requested car parks remove their height restriction barriers, while others have suggested we embrace French-style aires, but there are alternatives to caravan sites in this country.
They can be called certificated location sites (CLSs) or certificated sites (CSs) and act as the bridge between wild camping and staying at a full-scale caravan park with all its associated amenities.
Often, CLSs are the result of a farmer or landowner wishing to open up their space to a few caravans or tents without building extra infrastructure.
This means they are often in areas that are particularly beautiful and in some cases remote, offering a unique stay that would be much harder to achieve otherwise.
The number of motorhomes at any given time is limited to five, while tents are limited to ten, meaning they will never be overrun by lots of visitors.
Many CLSs and CSs are available all year round, making them perfect for a late-season getaway far from the stresses of modern day life.
If you’re going to take advantage of this type of site, it’s important to understand the ethos behind them and be prepared to be self-sufficient.
Don’t expect a toilet block or extensive facilities, but with prices starting at just £10, it’s all about getting back to basics.
William Coleman of CaravanTimes summed it up: “CL sites are very different from your traditional touring park. They have a very low capacity and usually no on-site facilities. These certified locations tend to just have an electrical hook up, waste area and a water source. They are the definition of self-contained touring.
“These hidden gems are set in very remote locations that just take you away from the world, which is great for anyone who wants total solitude and tranquility when on holiday.”
The Caravan Club has more than 2,000 CLSs throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, while the Camping and Caravan Club boasts approximately 1,400 CSs across the UK and Northern Ireland.
While they are more informal than full caravan parks, they’re still assessed and monitored to ensure they meet acceptable standards.
You can choose a CS that is adult only or family friendly and make your decision based on various activities, such as being within a national park, near the coast or close to fishing sites.
Right now, hideaway CSs that are found well off the beaten track in locations like East Anglia and Scotland sound very appealing.