Sep 23 2019

Destination Sites go from strength to strength

It was an exciting day to be at Skipton Castle Woods on Thursday 1 August. Not only was it the launch of the giant story chair and book, but also the day that VisitEngland assessor was coming to complete Skipton’s re-accreditation visit.

Depsite a forecast of rain, the weather was kind to us and over 50 children and their accompanying parents listened to The Spirit of Skipton Castle Woods, the story that has been written especially for the site.
The assessor was able to give Visitor Experience Manager Hazel a provisional score on the day and (drum roll……….) Skipton is now our highest-scoring site in the VisitEngland Quality Visitor Attractions scheme with a whopping 87%!
Earlier this year, Heartwood took the title with 84% from previous high-scorers Tring Park with 83% so we are really on the up! This is a huge leap for Skipton, as we scored 82% on the last visit. Improvements to the signage, new interpretation and the upkeep of the site made by Hazel and her team of staff and volunteers helped to gain those extra percentage points.
Highlights from the assessor’s visit were:
1. Impressive customer service – She was approached by Carol Weston, our new Events and Engagement contractor. We had 5 volunteers on site – all of them acknowledged or smiled at her on her walk around. This section scored 95%.
2. Our event –  She thought the children’s story time, chair and book was excellent and a clever way to engage audiences with our protection message.       Loved the story tellers (Holly and Jackie).
3. Interpretation and signage on site – some of the most well-designed and thought-out that she had come across (thumbs up to Sarah and the internal Creative teams) and that we had the balance right (not over-done across the site).
4. Pre-visit, social media and website – top scores on content and timely updates
5. Not one piece of litter found on site – in fact she asked Hazel if she had hoovered the wood!
6. She thought the ancient woodland, history and Woodland Trust messaging was very strong.  
Congratulations to Hazel and the whole team involved. The bar has now been set very high!
For further information – Hazel Birdsall, Visitor Experience Manager, Skipton Castle Woods.
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