<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

Ribby Hall village looks to the future after 20 acre expansion

PUBLISHED: 00:00 23 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:16 12 June 2017

The complex has five stars from Visit England

The complex has five stars from Visit England

Lawson Photography

It’s one of Lancashire’s tourism success stories but not eveyone knows what lies beyond the gates of Ribby Hall Village. Roger Borrell reports.

Paul Harrison is expanding the business Paul Harrison is expanding the business

BLINK as you drive past and the chances are you’ll miss Ribby Hall Village, which sits on the edge of the pretty Fylde community of Wrea Green. That would be a shame.

Venture through the entrance gates and you’ll be astonished by the size of Lancashire’s only five star holiday village. This is no spot for happy campers but a large but well designed complex of upmarket holiday homes. As a key player in the visitor economy, it contributes well over £1 million a year and the good news is that it’s about get bigger.

The family-owned business, headed by Paul Harrison, has purchased a nearby farm and its surrounding land to create an exciting new leisure venture. Just what that will be is still up for discussion.

The land is at the rear of the award-winning Spa Hotel, one of the jewels in the crown of the business, and it will add another 20 acres to the estate, which attracts many tens of thousands of people every year. It will mean another shot in the arm for the tourism industry.

The glorious lakeside location of cottages at Ribby Hall Village The glorious lakeside location of cottages at Ribby Hall Village

Paul is determined to involve as many members of his workforce as possible in creating this development – typical of a business which holds a gold award in the Investors in People scheme.

‘We are still looking at how plans could unfold,’ he said. ‘Rather than keeping it at management level we are engaging with employees to see if there are any development ideas within. We try to engage with staff – now over 500 – wherever possible to look at investment opportunities as they often have the on-the-ground knowledge of our product.

‘Whatever the outcome of the development, the environment will be key to our plans. As a business, sustainability is part of our DNA and any future development would have to be mindful of environmental impact and how we can maintain and improve our green credentials.’

Sustainability has always been one of the cornerstones of the business and Paul’s pronouncement should come as a relief to residents of Wrea Green, a place attracting developers eager to turn their surrounding fields into housing estates.

Paul with colleagues Sarah Fletcher and Janet Mulligan. There are over 500 employees. Paul with colleagues Sarah Fletcher and Janet Mulligan. There are over 500 employees.

The latest news comes hard on the heels of existing Ribby Hall development and improvement plans, which have included a £1.5million upgrade of the family swimming pool.

‘We also have plans to improve and expand some of our eateries and numerous other facilities during 2017,’ he said. ‘We are currently recruiting in many areas of our business and we are excited by the projects which will keep our business modern, fresh and appealing to our customers and guests. We expect to regularly bring something new and better to the business.

It has come a long way since Paul’s father, Bill, bought what was basically a rundown plot of 100 acres with pitches for caravans, toilet blocks and cowsheds. He had been running a caravan site near Blackpool but had long been interested in unlocking the potential of the Ribby Hall land.

Paul was running his own successful building firm in 1994 when the deal was sealed in the middle the recession. ‘I went around the site with him and said “Do you really want to do this?” He replied “Let’s go for it.”’

They concluded that it was a ten year project to complete the holiday village and financing required considerable determination on Bill’s part. So much so that at one stage he quit his long-standing but less than enthusiastic bank and moved his account to another who backed him with a £7 million loan. It was a good investment.

With the backing of the Fylde council, Paul oversaw the site development to create a small village of lodges while working on his company’s building projects in the Lake District. ‘Juggling the two was quite scary,’ says Paul. ‘To be honest, at times, it was mayhem.’

Despite working 7am-11pm six days a week their determination to creative something imaginative and different drove them on and the first holiday cottage was completed in June of 1995 with a further 20 surrounding the largest pond on site, Fisherman’s Reach.

Many more have followed. In fact, it has mushroomed into a complex of luxury accommodation, some holiday lets and some privately owned. As well as modern, well-equipped self-catering cottages, there are idyllic pine lodges with outdoor hot tubs and three larger bespoke properties each in their own private grounds. For a child-free break there is also the adult-only SPA Hotel, which regularly receives national recognition for its facilities and its cuisine won it a Lancashire Life Food & Drink Award.

As well as the family pool, there is a separate pool for adults with its own steam room and Jacuzzi, an adventure playground, health and fitness classes and spa and indoor soft play area. There are also ten different eateries including a tearoom, tapas bar and family friendly bar and grill plus a shop.

The most recent addition was Wild Discovery, opened by Michaela Strachan, of BBC’s Spring Watch. It is a new hands-on animal experience enabling children to get up close and learn about the amazing animal kingdom.

Paul’s father died in 1999 but his ethos lives on as Ribby Hall’s legacy, particularly when it comes to providing employment for young people, several of them rising through the ranks.

‘If you have the right attitude, enthusiasm and desire it’s amazing just what you can achieve,’ said Paul. That pretty much encapsulates the Ribby Hall story.

More from Out & About

Wed, 17:09

There are many forces of nature to witness in the Lake District, we pick six of our favourite waterfalls.

Read more
Lake District

Rebekka O’Grady and photographer John Cocks meet some of the new independent businesses calling Southport home

Read more
Southport
Monday, February 12, 2018

How many of these local landmarks can you recognise?

Read more
Quiz Spring
Friday, February 9, 2018

Plans for around 600 new houses to be built in pretty Wyre village

Read more
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

John Lenehan toasts the re-opening of a Lancashire engineering landmark and notes an invention to revive any walker.

Read more
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Kirkby Lonsdale sits on the spot where Lancashire, Yorkshire and Westmorland meet, making it a great base to explore the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. All these walks start of within a ten mile radius of Kirkby Lonsdale, making them a perfect day trip for anyone staying close to the historic market town.

Read more
Kirkby Lonsdale
Monday, February 5, 2018

From businesses selling banjoes to bridalwear from a former New York costume designer, Colne is a town for all seasons. Mairead Mahon reports.

Read more
Colne
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Lake District walks dominate the top ten of Britain’s 100 list.

Read more
Lake District Lake District Walks
Friday, January 26, 2018

Barrow was built on hard graft but there’s plenty of beauty to be found as well, as Mike Glover reports

PHOTOGRAPHY BY SANDY KITCHING

Read more
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Despite its bad reputation, the cuckoo has been a great and clever survivor in the wild. However, numbers have dipped since the 1970s. The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Alan Wright investigates this iconic spring bird.

Read more
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Many of us are frustrated by our inability to swim well. Sarah Hill did something about it and now helps others. She spoke to Roger Borrell.

Read more
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Celebrate the historic waterways of Lancashire with one of these canalside walks that allow you to enjoy the countryside and witness echoes the the county’s industrial past.

Read more
Canals
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Their football clubs both wear navy blue and white strips, but how well can you identify landmarks in Bolton and Preston?

Read more
Preston Bolton Quiz
Friday, January 12, 2018

Spring is not too far off and that’s the time when the birds start getting noisier in our woodlands. The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Alan Wright investigates a couple of the stars of the Dawn Chorus.

Read more
Spring
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter


Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search