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Seasonal Pitches


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I have been looking into seasonal pitches for next year. Looking at the sites we have visited this year so far, it would seem that the seasonal pitch is allocated and it's not always in the nicest of places. I can see the pros in that they are cheap, providing they are used and of course your pitch is there for you and no towing, but what about the cons? Anyone had any experience, good or bad ?

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Now in our third year of seasonal pitches and so far, we have moved every 12 months (ish). You're aware of the positives but here's a few cons from our experience:

 

You can't choose your neighbours - they might be nice now but who knows who'll be moving on and who'll be arriving.

Not always easy to keep the outside of the 'van clean depending on the site. Two of our sites have very dusty when it's dry and just a few hours of getting the 'van clean, it's filthy again. small price to pay though if the site's nice.

Payment - in the past, we've paid in full at one site, monthly at another and now six monthly. Currently, if we leave after 7 months, we'll be out of pocket by a full six months pitch fees.

Many sites seem to have a pecking order. Our first seasonal in 2014 was, in order of how important the owner viewed his customers - lodges, statics, tourers and lastly, seasonals.

You can't keep an eye on your 'van, awning and possessions 24/7. We never leave anything in our porch awning "just in case".

If anything needs your urgent attention, how far/long are you prepared to travel just to "put something right"?

Site security - varies widely and you have to put a lot of trust in the owners and others on site. Remember that you may be sharing sites with weekend tourers who, if you're not there, can easily take advantage of anything left lying around. Our motto is to trust no one and secure everything when not in the 'van. Likewise, try not to leave anything of value in the 'van.

If you like the sun, try to get a pitch that gives you this benefit. Try to view the pitch at various times of the day.

Showers & toilets - might look nice in the summer but how cosy would they be in winter? We use our 'van all year round and this makes the seasonal pitch cost more bearable. The more you use it, the less you'll feel that you're burning a hole in your pocket.

 

We still go touring from our seasonal pitch and look on it as storage, country cottage/retreat and a base from which to go touring. IMO, the pros for our lifestyle and seasonal pitch, far out way the cons but as we're only an hour away from home, the 'van gets used maybe every 3 weeks out of fours for days or weeks on end. Think of it like having a small static but the ability to move on whenever and no one shafting you should you decide to sell.

 

If Mrs Pebble or I think of any more negatives, we'll post them up as and when.

 

Most of all, enjoy the lifestyle ;)

Edited by Pebble

2019 Adria Adora Thames

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A very useful post that could be interesting to any members contemplating seasonal.

Thank you!

 

Topic now pinned.

Graham

Unless otherwise stated all posts are my personal opinion 

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WispMan, on 03 Jun 2017 - 7:09 PM, said:

A very useful post that could be interesting to any members contemplating seasonal.

Thank you!

 

Topic now pinned.

 

:Thankyou: Graham ;)

2019 Adria Adora Thames

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Caravan servicing - some 'vans never move from year to year and never get a service of any kind. Some owners might get a mobile guy in annually and others, like us, get the 'van serviced at a dealer and incorporate it with a few days away. Be aware that if you have an awning erected that can't be easily taken down or contains so much stuff that would be ruined if it rained, the 'van can't be readily jacked up to check and service the running gear.

 

Insurance - normal touring insurance generally applies as long as the 'van isn't pitched 365 days a year and never moves.

 

Awnings - some sites let you keep them up 365 days at your risk. Other sites vary from just summer season to take them down every time you go home.

 

Length of season - we always go for 12 month opening where possible, maybe 11 months at a push. Again, this maximises your usage and the cost per night used also comes down.

 

Cleaning - some sites won't allow cleaning of either the 'van and/or awning. Strange one but this "rule" does exist, take Daisy Bank near Church Stoke as an example.

 

Ask the owners about some of what might appear to be "obscure" rules - they might say "that's what the local authority licence says" but most of the time the owners are implementing their own rules and using the local authority as an excuse. .

 

If you have any doubt as to what's what on a site, a copy of the site's licence can always be viewed at the relevant local authority office.

 

Try and tow the line with the owner's rules, requests etc. . Just because other seasonals on site get away with things, don't push your luck as the owner might see it as a way to say "goodbye". As a tourer, you can bend the rules a bit especially if you've no intention of ever returning.

 

Beware of friends of friends of friends on site. This can lead to large rowdy groups coming together usually on a Friday or Saturday night and going on til the early hours. If this bothers you, then tough - you've paid your money for maybe six months so you'll have to suck it up or move on and lose out. Been there and got the t-shirt - it ain't nice.

 

IMO, and this might be controversial, seasonals are a different and unique bunch to tourers. Some, not all seasonals, have no respect for anything and again, you can be stuck next to someone like this. As a tourer, you might only have to put up with this for a few days or a couple of weeks but as a seasonal, you're stuck with the issue for god knows how long.

 

Also try and talk to other seasonals on site and you'll soon get a picture as to whether it's for you.

 

Try and see a site both in school holidays and term time - that way you'll see how parents interact with their kids and how many are allowed to run feral. Might not bother you but always worth looking into - we all have a limit to our tolerance and patience.

 

Not all seasonals get the worst pitches on site. Many site owners see you as steady money and want you there year in year out. With seasonals, they have very little paperwork to do and you make their life easier.

 

Always, always, try and meet the owner or whoever's running the site. It's a two way street and many sites often insist on a meeting prior to discussing prices. Again, it might be a nice site but if whoever's running it is a pain, it might not be the one for you. Could you really put up with someone breathing down your neck for say 6 months? You'll then start not going to the 'van and counting down the days to when you can leave.

 

Payment - be wary of sites asking for the cost of a whole season up front. This puts you on the back foot should you choose to move on for whatever reason after just a short period. Very few sites willingly give any refunds of seasonal pitch fees, so make sure everything is right for you. IME, the better seasonal sites ask for half up front and the balance by DD or standing order (SO). SO is better as it can't be varied by the site. Some money up front is both a gesture of your commitment to the site and the owner's in letting you pay off the balance in instalments.

 

To summarise, choosing a seasonal pitch can be tricky and fraught with pitfalls especially if you want a hassle free season. It's a big decision and maybe a big financial outlay, more so than shelling out for a few nights touring here and there. Do as much homework as possible and you'll reduce the possibility of a nightmare.

 

More to come ;)

Edited by Pebble

2019 Adria Adora Thames

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A very useful post that could be interesting to any members contemplating seasonal.

Thank you!

 

Topic now pinned.

 

Just a thought Graham - how about a "seasonal sites" section somewhere in CT as this lifestyle seems to be on the up?

2019 Adria Adora Thames

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Not a bad idea except one problem maybe that sites can change so quickly.

 

Not for me to say but you could put the suggestion in the Feedback Section.

Graham

Unless otherwise stated all posts are my personal opinion 

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Thanks Graham. Wasn't really thinking about specific sites, more about the aspects of seasonal pitches, pitfalls, experiences etc. , a bit like the static/mobile home sub forum. But yes, will post something in the feedback section ;) .

2019 Adria Adora Thames

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:Thankyou: Pebble, what a fantastic reply. You have made quite a few points that I hadn't thought of . I was thinking of perhaps a few months to start with. The seasonal sites that I have seen so far are club sites, so I have a lot of searching to do yet. I was talking to a couple last month and they are on site until November and already where their awning is pitched has turned very muddy as they are at the bottom of a bank. They said that they have a breathable awning carpet but things didn't sound too good to me.

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Hope this is allowed. ...

I started a map of sites with seasonal pitches on, along with a form for people to add new ones. It's very basic, using a Google spreadsheet and Google fusion tables, but does allow you to show things such as price, facilities, season length etc.

There are only 50 sites on the currently (mainly in the North West) but I'll be adding more as and when I get chance ( since starting out I've been busy helping friends but a caravan and find a pitch).

The map is at http://goo. gl/XhhnFJ (please use the short URL as the map address can change due to a quick with fusion tables)

The form to add more is at http://goo. gl/forms/Ncayft6sKwrsk3kC2

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:Thankyou: fatgit, I can see that a lot of work has gone into the map, I hope it will be allowed and added to. It seems to be big business, I didn't realise there were so many sites that were doing seasonal pitches.

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:Thankyou: fatgit, I can see that a lot of work has gone into the map, I hope it will be allowed and added to. It seems to be big business, I didn't realise there were so many sites that were doing seasonal pitches.

Although not called seasonal in those days, I can remember in the late 1940s and early 1950s there were many seasonal sites, or permanently sited caravans in North Wales and North west England. The main reason being that many of the caravans had taken root from previous seasons. ;):rolleyes:

 

They were mainly used as weekend retreats as most owners had very limited free time.

Edited by DeeTee
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yes, a neighbour had one pitched locally for years and us kids would go down there sometimes. I suppose now they would be replaced by the static caravans. In fact the old site is now a big Parkdean site

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. ......The seasonal sites that I have seen so far are club sites, so I have a lot of searching to do yet. ..

 

We have just come to the end of an eight year spell of using a seasonal pitch. Our experience was that there were no downsides and this was probably due to it being a small private site.

 

I understand many of the 'issues' mentioned in this topic so far but none of them applied to us, The trust and sense of community between fellow residents was excellent, we all looked out for each other. The idea of having to pack things away could not have been further from our situation, it was simply like home from home.

 

We had a permanent warden on site who always kept an eye open for problems and was proactive in fixing any problems that did occur (e. g. awnings being uprooted in stormy weather). We simply could not have asked for a better site.

 

Such was the bond that we had developed with our fellow residents it was very difficult at the end of last year when we had to announce that we were leaving our pitch. I hope you can find a similar site because the one we used was so close to being perfect, not only was the site well organised but from our van we could see the summit of Snowdon in one direction and Caernarfon Bay in the other and we were 100 yards from the beach. It was magical and very difficult to move away from, but family circumstances have changed and we no longer have the time to make use of what we called our 'weekend retreat'.

 

From our experience finding the right seasonal pitch can be a life changing experience, I hope you can find similar near you.

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Joanie - what part of the UK would you be looking at? Some of us might have more in-depth info/knowledge of specific areas or maybe keep a look out on our travels for seasonal sites.

2019 Adria Adora Thames

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All singing, bar, entertainment etc. or adults only and peace & quiet?

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Interesting thread, I visited a site last week and liked it that much I've taken out a seasonal pitch there. It's great to read other's views on them.

 

Just to add, is there anything I need to be aware of when leaving my van sited with regard to mechanics/electrics etc?

Edited by Mojo_66
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Mojo - some sites insist that you disconnect the EHU when you leave the 'van to go home. Check with your site but we've always got around this one by saying we have food in the fridge/freezer (which we have). If on a metered supply, then it's at your cost anyway but if on £?? per day EHU, we negotiated 50p a day to cover the fridge use.

 

We drain the hot and cold water systems down when we leave to go home and, as we have mains water on the pitch, it doesn't take long to refill. Turn the gas off at the bottle as well.

 

We also remove the submersible pump in case it goes walkabouts lol. Wastemaster gets pushed well under the 'van and the empty Aquaroll goes in the 'van, again to take away the temptation of any thieving barstewards. After 3 years of seasonals, we trust a lot of people but it's your call depending on how you feel about he site and those on it.

2019 Adria Adora Thames

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Interesting thread, I visited a site last week and liked it that much I've taken out a seasonal pitch there. It's great to read other's views on them.

 

Just to add, is there anything I need to be aware of when leaving my van sited with regard to mechanics/electrics etc?

 

Pebble has already made some helpful comments. Our experience was that we never left the electric hooked up, many of our fellow residents did but it was just my preference not to; our site owners didn't have policy on this and those who did leave their EHU connected were never charged for it.

 

From a mechanical point of view the one suggestion I would make is leave the handbrake in the OFF position, there are many tales of brakes sticking 'on', this will not happen if you leave the brake off. We recently retrieved our van from the seasonal pitch having not turned a wheel for nearly three years. We had left the hand brake off and we had no problems moving the van and on the road the brakes worked OK.

 

Many of our fellow residents left their aqua roll and pumps in situ for the full season ((March to October) without any ill effect, although I must admit my routine was always to place them inside the van when we were not there.

 

Another consideration might be insurance, our cover was always with the CC and the fact that we were on a seasonal pitch was never a problem with them.

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I'd always remove the EHU lead too, but was concerned about the brakes sticking. If I leave it off though I'd be concerned about the van rolling away, it's on a slight incline. I suppose a couple of blocks in front of the wheels would help.

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I always chock my wheels on the drive when parked up rather than use the handbrake

Alan

 

2005 Nissan X-trail 4WD diesel and Swift Charisma 540 2012 Lunar Clubman ES  2018 Lunar Clubman ES

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I wouldn't think of walking away from a 'van and not putting the handbrake on and on a slope I would use the chocs as well. Belts and braces, me .

To answer Pebbles, we prefer sites with showers, electric and a little shop just in case, but we don't care for the club houses, but who knows if i was on site for a few months it may make a nice change.

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  • 1 year later...
Very interesting comments and food for thought but can your insurance company still insure you if left
on a site? friend of mine has just put her caravan on DIAMOND FARM Bream she says its brillent has a cafe
on it and can be left all year or moved into their storage compound OCTOBER TO MARCH then back on her site
she has an all service pitch and they gave her a storage bin behind it for her chairs etc. , will pop,down and visit her see what it is like as getting okder dont want to give up the caravan we love it,and so does our dog thought this may be a different option to think about really enjoying your posts thsnk you 
Maureen 

 

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  • 3 months later...

My friend Jenny has just spent this year at a lovely site in Burnham on sea closed it up now till March her hubby is disabled so for her it

 is ideal just an hour from home she loves it we are going to look at the site in March see what we think of it as hubby thinks towing may not be ideal as he is 80 now but we want to beable to go away still and not just sit at home 

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