Holiday Bungalows near Woodhall built in the 1930s
The Dales holiday bungalow hikers and campers centre.
Despite a huge public outcry, in the 1930s a number of holiday chalets were built at Ballowfield in front of Hawbank. The chalets which were second hand were brought to the Dale from Whitley Bay by a Mr Ratcliffe (auctioneer) from Seaton Carew.
The construction of the bungalows
Mr Ratcliffe purchased the land from a Mr Dakin who owned Ballowfield. Mr. Ratcliffe lived in Woodhall village before moving to Bungalow town. While Mr Radcliffe was moving into Woodhall his removal van demolished the Stone Entrance Arch to Woodhall Park.
Mr Ratcliffe’s bungalow was sited on the opposite side of the road to the bungalows although originally he lived with his partner at the back of the cafe.
Sewerage went into Eller Beck and water was supplied by a spring.
The holiday village supported a shop, cafe and a village hall named Liberty Hall. The shop was a general grocery but did not supply perishables.
It also boasted a swimming pool but in reality this was just the beck blocked up.
The cafe, shop and Liberty Hall.
Every year a travelling group of theatricals called “the Cyclones” put on a show for the holidaymakers. They also travelled round the village halls in the area to entertain the local people.
Mrs Elsie Close from Carperby in this car 1931
During the war some of the chalets were let fully furnished to women and children who had been evacuated to the country from the northeast and gateshead. Their fathers were away fighting.
Just after the war James Pickard from Carperby remembers Mr Ratcliffe giving him sweet ration coupons in exchange for milk from his fathers farm.
In later years the local lads went roller skating in the hall.
After the second world war the holiday village fell into disrepair and one by one the bungalows were removed by the council.
The land was purchased by the council, cleaned up and landscaped as you see it today.
In 1953 the last building, that of Mr Radcliffe or (Ratty as he was sometimes called) was demolished by among others, Mr Wally Dinsdale from Carperby.
Mr Radcliffe continued to live there for a while in a caravan. Does anyone remember what Happened to Mr. Ratcliffe?
The area is now a conservation area supporting many species of rare plants including the spotted orchid and a large area of inland thrift.
Because the thrift was a coastal plant some people thought that it had arrived here in the dale in the form of seeds with the second hand buildings.
This is not so. The thrift was here long before the bungalows. Thrift grows well in the dry limestone ground at Hawbank and the lead in that area is also favourable to the plant.
See: Readers comments Watson Dyke Aysgarth March 12th 1930
Also ref: Wild Borderland of Richmondshire
But there remains the fact that seaside plants grow here and also about Woodhall lead mine above Nappa, where the Sea-Thrift, of cottage garden borders, is likewise abundant.
Seaton Carew 1905