29 May 2018
Profihopper keeps Knight Stainforth Caravan & Camping Park in trim
Covering around 12 acres alongside the River Ribble in heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Knight Stainforth Hall Caravan & Camping Park has been welcoming visitors through its doors since 1927. Now being looked after by the third generation of the Maudsley family, Knight Stainforth has moved on from those early days of hosting groups of scouts to offering high quality accommodation in an exquisite setting with Stainforth Force waterfall a short walk away and Malham Cove just up on the top of the Dale. The Park offers around 100 touring and camping pitches on top of the 60 or so static caravans on site as well as boasting a holiday cottage and the licensed Knights Table Café Bar.
Joint-owner Paul Maudsley takes up the story, ‘The farm has been in the family for six centuries but Grandfather opened the farm up to let some Scottish scouts camp here back in the 1920s and we have been at it ever since’. The formation of the North Yorkshire Dales National Park in the 1960’s brought an increasing demand from tourism and Knight Stainforth has been evolving over the years into the well-manicured site that it is today.
With 4 acres or so of static caravans plus the touring pitches, children’s play area and the wider grassed areas to go at, then, all in all, there is a lot of grass that needs cutting but visitor wishes have also changed over time. Paul’s brother, Chris, goes on to explain, ‘Guests now are looking for clean facilities and don’t want grass cuttings being trailed into the shower block or into their vans and tents and so we have had to review the way that we keep the site in a condition that matches people’s expectations’. Going back some years, the site was using a tractor-towed flail mower/collector that provided a relatively clean pick up but had the downside of a lack of manoeuvrability with difficulties of getting in and about the vans and thus the need for too much hand mowing. So the move then was to start just cutting and dropping using a variety of flail rotaries and triples, the problem here was that more frequent mowing was needed to keep the level of cuttings at a manageable level, a system that meant mowing was becoming more than a full time job. Then Paul adds, ‘Summers now seem to be so much more unpredictable with longer, heavier spells of rain which means more grass and also wet grass and so the option of cutting and dropping became untenable. Zero-turn machines gave the manoeuvrability, but didn’t offer the chance of a clean pick-up and ride-on tractors just didn’t have the collection capacity due to the grass not fully filling the collection bag, especially when things were a bit damp. Chris Eccleston, the man whose task it is to keep the place looking top notch, was fed up with trotting back to the waste heap all the time with a half full collection bag after just a few yards mowing. So, having tried a host of different solutions, and then after discussing the problem with Rob Taylor from local AMAZONE dealers’ GGM, the answer always came back to the AMAZONE Profihopper 4WDi. And now, two season in, the results speak for themselves - as do the testimonials on the Knight Stainforth website ‘Shower block spotlessly clean and warm’ and ‘The facilities are modern and clean’
With the criticism levelled that other out-front rotary collectors couldn’t maximise the collection bag capacity, then it is here that the PowerCompactor, the force-fed auger collection system, comes into its own. Behind the high-speed horizontal, out-front SmartCut cutting rotor, the cross auger collects the cuttings and screws the bulk along into a central auger which whisks it away into the hopper but, at the same time, mashes the contents to give about a 1/3 more weight in the hopper than the capacity would suggest - a benefit that is not lost on Chris Eccleston, ‘I spend less time running backwards and forwards to the heap now with the Profihopper and more time mowing, I don’t really know where it puts it all’,
The 36 pairs of free-swinging wing-blades provide the evenness of cut as well as the vacuum which ensures such a clean pick-up. These sharpened wing blades can be interchanged between standard mowing, fine turf mowing and scarifying within a few minutes and so at Knight Stainforth, with its miles of beech hedging around the park, leaf collection is so much easier now. ‘The mix of wing blades and scarifying knives means that any compacted leaves are lifted and hoovered up with the scarifying knives shredding the material into small bits that pack well down into the hopper. The Profihopper also takes any litter, spring bulb tops or hedge cuttings also in its stride and, more importantly we don’t spit out stones that can pebble-dash the side of a van which is the other advantage of the SmartCut cutting and collection system,’ comments Paul.
So Chris & Paul Maudsley’s verdict after two seasons of being presented with an immaculately preened sward, ‘It has certainly done all we hoped it would; it cuts in the wet or the dry, it picks up anything we have put in its way, we have got into the nooks and crannies with it as well as powering up the hills and hollows without any sward damage or fear of tipping it over. It has let the site looking clean and fresh and we have spent less time cleaning cuttings out of the shower block and restaurant, what more could you ask for in a machine?’