Petruth Paddocks Campsite
Petruth Paddocks is a campsite on the edge of Cheddar. In the words of Jules, the owner, “It started as a hobby in 2003 and until 2014 had grown organically with little investment but much enjoyment.” But then things began to kick off in a big way – and I’m delighted I was able to play a small part in the success story.
Preparing the pitch (spot the pun…)
In 2013 Jules decided to turn his hobby into more of a serious business enterprise. He started by asking Ryan James of Playmaker to help him define the Petruth Paddocks proposition. “Ryan commissioned customer, prospect and competition surveys and captured a huge amount of valuable information. This enabled us to clarify our offering and target audiences as well as decide what we needed to put in place to capitalise upon the opportunity before us.”
Jules then asked Ryan to pull together a team to build a website that truly reflected the Petruth Paddocks’ ethos in such a way that it would appeal to the target audience. “Ryan went out to a number of known and trusted contacts specialising in web design, website construction, copywriting and video. He then formed a project team. For me the most important criteria was whether the individuals involved really ‘got what we are all about’ – I wanted an enthusiastic team who would want to throw themselves into this exciting project to the point that they’d want to visit and even stay at the site to fully appreciate the proposition.”
Jules began to invest in upgrading the facilities (a few more toilets, a little bit more hard standing for caravans and a few more electric hook-up points) and the project team had some serious brainstorming sessions around the campfire with a few ciders. It was tough, but had to be done…
My bit – writing the “Petruth Life”, “About Jules” and “Who’s it for?” sections.
In writing these pages I had to express what was different about Petruth Paddocks. Then find a way to make that attractive and motivating for a variety of different campers and caravanners. What came out in the various discussions, was that the thing that made the experience different, and so attractive, was actually what was missing!
PC – Proper Camping
People loved it because it was so basic, because it was closer to nature, because it was less regimented, because there were fewer rules, because it was so laid back, because kids could run wild, because you could light fires, because sing-songs were encouraged and you were pretty much free to do as you liked. The site, as I highlighted above, started life as a hobby, and was for fun. That was what made it so unusual and appealing.
After a few tinnies the FREE RANGE CAMPING line came about (team effort, not my line, from what I recall, but I love it). I then set about writing copy to support this notion. The trick was to capture the spirit, the attitude and the slightly nostalgic sense of “the camping good old days” and hark back to a time when life’s simplest pleasures were not spoilt by a depressing over-insistence on regulations and political correctness.
So, Petruth Paddocks – here’s to scraped knees and smoke in your eyes, marshmallows on a stick and tadpoles in a jam jar, flying kites and chasing the dog, looking up at the stars and talking into the early hours. The campsite that’s more like a festival.
The best in its field – geddit?!
A delighted Jules explains that “The result has been just what we’d hoped for and the team has produced a website that people constantly remark upon as having captured the essence of everything we strive to deliver for our guests.”
The figures are good too. When the new site went live in June 2014 things went mad. “In 2014 we welcomed over 10,000 guests – a 500% increase on the previous year and truly wonderful return on investment – thank you all!”
What’s more, leading booking site pitch-up.com, confirmed that Petruth Paddocks suddenly came from nowhere to become their best-selling UK campsite in the UK over 2014, beating over 1,000 sites across the country by a very healthy margin indeed. There were a whopping 1,388 bookings through pitch-up.com between January and September 2014 exceeding the nearest competitor by a massive 23%. The success continued throughout 2015. There were 3311 bookings, up around 225% on the same period in 2024.
The full team involved in the website
Ryan James of Playmaker – Research and bid management
Niall Jones of Markativity – Website Project management
Warren Cuff of Ralph Media – Website Design
Andy Page of Andy Page Web Design – Website structure and photographs
Hannah Falcon-Long of Button Media – videos
Jim O’Connor of Stories that sell – Copywriting