WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER, film-maker and TV presenter Simon King revealed his passion for caravanning when he opened the International Caravan and Motorhome Show 2010 at the NEC.


He told Practical Caravan that he has been a caravanner for many years, even living in one for 18 months. He said it was preferable to living in a tiny pea-sized bedsit.


“The caravan was the best solution for comfort, but also simplicity and freedom,” said Simon. “Paring down your life to the basics is psychologically cleansing and you still have warmth and a bed, and you’re living in a detached property.”


Caravan used for filming

He uses a caravan for work as well as holidays, most recently on the west coast of Scotland when filming Autumn Watch for the BBC: “I would sit in the caravan at night, when the deer are most active, with the door open so they got used to the smell of me and to having me around. It made filming them a lot easier.”


He used to take his three older children caravanning and likens the experience to living in a metaphoric cave: “Having your children close by and being able to hear them breathe appeals to the basic human condition. It meets a primal need.”


Simon’s youngest, Savannah, is also keen to go caravanning, he said, and wants to join him while he is working.


Simon’s site picks

He has just renewed his membership with the Caravan Club and has picked seven of their sites, which are in great locations for wildlife watching: Blackwall Plantation in Ashbourne, Derbyshire; Ferry Meadows in Peterborough; Incleboro in Cromer; Maragowan in Killin, Scotland; Moreton-in-Marsh, the Cotswolds; Park Coppice in Coniston, Cumbria and Treamble Valley in Perranporth.


How do you watch wildlife without causing it undue distress? “Respect is the word,” said Simon. “Treat the animal and its environment with respect and you should be fine.”


New for wildlife lovers

Simon is working on a new project, Wildlife Whisperer, an online community for those wanting to find out more about wildlife and the best way to watch, photograph and film it. Find out more about it at www.wildlifewhisperer.tv