A LAKE District holiday park is using plants to treat waste water.

According to Henry Wild, director of Skelwith Fold Caravan Park near Ambleside, the specially-cultivated beds of irises use natural processes to do the job of a sewage treatment plant.

He said: “We are obviously asking a lot of our iris plants, but they rise wonderfully to the challenge.

“They transfer oxygen down to their roots, and this encourages the microbes which clean the water and make it perfectly safe – and even beneficial – to release into the soil.

“We have experimented with other water cleansing plants, and reeds also work well – but irises seem to have the edge when it comes to reducing ammonia, so we now use a combination of the two.

“The iris is a wetland plant, so they love the conditions and also produce a floral display which adds a fantastic splash of colour to the forest glade where the bed grows.”

“The thriving plants tell their own story about the healthiness of the ecosystem we’ve created,” he added.

According to Mr Wild, thousands of litres of waste water are now being treated at the Skelwith Fold Caravan Park every day using the sweet-smelling iris plants.

Mr Wild said that the holiday park is now experiencing one of the busiest summers in his family’s 20 years of ownership, with many guests preferring a ‘greener’ UK stay to flying abroad.

He is keen to share his experience with other holiday parks, many of which - like Skelwith Fold - are located in more remote rural areas and must deal with waste water on site.