Numerous businesses praised by police for helping to ease gridlock chaos after a crash on Saturday closed the main road into Woolacombe.

This picture taken by Alison Homa shows the beleaguered caravanners parked up in their field at Mullacott Farm as they wait for the Woolacombe road to reopen following Saturday's crash.This picture taken by Alison Homa shows the beleaguered caravanners parked up in their field at Mullacott Farm as they wait for the Woolacombe road to reopen following Saturday's crash.

BUSINESSES and residents have been praised for their help after hundreds of caravans were left parked in lay-bys and fields on Saturday when an accident brought gridlock to Woolacombe.

A collision between two cars on the B3343 main road into Woolacombe at around 9.30am on ‘changeover day’ saw two women and a man taken to hospital. Two have since been released but a 32-year-old woman is recovering in hospital with internal injuries.

The crash left other holidaymakers unable to get in or out, and businesses rallied around to help as police and emergency services dealt with the incident.

Police were full of praise for those that helped and Inspector Roger Bartlett said he wanted to express appreciation to motorists and residents for their patience.

“We are grateful to support provided by campsites that encouraged holiday makers to remain on site and use facilities to ease congestion,” he said.

“This could not have happened at a more difficult time, but I am sure everyone will understand, treating those involved to preserve lives and to undertake an investigation is the most important priority.”

Traffic was diverted via Slade and Lee, but it is understood after a minor caravan prang, people were asked to park up their caravans and proceed by car.

Helpful businesses

Alison and Adrian Homa, who run Mullacott Farm Bed and breakfast with her parents Caroline and Bryan Channing, opened up a field to enable beleaguered caravanners to park up.

“We realised there were going to be problems all day and in the end we had about 30 vans there. It was all very jolly and people seemed to be grateful,” said Mrs Homa.

“It could have been even more chaotic – imagine if that lot had started to drive down to Ilfracombe?”

Safely off the road

Claire Murray at Mullacott Park, said caravans had gone on to the industrial estate and she had taken as many on to the park as possible.

“They were everywhere, so it was just to get people into a safer place and off the road,” she said.

“Everyone was very good, considering the amount of people and traffic, it all went very well and people were calm. One of our lodge owners complimented the police on what a fantastic job they did with the diversion.”

Woolacombe Bay Holiday Park and sister parks at Golden Coast, Twitchen House and Easewell gave the ‘trapped’ and new arrivals use of their facilities for the day.

“There are much worse places to be stuck, such as the M5, rather than by a holiday park and a fantastic beach,” said sales manager Kevin Darvill.

“It wasn’t a problem to help out. If it helped police reduce the flow of traffic and people to leave North Devon with a positive impression.”