Beloved UK theme park Diggerland to close forever as Covid devastates business

A popular UK theme park is to close after bosses say Covid has killed the business.

Bosses say the pandemic has caused a £100,000 loss and the financial wheels to fall off at Diggerland Devon.

Reduced tourist and visitor numbers during lockdown mean the site has been leaking cash and it will close on September 5.

The company's other theme parks in Kent, Durham and Yorkshire will remain open.

A Diggerland representative said: "It is with deep regret that due to circumstances beyond our control we must close the Diggerland park located in Devon.

"The Devon park has struggled with staffing levels this year and has lost money heavily since the start of the pandemic.

"This decision has most definitely not been an easy one to make.

"We would like to thank all of our staff working at the Diggerland Devon park for their hard work and dedication over the last year and a half.

"It most definitely has not been easy but the vast majority of our staff have been amazing during this difficult time."

Speaking to DevonLive, a spokesperson for the company said about 60 staff would be laid off.

Diggerland was recently voted as one of the top seven tourist attractions for families in the south west.

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The statement added: "All customers who have booked to visit the Devon park post the closure date, have either been contacted already, or will be contacted very soon regarding alternative arrangements."

The park, close to junction 28 of the M5 opened in May 2001. Adults and older kids were charged £22 to enter, with children under three feet tall getting in for free.

The parks were the brainchild of Hugh Edeleanu who ran a company supplying construction machinery to companies across Europe.

On an open day he noticed how children were fascinated by the machines and couldn't wait just to sit in their cabs.

The first park, Diggerland Kent, opened in April 2000 and had more than 20,000 visitors passing through its gates in the first year.

Diggerland Durham opened in March 2001, followed by Diggerland Devon two months later. In 2007 Diggerland Castleford opened.

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