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Families in Cumbria can enjoy a greener more sustainable Christmas this year at the Forestry Commission’s Whinlatter Forest Park.
England’s only true mountain forest, near Keswick, is being transformed into a magical winter wonderland, with thousands of real Christmas trees, all from sustainable sources, to choose from.
The freshly cut real trees include locally grown traditional Norway Spruce, no-drop pine and fir trees. And customers can take their tree safe in the knowledge that the Forestry Commission replants at least one tree for each one harvested.
Santa will be in his grotto in the heart of the forest during the weekends of the 4th and 5th and 11th and 12th December from 11am until 3pm. However, people will need to book to see him on arrival at the Visitor Centre.
There will be help from local children, as Braithwaite School is setting up a Reindeer Trail through the forest with a prize for those completing it. The pupils will also be selling Christmas wreaths and Christmas pudding, to help with their school fundraising activities.
Visitors can even do their Christmas shopping away from the hustle and bustle of the high street, as the Forest Shop and Cyclewise bike shop will both be open for festive business.
Nathan Fox from Whinlatter Forest Park, said:
“We’re trying to keep Christmas real at Whinlatter this year. The emphasis is on real trees, and real forest Christmas atmosphere.
“With a wide network of forest tracks and trails, as well as craft activities for the children, families can easily come and spend a green festive day in the forest”
Siskin’s Café in the forest will be serving a selection of hot and cold food and drink from a seasonally themed menu.
The Forestry Commission Christmas tree centre will be open daily from Tuesday 30th November until Sunday 19th December, or until stocks last. People will be able to select the tree of their choice from 10am until 4pm on weekdays and from 10am until 5pm at weekends.
Rising to 790 metres above sea level Whinlatter Forest Park offers spectacular views of the Lake District and into Scotland. Visitors can explore miles of walking trails and mountain bike routes through the stunning park.
For more information about Christmas events, tree sales and activities at Whinlatter Forest this season call the Whinlatter Forest Visitor Centre on 017687 78469 and select the shop option, or visit www.forestry.gov.uk/whinlatterforestpark
The Whinlatter Visitor Centre and Forest Park is situated to the west of Bassenthwaite, between Keswick and Cockermouth. Follow the B5292 Whinlatter Pass Road.
For information on what Christmas activities are happening around the country please visit www.forestry.gov.uk/england-christmas
NOTES TO EDITORS:
The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.
Forestry Commission England sells around 50,000 Christmas trees each year from 25 Christmas tree sales centres.
What are the advantages of real over fake Christmas trees?
• Real trees are a renewable resource – another tree is planted for every one harvested
• it has been estimated that real trees used 10-times less basic materials and 5-times less energy than artificial trees
• real trees are totally biodegradable and can be recycled and made into compost
• real trees are the traditional option and also provide a Christmassy scent
• growing real Christmas trees helps sustain the UK rural economy and provides jobs
Why you should you buy a real Christmas tree from the Forestry Commission?
• The Forestry Commission only sells trees that are grown in a sustainable manner in the UK - for every tree harvested another is replanted.
• Environmental factors are considered carefully on sites where Forestry Commission trees are taken from.
• The Forestry Commission endeavours to provide excellent quality trees, with good needle retention, in a range of species including the traditional Norway spruce, dense, bushy pines and shapely firs.
• The large number and choice of species displayed on site provides a very good range to select from - your ideal tree will be there somewhere
• Many of our sales centres offer much more than just buying a tree, but a whole Christmas experience, with a Santa's grotto, and a whole range of activities for both little and big kids to get into the festive spirit!
For a comprehensive picture of the benefits of real Christmas trees from the Christmas tree sales sector as a whole please contact the British Christmas Tree Growers’s Association on 0131 664110.
Nathan Fox (Forest Ranger) at Whinlatter Forest on 017687 78611 (office); 07720700322 (mobile)