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NEWS RELEASE No: 1651128 JULY 2015


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Hampsterly play trail

The Forestry Commission's Hamsterley Forest now offers further reasons to visit with the launch of the new Hamsterley Play Trail.

The new stretch of trail will formally open on Sunday August 2nd at midday featuring new wooden balance beams, stepping logs and a ‘clamber net’ which is sure to delight families of all ages. And the first 100 visitors will be rewarded with a cake treat courtesy of Hamsterley Forest Café.

When completed the play trail will be over 800m long and will straddle both banks of the Bedburn Beck creating a fun playscape for all visitors. Participants on Sunday will also have the exciting opportunity to contribute ideas for what they would like to see in the next phases of the Play Trail.

Jointly funded by DEFRA Northern Lands Fund and Forestry Commission England, the first phase is 50m of forest ‘parcour’, and can be attempted by anyone aged 4 years and upwards. Parcour is also known as urban free running and this forest version challenges visitors to balance, jump and climb along the length of the course without your feet touching the forest floor.

The Play Trail also follows part of the route of the new ‘Superworm’ trail and is home to Hamsterley’s very own Gruffalo.

Hamsterley Forest is popular with families and groups who visit to enjoy both the built and natural play features the forest provides. It has seen a lot of developments over the last few years with the opening of the new OddSox Trail in May, a new bridge and revamped visitor centre, car park and Cycle Centre. It has evolved into one of the leading tourist attractions in the North East.

Alex MacLennan, Recreation & Public Affairs Manager, for the Forestry Commission in the North East says,

“With the opening of this new part of the Hamsterley Play Trail I am confident that Hamsterley Forest now offers one of the best value days out in the whole of the North East.

“Carefully constructed to be both challenging and fun for all ages, the trail gives children the chance to have their first attempt at parcour in a safe outdoor environment. The children that have had a sneak preview have all loved the new trail and have proven themselves to be keen contributors of ideas regarding what we should include as features in the next stretch of the trail.”
For more information, to register attendance, interview opportunities and hi-res images contact or call 07966 378 968

Notes to Editor

• The Forestry Commission in England works to secure and grow the economic, social and natural capital value of the Public Forest Estate for the people of England. The North England Forest District looks after forests in, Northumbria, Tyne and Wear County Durham, Cumbria and, Lancashire.
• Northern Lands is a programme of projects designed to develop the tourism product of the North East’s protected landscapes so that they attract more visitors, encourage existing visitors to stay longer and inspire visitors to spend more in rural businesses and communities. The programme’s purpose is to support rural communities by developing the rural visitor economy and help protect the landscapes by promoting greater understanding of their special qualities.  The programme is support from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) 2007-13 through Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development
• The Northern Lands programme is managed by Visit County Durham, the destination management agency for County Durham. It is administered by the Funding and Programmes division of Durham County Council. Project partners in the Northern Lands programme are: the Forestry Commission, Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership and Northumberland National Park Authority. Supporting partners are: the Durham Heritage Coast Partnership, Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Cumbria Tourism and Northumberland Tourism. Funding partners are: Durham County Council, Northumberland County Council and business in the North East rural visitor economy.