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NEWS RELEASE No: 1357720 MAY 2010

Play the natural way at Discover Wistlandpound

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children at wistpoundland

Children from Goodleigh Pre-school gave a big thumbs up to a new natural play area that has been created at Discover Wistlandpound near Barnstaple.  The children were visiting Wistlandpound as part of a sponsored toddle to raise money for Barnardo’s. 

Forester Jimmy Mann and his team Richard Hunt and Clive Hunt have built a range of new balance beams, stepping logs, stepping discs and wooden seats, using materials from the forest.  There is also a stockpile of sticks for den building, a cone pit and a supply of material for creating natural art. 

The Libra School has also been helping with the natural play project.  Three young people from the school, Jonny Sprake, Fay Evans and Isham Coulson have been visiting the site for one day a week this term, to take part in a variety of outdoor and environmental activities.  Part of their time has been spent to helping to put the finishing touches to the Natural Play area.

Discover Wistlandpound Manager Nicola Yeo says: “We wanted to create the natural play area to add another element to the site for people to enjoy.  We wanted to use materials and resources sourced on site and got ideas and guidance from the Forestry Commission ‘Nature Play’ booklet which encourages staff to advocate the use of natural play to help us do this.

“The addition of this area means that Discover Wistlandpound really has even more to offer visitors, and it has further enhanced the site’s play value.  It is located in a tucked away area of the forest, so families really have to explore the woods to find it.  We also have an accessible Challenge trail and a Discovery trail, which can be used by people of all abilities. 

“I am delighted that the children from Goodleigh pre-school visited the natural play area as part of their sponsored toddle – they really enjoyed the experience and thought the play area was great fun!”

As well as taking part in the sponsored walk the children from Goodleigh took part in one of the many activities from the Discovery Centres education pack ‘Miniature shelter building’. The children worked together in teams to build a miniature shelter, using natural materials from the forest for a cuddly version of the Wistlandpound icon, ‘ Wisty the wood mouse’!

Discover Wistlandpound is open every day for people to enjoy and the site is free other than a small parking charge - £2 for the day.  In addition, The Calvert Trust is based there and offers accessible outdoor activity breaks and courses for people with disabilities, together with their families and friends. 

Discover Wistlandpound is a partnership project between Calvert Trust Exmoor, the Forestry Commission and South West Lakes Trust. The project is based around the reservoir, managed forest and heritage buildings located at Wistlandpound, near Barnstaple.


1. 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.  Further information can be found at

2. Established in April 2000, South West Lakes Trust is the South West's largest conservation and recreation charity. It was created to encourage, promote and enhance sustainable recreation, access, nature conservation and education on and around over 50 inland waters in the South West for the benefit of all.   The Trust is now listed in the top 3,000 of the country’s 190,000 registered charities, attracts some two million visits annually to its venues and visitors contribute around £30 million of much needed inward investment to the local economy. By developing key inland water sites, the Trust has enabled local businesses to grow and develop their own enterprises.

3. Calvert Trust Exmoor provides challenging outdoor activities for people with disabilities to enjoy, together with their friends and family.  All activities are on site, we have our own riding stables and indoor and outdoor climbing walls. We also offer sailing, canoeing, kayaking, horse riding, carriage driving, archery and a zip wire. Specialist equipment and highly qualified instructors make activities accessible for all ages and all abilities. In the evening guests use the pool and jacuzzi and there's a sensory room with equipment that's already a favourite.  Our accommodation is accessible to all, equipment such as hoists are provided and the food is home cooked. Guests have outdoor adventures that restore their confidence and self esteem. At Calvert Trust Exmoor we focus on what people can do rather than what they can't.

4. For further information, please contact Kirstie Smith, Communications Manager, Forestry Commission on 01392 834249.