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St Helen's community woodland offers free green workouts

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Families are being encouraged to enjoy free green workouts on the Forestry Commission estate at the Brickfields community woodland in St Helens this February half term.

Experts believe that activities such as walking and cycling in clean green spaces can help people feel refreshed and energised.

With leisure trails, wildflower meadows and wetland habitats, the Brickfields community woodland, off Chester Lane in south St Helens is an ideal place for all the family to enjoy free outdoor exercise together in a greener, cleaner community area.

The Brickfields community woodland is part of Newlands (New Economic Environments via Woodlands) - a partnership scheme involving the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and the Forestry Commission.

The 59 million NWDA-funded regeneration scheme is rejuvenating around 381 hectares of the Northwest’s derelict, underused and neglected land to stimulate economic growth and further opportunities for leisure and environmental improvements.

Tim Oliver from the Forestry Commission is the Newlands Project Manager. He says:

“Community woodlands are great places for people to get out and active, especially during the school holidays. They’re also a great free way to enjoy exercise in the outdoors.”

2 million of funding has been provided for the Brickfields community woodland via Newlands.

A number of local partners, including Ibstock Brick Ltd, The Mersey Forest, St Helens Council and Groundwork are also involved in the project.

Additional funding of over 300,000 from EU Objective One via The Mersey Forest Trust has been secured for Brickfields.

The Brickfields project has also been funded by Biffaward, a multi-million pound environment fund managed by the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT), which utilises landfill tax credits donated by Biffa Waste Services.

Brickfields is one of seven Newlands projects currently being developed in the Northwest of England.

Further information about Brickfields and other 'Newlands' projects is available at and

More information about other Forestry Commission woodlands around North West England can be found at

1. Images of the Brickfields community woodland are available by calling 01524-782086.

2. The Newlands long-term investment for Brickfields is 2,136,104

3. A brownfield site is any land or premises that has previously been used and is not currently fully in use, although it may be partially occupied or utilised. It may also be vacant, derelict or contaminated. A brownfield site is not necessarily available for immediate use without intervention.

4.. Community Woodlands are multi-purpose open spaces that can be easily accessed by the local community, and can include a series of small woodlands, footpaths, cycle and bridleways, football pitches, wetland habitats and a wildflower meadow. Each site is designed in partnership with the local community to help improve and enhance the economic, environmental and social value of the local neighbourhood to work towards a sustainable environment for everyone.

5.. Woodland cover across the North West of England currently stands at just 6.5% compared with the national average of 8% and a European average of 33%.

6.. The Forestry Commission is the largest provider of countryside recreation in Britain, with responsibility for more than one million hectares (2.4 million acres) of forest, woodlands and open countryside. Its Northwest England Forest District covers the Lake District in Cumbria, the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cheshire. The forests are managed for conservation, wildlife, landscape and recreation as well as providing a valuable source of timber.

Paul Gardner or Jon Perkins at Osprey Communications on 01524-782086.

Tim Oliver (Newlands Programme Manager), tel. 01524 565806 or 07771 806964 or email: