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A Shropshire beauty spot is proving to be more popular than ever after the Forestry Commission improved access by extending a car park.
The Forestry Commission, which is in the process of boosting facilities at Haughmond Hill, near Shrewsbury, has seen visitor numbers rocket by 20 per cent after work was completed on extending the car park earlier this year.
The car park expansion, which added 60 spaces, is the first phase of improvements funded by £172,500 of grants awarded by Natural England through the Aggregates Levy Sustainable Fund.
Dennis Moir, from the Forestry Commission in the Marches area, said:
“The car park extension that was completed earlier this year has proved to be very popular and the visitor numbers for August are already showing a 20 per cent increase on the corresponding number for last year.
“We are on schedule to complete the project by March 2011 and in the next few months visitors to the woodland will see new features in the forest, including a visitors’ centre near the car park, and also a toposcope (a plaque that points out interesting landscape features) on the viewpoint looking over Shrewsbury and the hills beyond.”
The Forestry Commission Project Team which includes representatives from Shropshire Geological Society, Shropshire Council and Haughmond Quarry, are exploring different forms of interpretation to best inform visitors of the geology, conservation and history of the woodland at Haughmond Hill.
The Natural England Aggregates Levy Sustainable Fund supports projects, which involve and deliver benefits for landscape and nature conservation, access and informal recreation, health and well-being, education and understanding and evidence gathering.
For more information on Haughmond Hill and the work of the Forestry Commission in the Marches area visit www.forestry.gov.uk/marches
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. The Forestry Commission is the largest provider of countryside recreation in Britain with responsibility for over one million hectares (2.4 million acres) of forest, woodlands and open countryside. The West Midlands region covers the counties of Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, the West Midlands and parts of Derbyshire and Leicestershire. To find out more about Forestry Commission England visit www.forestry.gov.uk/england.
2. The Aggregates Levy is a tax on the production of primary aggregates (sand, gravel and crushed rock used, for example, in the construction industry). Introduced in April 2002 part of the money raised is to fund the Sustainability Fund.
This fund, the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund or ALSF, aims to address the environmental and social cost of aggregate extraction by delivering environmental improvements, minimising the demand for primary aggregates, promoting environmentally friendly extraction and transport, encouraging the use of recycled and alternative materials, and reducing the local effects of aggregate extraction.
Natural England is one of a number of organisations selected by Defra to award Sustainability Fund grants for projects which reduce the effects of aggregate extraction. Natural England’s ALSF Grant Scheme aims to support projects that reduce or research the effects of aggregate extraction on nature conservation, landscapes, access, informal recreation and communities.
About Natural England
Natural England is here to conserve and enhance the natural environment, for its intrinsic value, the wellbeing and enjoyment of people and the economic prosperity that it brings.
Further information about Natural England’s Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund Grants Scheme can be found on www.naturalengland.org.uk. The ALSF grants team can be contacted on 01476 584 821.
Media contact: Dennis Moir at the Forestry Commission’s Mortimer Forest Office on 01584 813826 or email email@example.com