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NEWS RELEASE No: 1463224 MAY 2011

Exciting and innovative 200,000 new children’s play trail opens at Whinlatter Forest

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local school children testing the Whinlatter WildPlay trail

An exciting and innovative children’s adventure trail that is estimated to boost the local economy by £500,000 will open on the 28th May in Whinlatter Forest.

Consisting of nine separate play areas linked by a 600m-long trail, the Whinlatter WildPlay trail is a unique attraction for children.

It has been designed to be a superb way for children to experience a healthy and physical challenge in the spectacular surroundings of England’s only mountain forest.

Paul Brown, Forestry Commission Recreation Ranger at Whinlatter Forest, said:

“It gives us great pleasure to see the Whinlatter WildPlay trail open with the knowledge that the children are going to get a lot of enjoyment from it as well as learning valuable skills at the same time.

“The Whinlatter WildPlay is a fantastic addition to the activities on offer in the forest and will help us to attract many more families to spend unforgettable days at Whinlatter.

“The mountain bike trails and Go Ape high-wire course has already proved a big hit with adults and I am sure the Whinlatter WildPlay will prove to be equally as popular with the younger generations.”

The WildPlay has replaced an aging play area and is on a far larger scale. Exciting elements include a rope bridge, a bouldering wall, a pushchair halfpipe, water attractions, tyre swings and a birds nest swing.

The equipment will help provide children with challenges that help improve balance, strength, aerobic fitness, co-ordination, risk-taking and team work.

Pupils from Flimby and Braithwaite primary schools tested the WildPlay trail out on Tuesday (May 24).

Cameron, 10, from Flimby Primary School, said:

“It is amazing. I like how the climbing frame is not straight because that makes it harder. I have not seen anything like this before and I want to come again.”

Alison Park, senior teacher at Flimby School, said:

“The children absolutely love it. It is great that there is somewhere for them to explore and exercise without realising it and it is a good challenge for them. They are really learning too. There are lots of investigations and teamwork as well.”

The trail’s opening will be part of a family fun day on the 28th May, with activities on offer across the site to help celebrate, starting from 11am, with the opening ceremony for the trail at 12pm.

The Whinlatter WildPlay trail has been funded by £200,000 investment by the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), funded by Defra and the EU, and managed by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA).

It is estimated that the attraction will provide around half a million pounds of extra income into the local economy with an additional 50,000 visitors spending in the forest and with nearby businesses.

Graeme Prest, Forestry Commission area manager for North West England, said:

“The facilities that have been developed at Whinlatter in recent years are fantastic and consistently exceed visitor expectations. The new WildPlay trail adds to this excellent range of attractions and, we hope, will help enthuse a new generation of young people to the fun of the outdoors and in particular forests like Whinlatter.”

For more information about Whinlatter Forest please visit


Notes to editors 

  1. 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. The North West 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. 

  2. The Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) is jointly funded by the Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. It was launched in 2008 and will run until 2013.

  3. Along with Natural England and the Forestry Commission, the NWDA is responsible for delivering RDPE in the Northwest. RDPE is investing £374 million in the region, £75 million of which has been allocated to the NWDA.

  4. The remaining £299 million is being delivered by Natural England and the Forestry Commission.


Media contact:
Sarah Bruce on 01229 8620111.