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Kielder Water and Forest Park in Kielder Northumberland has been awarded Gold, in the Tourism Experience of the Year at the Visit England Awards for Excellence 2013.
The honour is a great achievement and signifies that the visitor attraction has demonstrated that it is the best in English tourism.
Kielder Water and Forest Park, which spans 250 square miles, is home to the largest forest in England (managed by the Forestry Commission) and the largest man-made lake (managed by Northumbrian Water) in northern Europe. It was voted the most tranquil place in England by the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
The area has three visitor centres; Tower Knowe, Leaplish and the recently refurbished Kielder Castle ensuring there is plenty to explore and see.
One of the highlights of the forest park is the recolonisation of Ospreys.
This weekend will see the opening of the Osprey viewing area at Leaplish Waterside Park, which is open from 11.00am to 4.30pm at weekends and on Wednesdays, although not on Wednesday 29 May because the watch will be open on Bank Holiday Monday 27 May instead.
The viewing area is manned by volunteers in partnership with Northumberland Wildlife Trust. Visitors, who make the trip to Kielder, can view the birds and the chicks once they have hatched and learn about the Ospreys.
The Forestry Commission helped to install the nesting platforms in key locations attractive to ospreys and they have returned this year, the fourth in succession. The Forestry Commission also manages the protection of the birds and helps the public to learn more about the birds with a live camera feed from the nests to screens located in Kielder Castle and Leaplish Waterside Park allowing visitors and bird lovers to get close to the ospreys without disturbing them. There is also an exhibition at Kielder Castle of the Ospreys.
Members from Kielder Water and Forest Park Development Trust, including Alex MacLennan, Recreation and Public Affairs Manager for the North East Forestry Commission, were presented with the award by John Pelton, Head of Efficiency Challenge Programme at CH2M Hill - the sponsors of the event, and James Berresford, Chief Executive of Visit England, at the ceremony, held at Lancashire Cricket Club in Old Trafford, Manchester.
“We are delighted to receive this award, it is a tremendous acknowledgement for the work that we all carry out on the site, both staff and volunteers. We are going from strength to strength and look forward to welcoming back people familiar with the site as well as new visitors. We have so much to offer and now is a great time to come with the returning Ospreys.”
Kielder Water & Forest Park is also a centre for cycling and a great place to either hire a bike for a family day out or for the more adventurous to try out your skills on the mountain biking trials area or on the single track trail. It is the largest mountain bike network in England.
For more information go to www.visitkielder.com.
‘Like’ Kielder Water & Forest Park on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/kielder
Follow Kielder Water & Forest Park on Twitter - @visitkielder
To find out more about the Forestry Commission at Kielder visit
To find out more about the Ospreys visit the blog at http://www.visitkielder.com/play/discover/kielder-ospreys
To find out more about the Visit England Awards visit
Media contact: Margaret Bennett or Richard Hector Jones at Creative Concern on 0161 236 0600
Forestry Commission contact: Alex MacLennan (email@example.com
Tel:01434 221004 / 07917 267183)
Notes to editor:
Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust is a registered charity working to develop the Park as an inspirational place. It aims to improve economic, social and environmental sustainability, provide public recreation and leisure facilities, facilitate education in all aspects of the natural environment and advance art and architecture in the Park. The Trust works with the range of communities to benefit from these activities.
Members, who have appointed directors/trustees to serve on the board, are Northumbrian Water, Forestry Commission, Calvert Trust Kielder and Northumberland County Council. Affiliate organisations that are not members but have a close working relationship with KWFPDT include Arts Council England, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency, The Scout Association and local decision making bodies such as the parish councils
Kielder Osprey Watch 2013 is organised by the Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust Northumberland Wildlife Trust. The partners are working hard to ensure that the ospreys are here to stay by maintaining a high quality habitat in Kielder Water & Forest Park and safeguarding and monitoring the
Historically ospreys lived in Northumberland, hunting on the once
extensive network of marshes. Accounts written in the 1700s refer to the presence of `fish eating hawks’ locally. However, until 2009 there were no records of the bird breeding in the county for well over two centuries. The Kielder Water & Forest Park ospreys are thought to originate from the expanding Scottish population. Ospreys were once distributed widely, but persecution resulted in the species becoming extinct in England as a breeding bird in 1840 and in Scotland in 1916. Some birds re-colonised Scotland in the 1950s and by 2001 there were nearly 160 breeding pairs (today about 200). The same year saw the first successful osprey nests in England for 160 years by re-colonising birds in
the Lake District and re-introduced ones at Rutland Water in the East Midlands.
Osprey fact file:
• Ospreys are migratory and arrive in late March and April. They leave again for Africa in August and September.
• The bird of prey is an Amber List species because of its historical decline (due to illegal killing and egg theft) and low breeding numbers.
• Ospreys normally breed for the first time when they are aged between three and five years old.
• They are largely monogamous and strongly faithful both to nest and mate.
• The nest is generally built on the top of a large tree, usually a conifer.
• Females lay two or three eggs at one to three day intervals which are incubated for 37 days per egg.
• Ospreys divide the nesting duties between the pair. The female does most of the incubating, brooding and direct feeding of the young.
She guards them throughout the nesting period and will share the
hunting at later stages when the chicks are larger. The male is the
major provider of fish for the female and chicks. Chicks fledge about
seven weeks after hatching.
Northumberland Wildlife Trust is the largest environmental charity in the
region working to safeguard native wildlife. One of 47 Wildlife Trusts
across the UK, Northumberland Wildlife Trust has campaigned for nature
conservation for over 40 years. It aims to inform, educate and involve
people of all ages and backgrounds in protecting their environment in
favour of wildlife and conservation. Supported by over 13,000 individual
and 56 corporate members in the Region, Northumberland Wildlife Trust
manages and protects critical species and habitats at over 60 nature
reserves throughout Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland.