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A children’s adventure trail is to be created in a Lake District forest – boosting the local economy by an estimated £500,000.
Following a £200,000 investment by the Northwest Regional Development Agency, the ‘Wildplay’ project at the Forestry Commission’s Whinlatter Forest, near Keswick, will see the creation of a 600m-long trail with nine separate play areas designed for children aged between six and 13-years-old.
The Wildplay attraction will significantly improve the visitor offering at Whinlatter for families and will provide a superb way for children to experience a healthy, physical challenge that is both fun and in a natural environment.
Paul Brown, Forestry Commission recreation ranger at Whinlatter, said:
“This project will significantly improve the experience for young families coming to Whinlatter Forest. We already have a superb range of activities and attractions for adults – such as two purpose-built mountain bike courses, a Go Ape high-wire course, osprey viewing areas and footpaths and trails. However, our offering for children has never reached those same high standards. Now, with Whinlatter Wildplay we are confident we will become as popular for kids as we already are with our regular adult visitors.”
Whinlatter Wildplay will replace an aging existing play area and will include an array of exciting elements, including: a rope bridge, large slide, climbing features, a pushchair halfpipe, and water attractions such as an Archimedes screw and splash pumps.
The equipment will be designed to provide children with physical challenges to help improve balance, strength, aerobic fitness, co-ordination, risk taking and team work.
It is estimated that increased visitor numbers of 50,000 would bring in the additional spending boost to both the forest and local retailers.
Aside from young families the facilities would also be used by schools and children with learning or physical disabilities could use zones specially designed for them.
Preparation work for the Whinlatter Wildplay has already started and it is expected to be open for use by Easter next year.
Graeme Prest, Forestry Commission area manager for North West England, said:
“We already provide more than 200 kilometres of walking and mountain biking trails in the North West, all free to use 365 days a year. In addition to this our rangers offer forest education to people of all ages and backgrounds.
“The facilities that we have developed at Whinlatter Forest in recent years are absolutely fantastic and exceed visitor expectations. The creation of the Wildplay trail will add to this already excellent offer and will help ensure children and young families enjoy the forest as much as everyone else does.”
For more information about Whinlatter Forest please visit www.forestry.gov.uk/whinlatter
Notes to editors
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.
Sarah Bruce on 01229 8620111.