This news story is now over a year old and information may no longer be accurate or up-to-date. It might also contain obsolete links.
Please use our search link on the left to look for more recent information.
After an investment of nearly a third of a million pounds, Hamsterley Forest now boasts another new attraction with a new iconic bridge crossing the Bedburn beck - creating a circular multi-user trail for all visitors.
The new bridge is just one of a number of new developments in the forest and opens formally on Thursday 11 September.
The striking new bridge will link the walking and cycle trails to the new visitor centre and car park and on-site cycle centre. The new bridge completes the circular multi-user trail and will significantly improve access to Hamsterley Forest for disabled visitors and for visitors who wish to undertake a shorter route. It will also provide a faster link into the heart of the forest from the main car park for all users
The popular visitor centre, which is near to the new bridge, was given a dramatic facelift earlier this year, creating a fresh look to its buildings, including the popular cafe and cycle centre and improving the overall experience for visitors.
With over 200,000 people visiting Hamsterley Forest every year to cycle, walk and engage with nature, the forest is a key natural asset of the area for both locals and tourists. It is often the first port of call for those looking to explore the finer things County Durham has to offer.
The completion of the new look visitor centre and the installation of the new bridge followed a successful volunteer drive that helped renovate sections of Hamsterley Forest bike trails which opened earlier in 2014. 400m of new mountain bike trail was built with £20,000 of the funding coming from the local mountain bike club Hamsterley Trailblazers. An army of loyal supportive volunteers from the club, working with the Forestry Commission team, helped to complete the new bike trail.
Alex MacLennan, Recreation and Public Affairs Manager for the Forestry Commission in north east England says,
“It’s taken a lot of work from both the Forestry Commission and our army of loyal volunteers but we have finished the next stage of the project and I have to say the new visitor centre, bridge and trail are very impressive and are going to be a real draw for visitors.
“Hamsterley is one of the most beautiful forests in the region and with 2000 acres of mixed woodland to explore, it’s good to know that our visitors now have even better access to a great café and visitor centre in which to relax and refuel after a day out.
“The funding through the Northern Lands project has really assisted in unlocking the potential of the forest and we are currently experiencing one of our busiest years and we are seeing more mid-week visits than ever before, which is fantastic news for the on-site rural businesses.”
A formal launch of Hamsterley Forest’s new iconic multi user bridge will take place mid September.
For more information, interview opportunities and hi-res images contact Richard@creativeconcern.comor call 07966 378 968
Notes to Editors
1. The Forestry Commission in England works to secure and grow the economic, social and natural capital value of the Public Forest Estate for the people of England. The North England Forest District looks after forests in Cumbria, the Lancashire, Northumbria, Tyne and Wear and County Durham.
2. Northern Lands is a programme of projects designed to develop the tourism product of the North East’s protected landscapes so that they attract more visitors, encourage existing visitors to stay longer and inspire visitors to spend more in rural businesses and communities. The programme’s purpose is to support rural communities by developing the rural visitor economy and help protect the landscapes by promoting greater understanding of their special qualities. The programme is support from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) 2007-13 through Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development
3. The Northern Lands programme is managed by Visit County Durham, the destination management agency for County Durham. It is administered by the Funding and Programmes division of Durham County Council. Project partners in the Northern Lands programme are: the Forestry Commission, Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership and Northumberland National Park Authority. Supporting partners are: the Durham Heritage Coast Partnership, Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Cumbria Tourism and Northumberland Tourism. Funding partners are: Durham County Council, Northumberland County Council and business in the North East rural visitor economy.