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Parents and children encouraged to ditch consoles for woodlands this half-term

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Family walking on the Firecrest trail

The Forestry Commission are encouraging families to ditch the games consoles and computers and head to their local community woodland for some healthy fun in the outdoors.

Community woodlands, like LIVIA in Salford and Bury, are fantastic green public areas that have been created as part of the Newlands scheme for people to enjoy. With more than 13km of cycle routes, pathways and a purpose built, single track ‘blue’ mountain bike trail, as well as other play areas, the LIVIA community woodland is ideal for all the family to enjoy together this February half term.

The LIVIA community woodland is part of Newlands (New Economic Environments via Woodlands) - a partnership scheme involving the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and the Forestry Commission. 

Tim Oliver, the Forestry Commission’s community woodlands manager, said:

“There are some fantastic places like LIVIA that are easily accessible for people to visit and enjoy themselves in a natural and healthy environment.

“We would like to encourage people to ditch their computer games and televisions during the school half-term this February and visit their community woodlands.”

LIVIA is one of seven Newlands projects that have been developed in the Mersey Belt area of Northwest England. 

The £59 million NWDA-funded regeneration Newlands scheme has been rejuvenating around 381 hectares of the Northwest’s derelict, underused and neglected land to stimulate economic growth and further opportunities for leisure and environmental improvements.

Stretching from Clifton in Salford to Prestwich in Bury, the LIVIA Newlands project boasts a diverse mix of habitats and facilities.  It makes up part of Red Rose Forest - Greater Manchester’s Community Forest – which is delivering environmental improvement projects and creating a cohesive network of green spaces along the Irwell Valley.

Managed by the Forestry Commission in partnership with Bury Council, Salford City Council, Groundwork and Red Rose Forest, LIVIA has become part of a much larger ‘green space network’.

At 170 hectares it is a beacon project for Newlands which is set to provide the area with parkland on the scale of New York’s Central Park.

Further information about LIVIA and other 'Newlands' projects is available at and

More information about other Forestry Commission woodlands around North West England can be found at


  1. Images of the LIVIA Community Woodland are available by calling 01524-782086.

  2. The capital investment from the Newlands programme (including long-term management funding) for the Lower Irwell Valley Improvement Area (LIVIA) is £8.5million.

  3. A brownfield site is any land or premises that has previously been used and is not currently fully in use, although it may be partially occupied or utilised. It may also be vacant, derelict or contaminated. A brownfield site is not necessarily available for immediate use without intervention.

  4. Community Woodlands are multi-purpose open spaces that can be easily accessed by the local community, and can include a series of small woodlands, footpaths, cycle and bridleways, football pitches, wetland habitats and a wildflower meadow. Each site is designed in partnership with the local community to help improve and enhance the economic, environmental and social value of the local neighbourhood to work towards a sustainable environment for everyone.

  5. Woodland cover across the North West of England currently stands at just 6.5% compared with the national average of 8% and a European average of 33%.

  6. 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. Its Northwest 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.

Paul Gardner or Ian Boydon at Osprey Communications on 01524-782086.

Tim Oliver, tel. 01524 565806 or 07771 806964 or email: