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A Forestry Commission visitor centre has arrived at a Shropshire beauty spot as part of a £266,000 makeover.
The unit, which includes a café and toilets, was built away from the site by Gloucester firm Melvin John Electrical.
The building has been designed especially to sensitively fit in with its forestry surroundings, with wooden cladding on the exterior walls and shingles on the roof, which are sourced sustainably. The building is heated by a log burner that was kindly donated by local firm Clearview Stoves. The café will be open to the public in two weeks time.
Nicola Cowell, from the Forestry Commission in the Marches area, said:
“We can’t wait for the building to open. It will be a fabulous asset for the community to use and it will enhance the experience for the ever increasing numbers of visitors who come to this fantastic site at Haughmond Hill.”
Four walking trails will start from the Visitor Centre and there will also be information boards to educate people about the working forest.
After the café building has been installed the Forestry Commission are proposing to place a toposcope, that informs visitors of landscape features, on the site’s main viewpoint. This will also provide a seating area to rest and take in the amazing views over Shrewsbury to the hills beyond. The material used for the viewpoint feature is likely to be Shropshire rock – to celebrate the county’s geology.
The Forestry Commission has already increased the size of the site’s car park and this has seen a substantial rise in the number of visitors to Haughmond Hill.
The work is mostly funded by a grant from Natural England through Defra’s Aggregate Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF), which aims to support projects that reduce the effects of aggregate extraction on local communities and the natural environment.
It supports projects, which involve and deliver benefits for landscape and nature conservation, access and informal recreation, health and well-being, education and understanding and evidence gathering.
For more information on Haughmond Hill and the work of the Forestry Commission in the Marches area visit www.forestry.gov.uk/marches
NOTES TO EDITORS
- The Forestry Commission is the largest provider of countryside recreation in Britain with responsibility for over one million hectares (2.4 million acres) of forest, woodlands and open countryside. The West Midlands region covers the counties of Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, the West Midlands and parts of Derbyshire and Leicestershire. To find out more about Forestry Commission England visit www.forestry.gov.uk/england.
- The Aggregates Levy is a tax on the production of primary aggregates (sand, gravel and crushed rock used, for example, in the construction industry). Introduced in April 2002 part of the money raised is to fund the Sustainability Fund.
This fund, the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund or ALSF, aims to address the environmental and social cost of aggregate extraction by delivering environmental improvements, minimising the demand for primary aggregates, promoting environmentally friendly extraction and transport, encouraging the use of recycled and alternative materials, and reducing the local effects of aggregate extraction. Natural England is one of a number of organisations selected by Defra to award Sustainability Fund grants for projects which reduce the effects of aggregate extraction. Natural England’s ALSF Grant Scheme aims to support projects that reduce or research the effects of aggregate extraction on nature conservation, landscapes, access, informal recreation and communities.
- About Natural England
Natural England is here to conserve and enhance the natural environment, for its intrinsic value, the wellbeing and enjoyment of people and the economic prosperity that it brings.
- Further information about Natural England’s Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund Grants Scheme can be found on www.naturalengland.org.uk. The ALSF grants team can be contacted on 01476 584 821.
- Media contact: Nicola Cowell at the Forestry Commission’s Mortimer Forest Office on 01584 813826 or email firstname.lastname@example.org