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NEWS RELEASE No: 1392916 AUGUST 2010

Rediscover Haldon Forest Park

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Family cycling along a forest road

Come and rediscover the joys of the Forestry Commission’s Haldon Forest Park at a fun family event on Sunday 19 September from 11am until 5pm.  The event is being held to celebrate the opening of a new cycle trail network which has been invested in by the Rural Development Programme for England as part of the 1 South West project.

There will be a range of family friendly activities happening on the day including cycle demonstrations from Eccentric Cycles, bushcraft skills, facepainting, bike decoration sessions and go ride cycle skills sessions.  In addition people can enter a prize draw to win ‘The Haldon Experience’ which includes free bike hire from Forest Cycle Hire, a free Go Ape! ticket, a free meal for four at The Ridge Cafe, a free Discovery Pass, a free slow goodie bag from CCANW and a free Segways session. 

Haldon Forest Park is one of ten sites across the South West to benefit directly from the 1 South West project.  This Forestry Commission led partnership is developing trails, sites and information across the whole region which will enhance the quality of experience for anyone who wants to enjoy off-road cycling. 

Louise Bell, Haldon Forest Park manager says:

“We are delighted to have been able to develop the new cycle trail and a skills area with the help of funding made available by the Rural Development Programme for England for the 1 South West project.  We wanted to use the opening as an opportunity to relaunch the park, which has so much to offer families.  With the addition of this new trail we now have a range of walking and cycling trails to suit people of all abilities. 

“People can hire bikes if they don’t have their own from Forest Cycle Hire which is located on site, and people can now explore the forest in a totally different way on Segway tours based at the park.  We also have the excellent Ridge Cafe on site serving a range of delicious food and drinks and we have the Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World (CCANW) on site holding exciting exhibitions.  Go Ape! is also based at Haldon.  We are incredibly proud of the development at the site over the last few years and feel that it offers a wonderful place for people to get out and about in the great outdoors and have a fantastic day out. 

“This event is a day of celebration and we welcome everyone to come along and enjoy the day with us.”


1. There is something for everyone at Haldon Forest Park.  It is 3.500 acres of woodland, owned by the Forestry Commission, just fifteen minutes from Exeter.  It is open every day and there are a range of walks and all ability trails, cycling trails as well as a wide range of events.  Rangers are on hand daily to give advice and ensure people get the most out of their visit.  In addition Forest Cycle Hire is based at Haldon, hiring out mountain bikes to visitors and facilitating groups of cyclists in the forest.  Haldon Forest Park also hosts Go Ape, an award-winning high wire forest adventure course of rope bridges, tarzan swings and zip slides in the tree tops.  The Ridge Café is open at Malden every day serving a range of delicious, locally sourced food and drink.  The site is also home to the Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World, an innovative organisation, which uses the arts to explore new understandings of our place within nature.  They hold regular exhibitions and run educational events.

2. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment.  Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.  Further information can be found at

3. For further information please contact Kirstie Smith, Communications Manager, Forestry Commission on 01392 834249.

The Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) runs from 2007 to 2013.  It is the 2nd pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy and aims to support the creation of genuinely sustainable farming, forestry and food sectors, whilst also bringing wider benefits for the economy, the environment and rural communities. It provides the major financial vehicle for protecting and enhancing the environment and securing a range of public benefits for society. Defra is the Managing Authority.

The RDPE has three priorities for rural development:
      1. Improving competitiveness of the agriculture and forestry sectors
    2. Improving the environment and the countryside 
    3. Improving the quality of life in rural areas and encouraging diversification of economic activity In this region, the South West RDA will deliver priorities 1and 3 with a budget of £156.8 million over the seven years. The RDA is also responsible for ensuring that five per cent of the RDPE funding is spent on enabling community involvement in rural development.  The delivery partners in the South West aim to ensure that investment in each of the three priorities will help support investment in the others.
The RDPE priority for improving the environment and the countryside is being delivered nationally by the Forestry Commission’s Woodland Grant Scheme and Natural England’s Environmental Stewardship Scheme.    In addition, a minimum of 5% of the programme will be delivered through a local community-led approach.

The aims, objectives and priorities for delivering RDPE in South West England were agreed for the socio-economic investments with regional partners and these are set out in the Regional Implementation Plan. On the basis of a thorough analysis of South West England’s rural characteristics and economy, the Plan sets out eight themes:
 i. Skills development
 ii. Social enterprise
 iii. Business support
 iv. Supply chain and adding value
 v. Resource management (soil, water, energy, waste)  vi. Sustainable rural tourism  vii. Biodiversity and landscape  viii. Community-led development Further more information on the RDPE and the schemes see Organisations involved in delivering RDPE The South West RDA leads the development of a sustainable economy, investing to unlock the region's business potential. It works in partnership with public, private and social purpose organisations to drive up the region's productivity by giving people the skills they need, encouraging enterprise, improving infrastructure, regenerating places and promoting the strengths of the region. For more information see Natural England works for people, places and nature to conserve and enhance biodiversity, landscapes and wildlife in rural, urban, coastal and marine areas. It conserves and enhances the natural environment for its intrinsic value, the wellbeing and enjoyment of people, and the economic prosperity it brings. For more information see  Environmental Stewardship (ES) was launched in 2005, builds on the very best practice already evident in British farming. During the period 2007-13 the national budget for ES will be £2.9 billion. The objectives of ES are to: 
  Conserve wildlife (biodiversity). 
  Maintain and enhance landscape quality and character. 
  Protect the historic environment and natural resources. 
  Promote public access and understanding of the countryside. 
  Natural resource protection.