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12 MARCH 2012 NEWS RELEASE No: 15348

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Celebrate the history behind nature during English tourism week

Maple Loop Silk Wood

With spring just around the corner, our woodlands and forests are gradually waking up - so it’s the perfect time to get out and about and join Forestry Commission England in celebrating English Tourism Week (10 - 18 March). You can take part by delving into our nature’s fascinating history and making the most of all that your local forest has to offer throughout the week.

Forestry Commission England offers access to the country’s vast public forest estate and, with around 40 million visits a year, it’s a hugely popular way to discover England’s natural past. But, with so much to see and do across the country, where should you start?

Why not take a visit to Westonbirt, The National Arboretum in Gloucestershire.  Follow Westonbirt’s Native Tree Trail in Silk Wood to discover the fascinating story of Britain’s native trees. Britain has around 40 native trees, a relatively small number compared to some other countries. The trail explores the history of this small but fascinating group using informative panels and sculpture - from the early colonisers of frozen tundra and the wildwoods that once covered much of Britain, to the first clearances and introductions by people.

With the forest estate dating back thousands of years, Forestry Commission England works hard to ensure it is protected and sustained for visitors and future generations to treasure and enjoy. Our forests were originally used as royal hunting grounds; such as the Royal Forest of Dean which became England’s first National Park in 1938. This is home to the largest gathering of ancient oak trees in Britain and sparked the beginning of forest tourism as we now know it. Today,it boasts countless activities for families to enjoy. 

Pam Warhurst, Forestry Commission Chair, explains:

“English Tourism Week creates the perfect opportunity to explore your local forest and start unraveling the plentiful history nestled in England’s woods and forests. From cycling and wildlife spotting to horse riding and nature trails, there are so many ways you can join Forestry Commission England in marking a week that helps celebrate all that the great outdoors has to offer.”

Across all Forestry Commission woodlands, nuggets of history are waiting to be uncovered and enjoyed alongside magnificent scenery. If you take a visit to Whinlatter, you’ll be walking amongst the only mountain forest in England which also offers breathtaking views of the Lake District and the beginnings of Scotland. If you’re looking to learn more about our country’s rich tapestry of history, then the New Forest is the place to visit. Created by William the Conqueror around 900 years ago as a royal hunting ground, it’s steeped in history. Don’t forget to visit the Bronze Age burial mounds and learn how the people of this time influenced the forest landscape.

There’s so much to see and do during English Tourism Week so, for more information about how you can get involved, visit http://www.visitengland.org/england-tourism-industry/etw/index.aspx 

Ends

NOTES TO EDITOR

  1. 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 www.forestry.gov.uk/england

Media Contact: Faye Dawson 0117 3721085 faye.dawson@forestry.gsi.gov.uk