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New Opportunities for Mortimer Forest

Latest News (16/05/2018 17:09)

Since we held our public exhibitions about proposals for Mortimer Forest, some individuals against these proposals have circulated and shared incorrect information online and in the media.

We held our public exhibitions so that we could have a genuine discussion with local people so that everyone with an interest in our proposals for this small area of Mortimer Forest has a fair opportunity to form their own views.

We have answered what we think are some of the most important questions people may be asking as a result of the misinformation. In our page Clarification of Facts

 

The large wooded area which makes up Mortimer Forest comprises of many individual woodlands within the Mortimer Ward of Herefordshire. It is popular locally with walkers, dog walkers, cyclists and horse riders amongst others.

Our proposals for the future were introduced at a series of public exhibitions during February and more than 250 people attended these events. 

The proposals involve working with one of our many partners, Forest Holidays to enable us to deliver long term benefits for our existing visitors, for wildlife and the local economy through the creation of new overnight accommodation opportunities within a very small part of Mortimer Forest.

The plans, which are supported and funded by Forest Holidays include new public toilets within Vinnalls car park, a new design for a landscaped viewpoint at High Vinnalls, proposals to upgrade and replace the family-friendly natural play equipment at Vinnalls car park, new and enhanced trails, cabins and areas of ecological and habitat enhancement. 

The proposed cabin site sits within an area of conifer forest which was planted in the late 1970’s on open farm land.  The area is therefore not classed as “ancient woodland” as it has only been wooded for a relatively short period and is not currently ecologically rich or diverse.

Our plan is to enhance this area by converting it over time to a much more diverse forest which has a wide variety of tree and shrub species with a broader age structure. This will be achieved through careful thinning and by encouraging natural regeneration, supplemented with planting.  Throughout this process forest cover will be maintained which means that the site will always be screened from the rest of the forest and surrounding countryside.

Forest Holidays was created by the Forestry Commission more than forty years ago and today successfully operates in nine UK forests including four in National Parks. The business brings significant investment and widespread benefits to local economies and its track record of commitment to neighbouring communities is clear across the UK. 

The Forest Holidays model is far removed from the standard fenced off and noisy holiday parks with pleasure domes or tarmaced complexes. Rather, visitors seek a peaceful getaway in the forest, staying in cabins nestled in the trees and protected by noise curfew. There are modest central facilities and Forest Holidays’ focus on Slow Tourism encourages a low key visitor experience promoting surrounding attractions, restaurants, cafes and shops.

The Forestry Commission receives an annual ground rent for each Forest Holidays site.  This amount is greater than the return from forestry from the same area, and is received year after year without the need for any direct investment by the Forestry Commission.  The Forestry Commission also saves considerable expenditure year on year because of the trails, toilets, roads and other infrastructure that Forest Holidays manages into the future.

The Forestry Commission and Forest Holidays have a robust and long-term partnership which is managed through a high level legal agreement.  Each site also has a site-specific lease which specifies how each site is managed, plus terms and conditions of the planning consent.  Through all of these different agreements, how the cabin sites are managed and what happens to them in the future is very tightly controlled.  The attraction of Forest Holidays sites to our customers is staying within a well-managed, ecologically diverse and quiet forest environment. 

Frequently asked questions

Clarification of Facts

View the exhibition materials

 

Further information

Enquiries can be directed to: Enquiries.MortimerForest@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

For information about Forest Holidays please visit: https://aboutus.forestholidays.co.uk/

 

Last updated: 18th May 2018

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.