England The National Forest 

The National Forest

It’s not a village, a town or even a city, though it encompasses many within its boundaries. Neither is it a wholly natural forest, it was created more than twenty years ago partly to return the land to how it had been in centuries past, and partly to illustrate the benefits that living and working in and around woodland can bring. The National Forest is however, still a destination of choice for the many visitors that make the journey there every year.

Photo by Nigel Swales
Photo by Nigel Swales

This immense forestry project is located in the Midlands, the site chosen as its natural tree cover was very sparse. It was also an area that was in need of regeneration and as such there was a lot of public support for the project. Now the forest stretches over 200 square miles and has been planted with millions of trees. This has created animal habitats, brought wildlife back into the area, brought work for the local population and led to an influx of money into the region through tourism. The National Forest is home to more than 200,000 people and offers much in the way of attractions and activities.

Exploring the Forest

The 200 square miles that make up the forest see it straddle a number of counties. Staffordshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire are all home to part of the forest which has greatly added to the appeal of these regions to visitors. It is hoped that eventually the forest will extend to join the two ancient wooded areas of Needwood Forest in the west to Charnwood Forest in the east.

Towns to explore within the bounds of the forest are Burton upon Trent, Swadlingcote, Coalville and the ancient town of Ashby de la Zouch. There are plenty of peaceful walking trails as well as numerous cycle runs and activity centres as well as historic houses, beautiful lakes and interactive visitor centres just waiting to be discovered. There are a myriad of attractions from castles to snowboarding centres and adventure farms to the National Memorial Arboretum. The National Forest really does hold something for everyone.

Places to Visit

Ashby de la Zouch Castle makes for an interesting day out. Ashby de la Zouch is an ancient town in the county of Leicestershire. The castle ruins are set in wonderful grounds and you can explore the secret tunnel that ran beneath the kitchens offering a safe place to hide when the place was under siege. The castle tower measures an impressive twenty four metres and can be climbed to enjoy the superb vies that it grants across the countryside.

Or you could treat the children to a day out at Twycross Zoo. Not only will they get to see the animals that they love, they will also have the opportunity to learn about their welfare and conservation efforts that are being made on their behalf. The zoo fills a full fifty acres of parkland and is home to almost one thousand animals. Many of the animals that live here can rarely be found in the wild and many more are endangered species.

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