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The Wilder Side of Wildlife - Visit the National Forest & Beyond in 2011

Thursday, 20th January 2011

The launch of the National Forest & Beyond 2011 Visitor Campaign held at Twycross Zoo.

World famous Twycross Zoo is a major gateway to The National Forest, and guests at the launch event enjoyed the new Himalaya Visitor Centre with views on to the snow leopard enclosure and took a tour to see the new Uda Walawe elephant walkway. 

Pictured, from the left are: Councillor Robert Wheeler, Leader, South Derbyshire District Council; Susan Warren, non-executive Director, National Forest Company; Councillor Neil Atkin, Chair, South Derbyshire District Council; Councillor Trevor Pendleton, portolio holder for Leisure & Culture, North West Leicestershire District Council; Dean Piper, Economic Regeneration Manager, East Staffordshire Borough Council.

Guests also heard about the new National Forest Cycling Centre, opening later in the spring.  Situated just outside Ashby de la Zouch at the heart of the Forest, this purpose-built centre will make it easy for visitors to The National Forest to have a great day’s cycling though the woods.  The new National Forest Cycling Centre is designed specifically for families and novice cyclists, with eight miles of off-road trails, bike hire and repair facilities, a café and natural play area. 

‘The National Forest is ideal for cycling, with gentle terrain, quiet lanes and lovely views,’ said Penny Wilkinson, Tourism Officer for the National Forest Company.  ‘The new National Forest Cycling Centre will be just the place for beginners and families to get going with their bikes and enjoy off road cycling. There’ll be trails and practice areas for youngsters to improve their skills with plenty of space for buggies and pull-along bikes on the easiest routes.’

The cycling centre is built using environmentally-friendly technology, including a wood-chip boiler, solar panels and rainwater harvesting, and will provide a ‘green’ base for days out in the Forest, so that cyclists can visit attractions such as Conkers Discovery Centre, Moira Furnace, the Ashby Canal and Rosliston Forestry Centre.

The National Forest is a forest in the making, spanning 200 square miles of easy-to-get-to Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire.  As well as more than 400 woodlands to explore, the Forest has discovery centres, outdoor activities, galleries and craft centres to entertain all the family.  Please see for a list of exciting events, with discount vouchers to make your holiday budget go further. 

The new National Forest & Beyond Visitor Guides are now available online.  To download a copy please see  or email or call 01283 551211 to request a copy through the post.  They are packed with ideas on places to take the family, heritage and history attractions, likely hideouts to spot wildlife and suggestions for where to enjoy the woodlands and countryside.  The guides also highlight local food of the area and the many brilliant activities visitors can enjoy.

The Visitor Guides are produced by the National Forest & Beyond Partnership, which is the National Forest Company with East Staffordshire Borough Council, North West Leicestershire District Council and South Derbyshire District Council, to promote the tourism economy in the Forest and surrounding areas.