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Discover a Forest in the Making at Conkers at the Heart of The National Forest

Monday, 23rd July 2007

Visitors to Conkers Discovery Centre at the Heart of The National Forest can find out more about The National Forest while having their picnics or sitting by the lakes.

The National Forest Company, in partnership with East Midlands Tourism (EMT) and Conkers, has placed picnic tables, seating, recycling bins and information boards around the 120 acre site, which share with visitors the vision for this emerging Forest.

The development is part of the National Forest’s Visitor Infrastructure Project, funded by EMT through its Public Realm Challenge Fund to encourage visitors to get out and explore further in The National Forest.

But if the English weather has other plans for their picnics, visitors can retreat into Conkers’ indoor areas, which have seating, restaurants and more than 100 interactive exhibits, including the Treetop Experience and the new Enchanted Forest.

The outdoor phase of the works adds to the information and refreshment stop installed at Conkers in March where visitors can pick up more information on the attractions, woodlands, activities and events in the area.

Chris Sturdy, Conkers’ General Manager, said: “The new facilities are a great asset to Conkers where our customers can learn all about The National Forest and get a wealth of information to really help them explore and enjoy this special place.”

Sophie Churchill, Chief Executive of the National Forest Company said: “The project will help visitors make the most of the many things to see and do here in the Forest. It will provide a ‘sense of place’ to the whole destination, helping to promote the wider area and link attractions within the 200 square mile Forest.”

As part of the project, new facilities will be created at Beacon Hill Country Park, Ferrers Centre for Arts and Crafts, Sence Valley Forest Park, Snibston Discovery Park, Foremark, Staunton Harold and Thornton Reservoirs, Ashby de la Zouch Tourist Information Centre, Twycross Zoo, Rosliston Forestry Centre and the National Forest Youth Hostel.

In addition to these attractions, information points will be installed within key lay-bys on access routes into the Forest and the service areas MOTO Donington Park (A42/M1) and Welcome Break Leicester Forest East (M1).

The new information points will take the form of shelters, panels, benches, listening posts, touchscreen kiosks as well as bedroom browsers in accommodation venues.

With EMT’s support, the National Forest Company is working with the tourism businesses and Leicester-based award winning tourism designers, Haley Sharpe, to install the innovative information points for visitors. These will place the venue firmly in the Forest and highlight other attractions available to visitors while they are here.

The work across all venues is due to be completed by March 2008. In the meantime, visitors can find more information on the huge choice of things to do and see in the Forest or places to stay for a brilliant weekend break by contacting the National Forest Company on 01283 551211.

Supported by East Midlands Tourism