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New Natural Play Area to Open at Hicks Lodge Cycle Centre

Wednesday, 8th August 2012

Children and families are set to get even more fun from a visit to Hicks Lodge National Forest Cycle Centre, as a stunning natural play area is under construction at the popular centre situated between Ashby de la Zouch and Moira, in Leicestershire.

Natural play experts TimberPlay brought in stacks of smooth shaped tree trunks, timber poles, ropes and other natural materials to start the construction last week.

The new play area is designed for two to 14 years olds. It will feature stepping stones, tractor tyre swing, beach water play, a tunnel and bank slide plus picnic areas and an amphitheatre for families to relax and watch the youngsters play. It is designed to be easy to keep an eye on the children, but be as natural as possible.

"The design mimics hills and dales, with a river bed where the children can play," explained Alan Dowell, the Forestry Commission’s site manager. “We hope it will feed their imagination, and as the play area is located near to the cycle centre, they will see people walking and cycling, and be encouraged to keep active as they get older.”

The surfaces are all chosen carefully for appearance and safety including bark mulch and compacted stone, and the rolling landscape features will be covered in a fragrant mix of grasses and wildflowers.

The natural play area will add to the already extensive facilities at Hicks Lodge Cycle Centre. The Centre has eight and a half miles of safe off-road trails, bike hire, toilets, activities and events, room to hire for birthday parties, and a spacious café serving delicious food and drinks. It makes a great place for a day out. 

The play area is due to open later this month and has been made possible with £49,000 secured by the Hicks Lodge Trust from the Groundwork Trust’s Community Spaces Programme, part of the Big Lottery Fund. 

The Cycle Centre is one of the many places for outdoor recreation, fun and healthy living in The National Forest. For further information on places to visit in the Forest see the National Forest & Beyond Visitor Guide available from Tourist Information Centres or from the National Forest Company tel: 01283 551211, or email: