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Lace Up Your Boots for the National Forest Way

Friday, 17th January 2014

Gate Open View

The new National Forest Way long distance trail opens in May 2014, and takes walkers on a fascinating journey through a transforming landscape at the heart of the Midlands.

The route takes in 75 miles of public and permissive footpaths, crossing the length and breadth of The National Forest from the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to Beacon Hill Country Park in Leicestershire (the route can be walked from east to west or west to east).

The trail leads through young and ancient woodlands, hidden valleys, along canal towpaths, visits the market town of Ashby de la Zouch and celebrates the industrial heritage of this changing landscape at the heart of the Midlands. Walkers will witness the area’s evolution from a rural landscape, through industrialisation and its decline, to the modern-day creation of a new forest, where 21st century life is threaded through a mosaic of green spaces and settlements.

Richard Drakeley, Tourism Development & Promotions Officer, National Forest Company, said: “The route we are about to launch will really open up the Forest for walkers, enabling them to see for themselves the transformation taking place. Situated right in the heart of the country, I think many people will be enticed by this new route and enjoy the interest and variety they will find here. As well as planting over 8 million trees since the early 1990s, many different wildlife habitats have been created, all adding to the experience of walking through this unique mix of rural and post-industrial landscape. Whether you walk it in one go, or in stages, the National Forest Way is going to be a great one to chalk up!”

The National Forest Way will be launched as part of the 2014 National Forest Walking Festival, and is being created by a partnership of the National Forest Company and Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire County Councils, with the generous support of Fisher German. 

Accessible for experienced and new walkers alike, the National Forest Way will be accompanied by leaflets, online information and clear signage. With links into the main towns across The National Forest it will provide a new and easily reached outdoor challenge for the 10 million people living within an hour and a half of one of the country’s boldest landscape transformations.