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The National Forest Way is open!

Monday, 19th May 2014

The National Forest Way

England’s newest long distance walking trail is open!  Over a hundred walkers, friends and partner organisations joined the National Forest Company to launch the 75-mile National Forest Way on Saturday 17 May at Conkers Waterside.

Three years in the making, the trail uses existing public and permissive footpaths to explore the length and breadth of The National Forest, linking the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire and Beacon Hill Country Park in Leicestershire.

Volunteers have been out testing and waymarking the route. One volunteer said: “Walking the National Forest Way, you are constantly surprised by the variety of what you see. All England is here: coal and granite, heathland and hills, meadow and water – all framed by woodland.”

Sophie Churchill, Chief Executive of the National Forest Company, said: “This is a very special moment in the development of The National Forest.  The new National Forest Way is an expression of how far we have come over the last twenty years and the early days of the Forest. Creating habitats for wildlife, working with communities and our local landowners, building businesses that have grown out of the Forest – all this work is part of what we have achieved in the Forest so far.”

She continued: “The National Forest Way takes walkers through our new wooded landscapes, through ancient forest, the former industrial heritage, farmland, villages, rivers and reservoirs - all framed by woodland.”

James Berresford, Chief Executive of VisitEngland, spoke at the launch event, along with representatives of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire County Councils, and National Forest Way sponsor Fisher German.

The event took place just a month before the National Forest Company and its partners launch the strategy for the next decade for The National Forest, following extensive consultation which has revealed continuing enthusiasm for the forest and all it brings to the area.