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At home with history, for the launch of the 2015 National Forest & Beyond Visitor Guide

Tuesday, 17th February 2015

At home with history, for the launch of the 2015 National Forest & Beyond Visitor Guide

The National Forest & Beyond Visitor Guide for 2015 was launched at the National Trust’s newly opened Arts and Crafts cottage, Stoneywell, earlier this week.

Stoneywell’s unique history – it was built as a summer residence in Charnwood, part of The National Forest, by locally born architect-designer Ernest Gimson – is one of the attractions highlighted in the new guide. Heritage writer Neil Jones visited the hobbity, stone-built cottage, with its zigzag slate rooflines and giant chimneystack, and was completely charmed: “It’s a storybook come to life.”

Guardian travel writing competition winner Graham Hood and his family found a glamorous camping break at The Dandelion Hideaway, just outside the Forest near Market Bosworth, to be “an irresistible blend of thrills and tranquillity, with bike rides, bug hunts, campfires and canvas.”

National Forest blogger Hazel McDowell writes about her experience walking the National Forest Way last summer.  She enjoyed “the feast of butterflies, dragonflies, bees and wildflowers” near Walton on Trent, and the “dappled sunlight filtering through the canopy of mature trees at Martinshaw Wood.” The 75-mile long distance walking trail is divided into 12 stages to make it easy to enjoy as a series of weekend rambles, as well as walking the whole length in one go.

John Everitt, Chief Executive, National Forest Company, said: “We are delighted to have launched the new National Forest & Beyond Visitor Guide at Stoneywell, the National Trust’s first property in Leicestershire. The cottage, the grounds and its fascinating history make it afantastic addition to the National Forest & Beyond destination and we look forward to working with the Trust to encourage more day trips and  short breaks to Leicestershire and the wider National Forest.

“The new Guide captures the essence of The National Forest with plenty of ideas and inspiration for day trips and short beaks, and the voices of Forest residents and national travel writers make for great reading.”

The National Forest & Beyond is a partnership of East Staffordshire Borough Council, North West Leicestershire District Council, South Derbyshire District Council and the National Forest Company, brought together to promote The National Forest and the surrounding area as a destination for short breaks and days visits.

Representing the partnership at the launch event were:

·         Councillor Dennis Fletcher, Deputy Leader for Built Environment, East Staffordshire Borough Council.

·         Councillor Pat Murray, Chairman, South Derbyshire District Council.

·         John Everitt, Chief Executive, National Forest Company.

·         Councillor Alison Smith, MBE, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Community Services at North West Leicestershire District Council.

Stoneywell has been restored in the style of the 1950s, when the last of the Gimson family moved into the house. The house echoes with family fun, train sets, Swallows and Amazons books, homely furnishings and intriguing insights into their domestic life.

In addition to the fascinating house, the grounds are delightful and full of spring flowers, and visitors can walk through much of the beautiful SSSI woodlands.