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Sence Valley: A Wildlife Haven in The National Forest

Monday, 14th April 2008

Visitors to Sence Valley Forest Park in The National Forest are now able to identify the abundant wildlife in the park thanks to new innovative information points just installed.

Among the new facilities is a colourful panel that identifies and plays the various calls of the birds that regularly visit, including kingfisher, grey heron, great crested grebe, kestrel, and the sand martins that travel from Africa to nest at the park every summer.

Also new to the park are shelters with living roofs and information boards that show the flora and fauna that can be spotted here and across the wider National Forest. Visually impaired visitors can learn more about the site through the audio posts installed.

The development is part of The National Forest's Visitor Infrastructure Project, funded by East Midlands Tourism (EMT). With EMT's help, The National Forest Company has been working in partnership with the Forestry Commission, which manages the site, to install information points for visitors to find out more on Sence Valley and The National Forest.

Sence Valley Forest Park, near Ibstock in Leicestershire, is a wonderful example of how a disused opencast colliery can be transformed into a diverse wildlife haven. The site contains woodland, lakes linking to the River Sence, grassland and a wildflower meadow all of which attract a wide variety of wildlife. Research recently commissioned by the National Forest Company confirmed significant increases in a variety of bird species at the Forest Park.

Chris Mansell, Community Ranger with the Forestry Commission, said: "We are delighted with the new facilities that are already proving popular with visitors. The innovative information panels are a brilliant way of interpreting the site. By using images and sound, the panel can be appreciated by everyone. One hundred and fifty species of birds have been recorded on site, so the panels give just a taster of the more commonly seen species. We hope they will inspire people to want to find out more about the many types of wildlife that make Sence Valley Forest Park their home."

Sophie Churchill, Chief Executive of the National Forest Company, said: "The purpose of the new facilities is to give visitors a better understanding of The National Forest and how it is transforming the landscape - at Sence and at many other special places. The information points across the Forest help to promote the wider area and link attractions within it."

As part of the Visitor Infrastructure Project, new information points, which range from shelters, panels and benches to listening posts and touchscreen kiosks, have been installed at Conkers Discovery Centre, Twycross Zoo, Ashby Tourist Information Centre, Beacon Hill Country Park, the Ferrers Centre for Arts and Crafts, Snibston Discovery Park, Rosliston Forestry Centre and YHA National Forest, plus 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).

For more information on the huge choice of things to do and see in the Forest or places to stay, the 2008 National Forest & Beyond Visitor Guide is bursting with great ideas. This is available to download or from the National Forest Company on 01283 551 211.

Support by East Midlands Tourism.