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Discover a Forest in the Making at Beacon Hill Country Park

Wednesday, 2nd April 2008

Visitors to Beacon Hill Country Park can wander through new woodlands planted as part of The National Forest and learn more about this Forest in the Making.

The National Forest Company, in partnership with East Midlands Tourism and Leicestershire County Council, has placed picnic tables, a shelter with a living roof, information boards and audio posts around the popular country park, enabling visitors to know more about the vision for this emerging Forest that they can see all around them.

Councillor Ernie White from Leicestershire County Council, said: "The County Council was delighted to be invited to work with the National Forest Company on this project. It has provided some excellent, high quality facilities for visitors to the country park which will enhance their visit and enable them to find out more about the area."

Sophie Churchill, Chief Executive of the National Forest Company, said: "Beacon Hill in Charnwood has a special place in The National Forest with its spectacularly lovely granite-based landscape and the blend of old and newer woodlands. We are proud to include it within the wider 200 square miles of The National Forest, many of which have emerging landscapes of increasing beauty and interest, to complement that of Charnwood. This project will help visitors make the most of the many things to see and do here in the Forest. It will provide a 'sense of place' to the whole destination, helping to promote the wider area and link attractions within the Forest as a whole."

Beacon Hill lies in the ancient Charnwood Forest on the eastern fringe of The National Forest and offers stunning views from its craggy summit. Through the creation of woodland, the aim of The National Forest is to link the ancient forests of Charnwood in Leicestershire with Needwood in Staffordshire.

As part of the growing National Forest, 8,000 trees were planted at Beacon Hill between 1994 and 1995 near the lower car park to create the Native Tree Collection. This contains all 28 species of trees and shrubs native to the British Isles with an audio trail. Woodland has also been planted on the western side of Beacon Hill and across Beacon Road on Windmill Hill. Over time, as these habitats mature, they will support more plants and animals.

The development at Beacon Hill is part of the National Forest's Visitor Infrastructure Project, funded by East Midlands Tourism (EMT) to encourage visitors to get out and explore The National Forest.

As part of the project, new facilities have been created at Conkers, the Ferrers Centre for Arts and Crafts, Sence Valley Forest Park, Snibston Discovery Park, Ashby de la Zouch Tourist Information Centre, Twycross Zoo, Rosliston Forestry Centre and the National Forest Youth Hostel. In addition to these attractions, information points have also been installed in lay-bys on access routes into the Forest and the service areas MOTO Donington Park (A42/M1) and Welcome Break Leicester Forest East (M1).

With EMT's support, the National Forest Company has worked with the tourism businesses and Leicester-based award winning tourism designers, Haley Sharpe, to install the innovative information points for visitors. These place each venue within the Forest and highlight other attractions available to visitors while they are here.

Support by East Midlands Tourism.