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Fascinating Past and Flourishing Future Revealed at Ferrers Centre

Monday, 14th January 2008

A trip to the Ferrers Centre for Arts & Crafts will now reveal the fascinating history of both this former stable block and Staunton Harold Hall including the bloody murder of John Johnson by the 4th Earl Ferrers, who remains the last peer of the realm to be executed.

New information panels at the centre explain more about the estate's past but also how the heritage of the area is being transformed through the creation of The National Forest. Visitors can find new ideas for places to go, walks around the area and pick up information on The National Forest.

The panels, picnic tables, leaflet display and audio unit were installed as part of the East Midlands Tourism funded Visitor Infrastructure Project, designed to promote the wealth of things to see and do across the 200 square mile Forest, and make the connections between one part of the Forest and another.

Staunton Harold Hall and the Ferrers Centre for Arts & Crafts are part of the private estate lying in a beautiful valley. The hall's owners, Mr and Mrs Blunt, the Forestry Commission and the National Forest Company have extended existing footpaths and bridleways so visitors can take short walks around Staunton Harold or travel further afield to Calke Abbey, Melbourne, Breedon on the Hill or Ashby de la Zouch.

Since 1974 the Ferrers Centre for Arts & Crafts has developed into a thriving community of artists and craftspeople. Most of the units open their doors to the public and have items for sale, but they are workshops, where things are made, with the consequent limitations on time and output. The emphasis throughout is on British craftsmanship of the highest possible standard.

The chapel and two stone gateways are owned and managed by the National Trust.

Other sites that feature new facilities as part of the Visitor Infrastructure Project include MOTO Donington Service area, Conkers, Twycross Zoo, Ashby Tourist Information Centre, Ferrers Centre for Arts and Crafts at Staunton Harold, Snibston, Sence Valley Forest Park, the new YHA National Forest and Rosliston Forestry Centre. Each site has gained varied information points, which range from the shelters, panels and benches, to listening posts and touchscreen kiosks. Additional sites still to be installed include Leicester Forest East Service Area, Beacon Hill Country Park and Foremark, Staunton Harold and Thornton Reservoirs.

Sophie Churchill, Chief Executive of the National Forest Company said: "The Ferrers Centre is a very special place to visit within The National Forest, combining the old and the new and the growing Forest giving it the perfect backdrop. I'm delighted that our association continues with these high quality additions."

The work across all venues is due to be completed by March 2008. In the meantime, visitors can find more information on the huge choice of things to do and see in the Forest or places to stay for a brilliant weekend break by contacting the National Forest Company on 01283 551211.

Supported by East Midlands Tourism