Main Content

Byrkley Garden Centre - Gateway to a Growing Destination

Wednesday, 24th September 2008

Visitors to Byrkley Garden Centre will discover more than just plants, trees and shrubs as they browse, but can now explore a ‘forest in the making’.  The extensive garden centre has teamed up with the National Forest Company to install facilities with information on the centre and the growing forest.

Byrkley Garden Centre is based upon the site of the former kitchen garden for the country mansion Byrkley Lodge.  The new facilities at the garden centre include a shelter with a living roof and panels that detail the history of the stunning hunting lodge and its vast kitchen garden, which for centuries has been the site of great gardening tradition.

A map shows walks around the surrounding countryside including parts of mature woodland within the ancient Needwood Forest, which forms the western border of The National Forest.

Ian Van den Berg, Manager of Byrkley Garden Centre, said: “The new facilities will give our customers a unique opportunity to learn about The National Forest and the fascinating history of this area.”

The project is part of the Advantage West Midlands 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.  Other sites that feature new facilities as part of the project include the National Forest Maize Maze, Barton Marina, Jacksons Bank on the Duchy of Lancaster Estate, MOTO Service Area Tamworth and the National Memorial Arboretum.  Each site will have varied information points, ranging from the shelters, panels and benches, to listening posts and touchscreen kiosks.

Sophie Churchill, Chief Executive of the National Forest Company said: “We are delighted to work with Byrkley Garden Centre in raising awareness of the Forest, which spans parts of three counties – Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire.  Its history and heritage are fascinating - they give a new dimension to buying your winter pansies! The new installations will give visitors a sense of the whole of The National Forest as a place to visit and enjoy: they will help to promote the wider area and link attractions within the Forest. Byrkley Garden Centre should be on anyone’s route through The National Forest.”

The project follows the success of the Visitor Infrastructure Project across the East Midlands side of The National Forest, where new facilities were installed at twenty venues including attractions such as Conkers Discovery Centre and Snibston, woodland sites such as Sence Valley Forest Park, Poppy Wood and Beacon Hill Country Park, as well as Donington and Leicester Forest East Service Areas on the M1, and the Tourist Information Centres at Ashby de la Zouch and Swadlincote.

The work is due to be completed by March 2009.  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 or logging onto the website Visit & Explore