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Barton Marina Encourages Visitors to Explore

Monday, 8th December 2008

Woodland has been continuously planted since 1993 when the marina and fishing lakes were created by the extraction of sand and gravel. The trees are flourishing and, along with the lakes, attract a wide variety of wildlife.

Thanks to the new facilities, visitors can enjoy a picnic and read about the area before they take a stroll along grassy paths in and out of the trees. The lakeside is particularly stunning in spring when hundreds of daffodils come into bloom.

Barton Marina has become hugely popular thanks to the attractive specialist shops, and the Waterfront pub and restaurant that opened in 2007. 

Barry Morgan, owner of Barton Marina, said: “I am delighted to work with the National Forest Company to enhance understanding of The National Forest, this wonderful resource that people have on their doorstep here in the Midlands. The facilities that the Company has provided on the 85 acre marina site will add enormously to the overall experience for visitors.”

The installations are part of the Advantage West Midlands funded Visitor Infrastructure Project, intended 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, MOTO Service Area Tamworth and the National Memorial Arboretum. 

Sophie Churchill, Chief Executive of the National Forest Company, said: “Barton Marina is a real asset to our area with the woodland and lakes, beautiful shops and lovely tea room.  We want to increase the awareness of the Forest among visitors to encourage them to explore more of the area and are delighted to work with the marina to achieve this.  The new facilities will give visitors a sense of place to the whole destination, help to promote the wider area and link attractions within the Forest.”

The initiative follows the success of the Visitor Infrastructure Project across the East Midlands side of The National Forest, where new facilities were installed at 20 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 new information panels provide information on the marina but also contain a map showing walks around the surrounding countryside.  Barton Marina is a great base to set off on a longer walk or cycle ride.  Visitors can follow the canal towpath north, through Branston Water Park, a local wildlife haven, to Burton upon Trent - the brewing capital of England.  Travelling south will lead to Alrewas, home of the National Memorial Arboretum, and to Fradley Junction, where the Trent and Mersey Canal meets the Coventry Canal.

The pretty village of Barton-under-Needwood is a short distance from the marina, and north of the village walkers can experience the great views across Smith Hills Woodland, which was planted in 2002 as part of The National Forest. They also have the option of exploring the attractive countryside towards Dunstall and Rangemore.

The Visitor Infrastructure Project 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.