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Joy as project picks up award

Staff and volunteers at the ‘Wild about Tamworth’ project are celebrating after it picked up an award for its work in the community.

The project has been awarded the Heart of England in Bloom Community Achievement Award.

Set up in 2003, Wild about Tamworth aims to improve wildlife areas in Tamworth through working in partnership with Tamworth Borough Council and local community groups.

Judges stated that the project has become “a very impressive example of bringing a range of communities from across the Borough together to improve their local environment in a cohesive and sustainable manner.”

Wild about Tamworth helped to establish local community conservation groups on 6 sites across Tamworth including Dosthill Park, Hodge Lane and Kettle Brook Local Nature Reserves, to manage and improve them for both people and wildlife.

It also gives local schools and other youth groups the chance to use the local nature reserves as an educational tool to support their learning. Over a thousand children have received environmental education through the project in the last two years.

The project runs activity and training days throughout the year, including the Big Tree Plant Campaign, which planted over a thousand trees last year, Wigginton Park tree trail and Hodge Lane planting day, which recently created a new wetland habitat at the reserve.

Lindsey Bates, Wild about Tamworth project officer said: “We would like to say a big well done to all volunteers involved in the project and an even bigger thank you for all the hard work and dedication put in by volunteers on the sites around Tamworth.

New volunteers are always welcome to join in with practical conservation tasks and activities taking place around Tamworth with any of the conservation groups."

For more information visit http://www.staffs-wildlife.org.uk/page/wild-about-tamworth or contact Lindsey Bates on 01827 59912.


Story-telling couple to stop off in CRI area

A story-telling couple will be entertaining people with tales and music at the National Memorial Arboretum in September.
Sophia Collins and Ross Winter, from Nottingham, are walking the length of the River Trent as part of a project celebrating the river through a mixture of stories and music.
Beginning at Biddulph Moor, Staffordshire on 1st September and ending at Trent Falls, Lincs on 21st Sept, Sophia and Ross will walk ten miles a day, taking in 19 places along the route, including the National Memorial Arboretum on September 6 at 2pm. At each stop, the team will put on a performance of music and storytelling, and then invite the audience to share their own stories.
The journey will be recorded on their website, which they'll be updating as they go, with photos, blogposts and recordings of people's stories. Sophia says: “We're like wandering medieval bards, but with laptops and iPhones.” They are performing in all sorts of places, from pubs and village halls, to universities and wildlife centres. A full list of venues, and a map of the route can be found on their website http://talesfromtheriver.wordpress.com
Twitter: @sophiacol
Project hashtag: #talesfromtheriver
Project hashtag: #talesfromtheriver

Dramatic shift for forest foragers

Foraging has been dampened in every way by the weather this summer according to bushcraft experts in The National Forest.

This affects not just our own foraging behaviour, but also the wildlife will have to wait a further few weeks in order to harvest their autumn glut before the decline of food in the winter.

Summer fruit is ripening later than last year and it has been a disappointing year for raspberries but the recent blast of sun and hot weather has kick-started everything in the right direction.

Jonny Crockett from Survival School said: “The outlook for the autumn is not for a bumper harvest, but there is a silver lining or two if you know where to look. We’ve noticed an early season for fungi this year. The amethyst deceivers are adding a beautiful purple hue and the giant puff balls are out in force already to accompany the blewits and the boletus.”

Jason Ingamells, Chief Instructor at Woodland Ways, agreed: “We have noticed a dramatic change in foraging this year. Blackberries are fruiting very late this year - the latest we have ever known! It has also had a dramatic effect on elderberries as well which are just starting to come through now.”

Dave Watson of Woodland Survival Crafts commented: “This constant dampness is having an effect on everything, but bramble and nettle are growing very well! This is actually good if you want to make string from their fibres, and I have been picking some woodland mushrooms recently that were tasty.”

With changes in weather, Mother Nature is certainly challenging the identification books as to when certain fruits and flowers should be out, so now more than ever, it pays to go out with an expert! To help visitors get to grips with the differences and similarities between harmless edible species and their poisonous cousins, there are three bushcraft and survival schools in The National Forest. These run day, weekend or week-long courses where, in addition to learning the fundamental principles of survival and wilderness bushcraft, groups learn how to identify and cook edible plants, recognise specific trees and discover uses for different plants and trees.

Penny Wilkinson, Tourism & Promotions Officer with the National Forest Company commented:

“The National Forest is one of the few places in the country where you can come to the woodland and safely learn all about plants and their uses with experts who explain the effects that changes in the weather are having on the fruits of the Forest.”

Jonny Crockett from the Survival School said: “The National Forest has matured in so many ways since we started working here. The trees are more diverse than ever, the plants have become more abundant and the way people have embraced this explosion of biodiversity has been amazing. We look forward to meeting more people next year so that they can see what The National Forest has to offer.”

Jason Ingamells of Woodland Ways Bushcraft & Survival added: "The National Forest is a great place for people to come and ‘experience’ woodland. It is brilliant to be based within this growing Forest and our courses not only teach people to use the plants and trees but also to appreciate the woodland around them.

“If visitors are looking for wild food, it is important to identify the plants correctly. There are many books now on the topic of edible plant identification but, for the novice, there is really no substitute for an experienced guide.”

Derbyshire-based Glennie Kindred has written several books including the popular ‘A Hedgerow Cookbook’. She added: “Foraging for native medicinal herbs has been an absolute joy this year. I have seen fields of Self Heal, Eyebright, Mullein, Comfrey and St John's Wort, to name but a few. The trees have put on a lot of fresh growth too and this will benefit them and future foraging in the long term.”

But if foraging seems all too much like hard work, there is a wealth of excellent tea shops and restaurants across The National Forest where you can relax and enjoy food in the forest before embarking on a peaceful woodland walk.

Penny Wilkinson, from the National Forest Company commented: “The National Forest has this wonderful woodland resource for people to come and enjoy – whether to learn ancient skills or just to enjoy the fresh air and get away from it all on a Forest walk.”

For more information on where to go, what to see and places to stay in and around The National Forest, the 2012 visitor guides to the Forest are bursting with great ideas. For a copy telephone 01283 551211, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Or go to the website: www.nationalforest.org

Ends



Media contacts: For further information contact Carol Rowntree Jones, Media Relations Officer, or Penny Wilkinson, Tourism & Promotions Officer, at the National Forest Company, on 01283 551211. For background information please visit www.nationalforest.org Digital images available, contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



NOTES TO EDITORS



1. Contacts:


Woodland Ways, 07843 064 114, www.woodland-ways.co.uk

Survival School, 0871 222 7304, www.survivalschool.co.uk

Woodland Survival Crafts, 01283 730 851, www.woodlandsurvivalcrafts.com



1. The National Forest area covers 200 square miles of the counties of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire. Its objective is to increase woodland cover within its boundaries from an initial six per cent to about a third. No multi-purpose forest on this scale has been created in the UK for one thousand years. To date the proportion of woodland cover in the Forest has more than trebled to 19 per cent and nearly eight million trees have been planted.




1. Year by year, The National Forest has been steadily turning what was once one of the least wooded areas of England into a multi-purpose, sustainable forest. The National Forest provides environmental, social and economic benefits, including landscape enhancement, creation of new wildlife habitats and major new access and leisure opportunities. It is an excellent example of sustainable development – with environmental improvement providing a stimulus both to economic regeneration and to community pride and activity.




1. To achieve these objectives, the National Forest Company leads the creation of The National Forest, working in partnership with landowners, local authorities, private business, voluntary organisations and local communities and has strong support from Government, politicians and the public. The Company receives grant in aid from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.




1. The Independent Panel on Forestry, in its final report published in July 2012, stated: ‘The National Forest exemplifies how a long term, resourced and focused agenda can increase publicly accessible woodland in an area alongside other environmental and economic benefits.’




1. In 2008, the National Forest Company and partners won the inaugural Sustainable Development UK Award, for their work in Ashby Woulds, at the heart of The National Forest.

A bumper load of summer holiday fun in The National Forest

Families searching for new ideas on where to take the children during the long summer break should head to The National Forest at the heart of the Midlands. This ‘forest in the making’ is bursting with things to see and do, ensuring young ones and their older companions alike are kept entertained - whatever the summer weather brings!

Every day from Saturday 14 July to Sunday 2 September , visitors to Conkers can enjoy Summer Adventures , included within the daily entry price. The p rogramme of entertainment includes ranger-led craft days, dray rides with the Shire horses, the Flip and Dippy Clown shows, Trevor Hill with his animal road show, Nick Spellman and his amazing animals, woodland crafts, pond dipping, falconry displays, Story Time and bush craft survival skills. To find out what activities are taking place on each day log on to the Conkers website www.visitconkers.com

In time for the summer, Conkers has just launched its outdoor adventure and experience days. Open to groups of six or more people, these combine water sports with forest ranger activities, including kayaking, mountain biking, archery, pedal go-karts, bell bottom boats, the assault course, bushcraft and orienteering.

Based upon life in a British woodland and set at the heart of The National Forest, there are over one hundred indoor and outdoor hands-on exhibits at Conkers, guaranteeing hours of family fun –rain or shine!

Hicks Lodge , National Forest Cycle Centre, will be holding special events for families throughout the summer including a sponsored dog walk on 15 July in aid of local animal charity - Impawtant Pups. The stunning eco-friendly centre, in Moira near Ashby de la Zouch, has a café, bike hire and repair shop, showers, a wood-burning stove for chilly days, and eight miles of graded off-road trails. While youngsters will enjoy the twists and turns of the most technical route, there are wide surfaced trails for buggies and tagalong bikes. Non-cyclists can also enjoy the young woodland on the dual use trails for walkers and cyclists.

Children will love the huge indoor play barn at the National Forest Adventure Farm , which houses three levels of exciting adventure play equipment. This year-round attraction also has tractor and trailer rides, pedal tractors, brilliant jumping pillow, mini assault course, friendly animals for children to meet and pet in supervised sessions as well as daily events such as sheep racing, milking and pony grooming. Its ever-popular maize maze, which is one of Europe’s largest, will be open from 14 July to 9 September. And on 4 August the Agri-lympics are back where teams compete for the coveted ‘Golden Welly’ in its annual crazy agricultural sports competition.

Thomas the Tank Engine is back at Great Central Railway from 19 to 22 July. Voted 12 in the top 50 greatest railway journeys in the world, Great Central Railway is the UK's only double track, main line heritage railway where full size steam engines can be seen passing each other. Children can meet Billy the Bear, have their face painted, take a ride on a steam train and enjoy a picnic with the Teddy Bears from 24 July to 9 August.

Swadlincote Ski and Snowboard Centre is open 364 days a year allowing visitors to ski even in the middle of summer! Every school holiday the centre offers Fun Activity Days. These run from Monday 23 rd July to Friday 31 August. Taking place 11am – 5pm, this brilliant day out combines lessons in skiing (Monday, Wednesday and Fridays) or snowboarding (Tuesdays and Thursdays) with tobogganing and ‘Sno-Tubing’. A hot lunch is included and everyone receives a skill level card at the end of the day. Adults are welcome to book onto these sessions with their kids to join in the fun.

There will also be a Bank Holiday Bonanza on 27 August at the centre where visitors can try a half-hour taster session in skiing or snowboarding for just £5, toboggan for just £1 per ride or try the new Viper Slide Sno-tube run for just £1.50 for 2 slides.

There will be amazing LEGO models and children can take part in the giant summer reading challenge at Snibston’s LEGO Day on 24 July. F or an additional £6.50, visitors can join in LEGO workshops and get their own bag of LEGO to take away as a LEGO professional shares some top tricks for building cool LEGO models.

Throughout the school holidays, children who join the libraries’ Summer Reading Challenge can get free entry into Snibston and Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre with a full paying adult (one free child per adult). They will need to show their membership ‘Lab Tab’. For more information visit www.leics.gov.uk/storylab

Snibston and Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre are also offering 20.12% discount on family entry tickets for four or more people when they present the discount voucher, available from www.leics.gov.uk/2012_voucher_web.pdf

The magic and mystery of Bosworth Battlefield will be uncovered in a fascinating walk led by costumed guides in full character on 25 July. Pre-booking is advisable on this popular event. Then on 18 and 19 August families can relive history at the exciting Battlefield of Bosworth Anniversary weekend.

Donington le Heath Manor House is hosting a Roman School Holiday Activity from 2-4pm on 19 July where children can find out about life in Roman Britain, have a go at Roman crafts, join the Roman Army and handle real objects from 2000 years ago! Then on 26 July, 2-4pm, the Dark Ages will return to Donington with games, crafts and dressing up. The following Sunday (29 th July) will see a bigger Anglo-Saxon and Viking gathering at ‘Dark Age Donington’ 11-4pm. On the next three Thursday afternoons Donington’s holiday activities explore Knights, Castles and Fairy Tales (2 August), The Tudors (9 August), and Pirates! (16 August). Admission is free but there is a small charge for craft activities.

From 23 July through to 31 August, Rosliston Forestry Centre will hold drop-in activity sessions for just £2.50 per person including archery from 2-4pm every Monday and Friday; mountain biking from 10am-12pm and Wildlife Watch at 2-4pm on Tuesdays; Kraftiz have-a-go craft sessions will take place every Wednesday from 10am-12pm and woodland laser combat at 2-4pm every Wednesday and Thursday. On 27 July and 24 August there will be a Forest Frenzy afternoon where visitors can choose as many activities as they want for just £10 per person. Activities include archery, woodland combat, climbing, hawk walk and crazy golf to name but a few. No booking is required for either the drop-in sessions or Forest Frenzy.

There are a number of activities taking place where booking is essential . From Monday 30 July to Friday 3 August and then Monday 13 August to Friday 17 August, children aged 8 – 14 can join the Out & Active Holiday Kids club. This will run from 9am – 5pm each day and may include archery, laser games and climbing wall activities . Youngsters aged eight and over can also hone their survival skills on a Bush Craft Day taking place on 7 and 21 August with activities such as shelter building, friction fire lighting and furniture making.

But if all those activities sound a bit too much like hard work – how about an afternoon Cream Tea in The Hub Caf? Rosliston Forestry Centre also hires bikes, offers fishing and has woodland trails, log cabins and play areas. Younger visitors can slide down from the Sparrowhawk, climb through the crocodile’s mouth or have fun in the soft play area (for under 7s).

Heather Scarecrow Festival is back from 29 July when the village of Heather is transformed by scarecrow creations made by its local residents. Visitors can follow the scarecrow trail and vote for their favourite. This culminates in a Family Fun Day on the last day of the festival, 5 August, with children's rides, bouncy castle, face painting, crafts and tea room at Heather St. John's Football Club.

There will be loads of children’s activities from creative craft to story-telling, coracle paddling to eco art at the National Forest Wood Fair over the Bank Holiday weekend Sunday 26 and Monday 27 August.

Children can learn all about the animals, play games, make crafts and meet some of the friendlier animals on a Summer Safari at Twycross Zoo from 30 July to 3 August. For ages 8 - 12 years this five day experience allows kids to get really immersed in the zoo finding out about all the animals and how they are kept. Places must be booked in advance.

Within the tall, redbrick walls of Calke Abbey ’s large kitchen garden lies a world of imagination, with activities held every day from 14 July until 31 August. These will run 11am - 5pm and include a wild grass maze that explorers will love.

The 2012 visitor guide to The National Forest & Beyond is bursting with great ideas on fun ways to spend summer days. These are available from Tourist Information Centres or from the National Forest Company, tel: 01283 551211, email: enquiries @nationalforest.org . Or visit the website: www.visitnationalforest.co.uk for a complete listing of all the events going on in the Forest throughout the summer. For more information on opening times and admission prices on the individual summer activities contact the venues.

- ends -

Media contacts: For further information contact either Penny Wilkinson or Carol Rowntree Jones at the National Forest Company on 01283 551211. For background information please visit www.nationalforest.org Digital images available, contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Bosworth Battlefield – Tel: 01455 290429, www.bosworthbattlefield.com

Calke Abbey – Tel: 01332 863 822, www.nationaltrust.co.uk

Conkers – Tel: 01283 216 633, www.visitconkers.com

Donington le Heath Manor House, Tel: 01530 831 259, www.leics.gov.uk/donington

Ferrers Centre – Tel: 01332 863 337, www.ferrerscentre.co.uk

Hicks Lodge: National Forest Cycle Centre, Tel: 01530 274 533, www.forestry.gov.uk/hickslodge

Moira Furnace – Tel: 01283 224 www.moirafurnace.org
National Forest Adventure Farm – Tel: 01283 533 933, www.nationalforestadventurefarm.co.uk

Rosliston Forestry Centre – Tel: 01283 563 483, www.roslistonforestrycentre.co.uk

Shapes Pottery Museum, Tel: 01283 222 848, /www.sharpes.org.uk

Snibston, Tel: 01530 278 444, www.leics.gov.uk/museums

Swadlincote Ski Centre – Tel: 01283 217 200, www.jnlswadlincote.co.uk



NOTES TO EDITORS:



1. The National Forest area covers 200 square miles of the counties of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire. Its objective is to increase woodland cover within its boundaries from an initial six per cent to about a third. No multi-purpose forest on this scale has been created in the UK for one thousand years. To date the proportion of woodland cover in the Forest has more than trebled to 18.8 per cent and 7.8 million trees have been planted.



2. Year by year, The National Forest has been steadily turning what was once one of the least wooded areas of England into a multi-purpose, sustainable forest. The National Forest provides environmental, social and economic benefits, including landscape enhancement, creation of new wildlife habitats and major new access and leisure opportunities. It is an excellent example of sustainable development – with environmental improvement providing a stimulus both to economic regeneration and to community pride and activity.



3. To achieve these objectives, the National Forest Company leads the creation of The National Forest, working in partnership with landowners, local authorities, private business, voluntary organisations and local communities and has strong support from Government, politicians and the public. The Company receives grant in aid from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.



4. In 2008, the National Forest Company and partners won the inaugural Sustainable Development UK Award, for their work in Ashby Woulds, at the heart of The National Forest.

Forest of drawings competition becomes a mountain of drawings

Organisers of the National Forest Wood Fair’s ‘Forest of Drawings’ competition have been overwhelmed by the response, with literally hundreds of drawings flooding in.

The award-winning attraction, CONKERS, has kindly loaned its largest restaurant to be able to accommodate all of the colourful entries for the judging panel.

Organisers of the three major arts festivals in The National Forest will be casting a critical eye over the entries on Wednesday 25 July.

Sophie Churchill, Chief Executive of the National Forest Company, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the huge response from children who have drawn and painted their favourite trees but we just don’t have enough space to be able to lay them out for the judges. We are really grateful to Conkers for stepping in to lend us the room!”

Alistair Kennedy, Creative Director of Burton-based PINT Arts Festival, Sharon Brown, Director of Melbourne Festival and Lorna Blease, Vice Chair of Ashby Arts Festival will be poring over the wonderful creations submitted by primary school children from across the Forest.

The winning entries will receive family tickets to the National Forest Wood Fair on Bank Holiday Sunday 26 and Monday 27 August, where all entries will be displayed to create a ‘Forest of Drawings’.

The National Forest Wood Fair is organised by the National Forest Company and Leicestershire County Council, and will see awe-inspiring lumberjacks, the fast and furious UK Championship Log to Leg Race, horse logging, chainsaw carving, pole lathe turning, forest machinery, falconry and lots of children’s activities from eco art to greenwood crafts, making pizzas to scaling the climbing wall. For more information on the Wood Fair visit the website www.nationalforestwoodfair.co.uk

Ashby Arts Festival took place at the end of May/start of June with music, dance, crafts theatre, photography and workshops for visitors to have a go at various arts. O ver 2,000 people attended events throughout the town despite the weather!

Lorna Blease from Ashby Arts Festival said: “ Local people of all ages really got involved this year helping to bring the town alive with art and music including our fabulous outdoor gallery, with a Red White & Blue theme to celebrate the Jubilee. It will provide a great platform to develop the festival further for June 2013.”

Melbourne Festival is the highlight of South Derbyshire’s cultural calendar. Each September Melbourne comes alive as a hub for creative and performing arts. Concerts and performances will run from 7 to 30 September, with its popular Art and Architecture Trail, featuring over 100 artists exhibiting in 60 homes, halls and businesses across Melbourne, taking place 15/16 September. For more information and a festival programme visit the website www.melbournefestival.co.uk

The new contemporary art festival, PINT Arts Festival, takes place across Burton upon Trent from 26 October to 4 November. Artists will exhibit and perform in venues across the town with painting, sculpture, illustration, ceramics, photography, craft and music. For more information visit the website www.pintartsfestival.co.uk

ends

Media contacts: For further information contact either Penny Wilkinson or Carol Rowntree Jones at the National Forest Company on 01283 551211. For background information please visit www.nationalforest.org Digital images available, contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1. The National Forest area covers 200 square miles of the counties of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire. Its objective is to increase woodland cover within its boundaries from an initial six per cent to about a third. No multi-purpose forest on this scale has been created in the UK for one thousand years. To date the proportion of woodland cover in the Forest has more than trebled to 18.8 per cent and 7.8 million trees have been planted.

1. Year by year, The National Forest has been steadily turning what was once one of the least wooded areas of England into a multi-purpose, sustainable forest. The National Forest provides environmental, social and economic benefits, including landscape enhancement, creation of new wildlife habitats and major new access and leisure opportunities. It is an excellent example of sustainable development – with environmental improvement providing a stimulus both to economic regeneration and to community pride and activity.

1. To achieve these objectives, the National Forest Company leads the creation of The National Forest, working in partnership with landowners, local authorities, private business, voluntary organisations and local communities and has strong support from Government, politicians and the public. The Company receives grant in aid from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

1. The Independent Panel on Forestry, in its final report published in July 2012, stated: ‘The National Forest exemplifies how a long term, resourced and focused agenda can increase publicly accessible woodland in an area alongside other environmental and economic benefits.’

1. In 2008, the National Forest Company and partners won the inaugural Sustainable Development UK Award, for their work in Ashby Woulds, at the heart of The National Forest.




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