Delamere Forest development project: answers to frequently asked questions
We’ve answered some of the common questions we have been asked about the project so far and will continue to update and add to the questions as the project progresses. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are the timescales for the development work?
Work has started on the new Forestry England visitor hub including the new welcome building, café and car park, with our construction partners, Willmott Dixon. We’ll keep you updated on progress on this website and our Delamere Facebook page. We expect the building and new car park to be open in summer 2020 with work on the remaining improvements starting after that.
Work has also started at the new Forest Holidays location, with the new multi user trail up to the location already open for all forest users. You can find more details about this part of the project at the Forest Holidays Delamere web page.
What does the plan include?
- A new visitor hub with a larger café
- Improved toilet facilities
- Significant landscaping improvements
- New and improved trails and bridleways,
- A multi-use fitness, health and well-being trail
- Nature play areas
- A new car park with around 300 spaces and improved overflow parking
- 67 Forest Holidays cabins, bringing inward investment and delivering recreational, economic and environmental benefits
What are the benefits to the Forest?
The creation of a brand new Forestry England visitor hub with facilities better suited for demand, which will include toilets, café, a new visitor information point and cycle hire.
There will be improved car parking, improved traffic flow and a new access road which will separate vehicles from forest users coming into the visitor hub area. There will also be new pedestrian, cycle and bridleway trails. There will be a new natural play area and visual improvements, including the removal of all poly tunnels from the visitor area.
Forest Holidays will bring a significant local economic benefit through visitor spend and a large increase in job opportunities in the area.
The new multi-use fitness and well-being trail at our Whitefield site, funded by Forest Holidays, will offer visitors of all ages the chance to have fun and get fit in a natural environment.
What work has already been completed?
We have already put in a new multi user trail for walkers, cyclists and horse riders alongside the existing road leading up to the new Forest Holidays location. The path will improve safety, keeping users separate from cars. Our in-house ecologist has surveyed the route to ensure no impact on wildlife in the area and the pathway has been built to our usual trail standards.
We have completed work to prepare the area for building the new visitor hub and facilities, including clearing the former plant nursery site and installing a new temporary access road. This road is being used during the building works and will also be the foundation for the road to the new visitor car park. Visitors will still be able to use the current access road to the visitor centre area and existing car park.The forest, including the current toilets and café, will remain open throughout the works although we will need some temporary diversion routes in place from time to time, for safety.
How do I find out about any diversions at the Forest Holidays location?
There is currently a diversion in place on the bridleway around the future Forest Holidays location, to give forest users a safe alternative route while current works are going on. Here’s a map showing the route.
Signage will be updated on site throughout the build and the Forest Holidays team are working with the community to ensure local routes are enhanced
Are you cutting down trees as part of the work?
While some trees will need to be felled as part of the work, more trees will be planted. This will include comprehensive new landscaping around the visitor centre area. Our approach is to diversify the woodland, meaning there will be more new and varied trees planted in key areas as part of the project.
All Forest Holidays locations are designed and built to have minimal impact on the forest. In Delamere, new tree planting forms an important part of project, designed to protect and enhance the existing woodland, creating a more mixed woodland habitat. All tree works are in line with best practice as set out in Woodland, Landscape and Habitat Management plans and these are being implemented with the forest operations team and the local Forestry England ecologist to ensure they fit with overall forest plans.
How will you protect wildlife in the forest?
The project has been planned to enhance and broaden habitats considerably, encouraging and supporting wildlife. Around the cabin location, the diversification of the woodland will create an under story of native woodland trees and flora creating rich environments for forest species. Extensive ecological surveys were carried out prior to the planning process and an ecological management plan will be followed throughout the development to ensure we protect forest wildlife during all building works
Will public access be maintained at the Forest Holidays location?
Yes, all Forest Holidays locations are open the public. Access may be temporarily restricted on some areas during the build for health and safety reasons but access to the location for forest users will remain when the location is operational, whilst other features in the plan will enhance access throughout the whole forest.
Will there be an impact for visitors during the build?
We will keep disruption to a minimum during the build. Whenever we need to put in a temporary trail diversion during the build, we will keep visitors updated via our webpage, Facebook page and onsite information so they can plan their visit and activities accordingly
Are there going to be new trails?
Yes, there will be a new multi-user trail between Kingswood in the north of the forest and the new visitor hub, part of which is already open. Many of the existing trails are being upgraded and there are also some additional sections of blue graded cycle trail planned for the forest.
What will happen to the events space and parking for events?
The existing events space will remain and it will no longer be used for car parking. Parking for events will be catered for in the extended car park and overflow area along with the existing field parking for the larger events.
What are the benefits for Delamere residents?
There will be less road congestion at the main entrance on busy days, improved pedestrian, cycle and horse access and a new modern visitor welcome building, including a cafe and other facilities on the doorstep.
Will there be an impact on traffic?
There are currently significant issues with parking and queuing traffic. By improving the car park and overflow parking, we will help ease many of the current problems
Will there be improvements to the main driveway?
Yes, there will be significant improvements included separating vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and horses with separate access from the redesigned junctions with Station Road. The access road for vehicles will be widened and the multi-user trail for pedestrians, cyclists and horses from the station to the visitor hub will be upgraded.