Creating a 'gateway to the forest' at Haldon Forest Park
Forestry England has been granted planning consent by Teignbridge District Council to redevelop facilities at Haldon Forest Park.
Haldon Forest Park is one of Devon’s most loved countryside destinations, nestling in the expansive forest planted across the Haldon Hills. Loved by residents and tourists, the Forest Park welcomes around half a million visitors every year. However, the current facilities created from redundant forestry buildings were only designed to accommodate around 10,000 annual visits. As people’s passion for spending time outdoors continues to grow, we hope to create a new fit for purpose visitor centre and operational support buildings.
What is proposed at Haldon Forest Park?
The ageing infrastructure at Haldon Forest Park will be replaced with new visitor facilities and operational support areas. The sympathetically designed buildings will provide updated, expanded, and energy efficient facilities, creating a gateway to Haldon Forest. These will include: an improved visitor reception, larger cafe, more toilets, a Changing Places facility, and extended hire space for cycles and Segways. The operational buildings will support the running of the Forest Park and house the local forestry team, which oversees the sustainable management of the wider forest. The buildings are intended to be carbon neutral in operation, supporting Forestry England’s ambition to be carbon net zero by 2033.
When Haldon Forest Park launched in 2006, the facilities were designed to accommodate around 10,000 visitors. The park now receives around 50x this number of visitors each year. Improved facilities are needed to continue widening access to the forest for people of all ages, interests, and abilities. Great facilities are essential for us to provide brilliant visitor experiences.
The operational spaces at Haldon Forest, including staff offices and workshops, are also ageing and no longer fit for purpose. Appropriate workspaces are needed to support the running of the Forest Park and forest management of Haldon and the wider Exeter area.
How is this going to happen?
We propose to manage this project in phases that will minimise disruption to visitors and allow all existing facilities to remain open during construction. First, the new visitor and operational buildings will be constructed. When the new visitor centre launches, the old buildings will be demolished. The vacant space will be incorporated into the car park to provide more vehicle spaces and accessible parking, electric vehicle charging, dedicated bays for long vehicles, and coach parking.
When will this happen?
We hope that construction will start in 2023. We aim to finish the project during 2024.
How can I find out more?
We will share more information on our website and Facebook page as the project develops.