Frequently asked questions
Will the area remain open to the public?
Yes, access will be entirely preserved and enhanced throughout the whole forest, including the area of the Forest Holidays cabins. There will also be better access to the forest through improvements to the carpark and trails, which include trails in and around the cabin location. Access to the High Vinnalls area will be similarly unaffected.
What are the benefits for existing forest users ?
- A new viewing feature at High Vinnalls will provide a focal point for walkers and would act as the highlight of existing trails.
- New natural play features and trails for children will complement the proposed upgrades to the Easy Access Trail.
- Improved waymarking, signage, interpretation and additional benches.
- A new multi user trail as part of the cabin location will be available to all visitors.
- Improved connectivity for all users.
- The car park will be resurfaced in bound material, enhancing access and manouvrability.
- New litter bins in the car park.
- New public toilet.
- Improvements to existing access at Vinnalls car park at Killhorse Lane (known locally as the Ludlow-Wigmore Road) to improve visibility and increase the safety of the junction.
What are the environmental benefits of the proposals?
Proposals adhere to the principles of ‘biodiversity net gain’. Over time the woodland at Juniper Hill will develop from a Douglas fir crop to that of mixed species, providing continuous woodland cover where the semi-natural character of the woodland found in this area is restored and managed for the long term.
The above will be established and managed by Forest Holidays across 50 hectares of woodland surrounding the Juniper Hill location, through long term woodland and landscape management plans, together with ecological management plans, ensuring a broadening of the habitat for many species.
The proposals include the creation of an Ecological Enhancement Area, creating new and varied habitat to support and diversify flora and fauna. This area of 4.9 hectares will be created in a recently clear-felled area following the 2014 storms. Broadleaved planting and the creation of hazel coppice and scrub, semi improved grassland and ponds will create a range of habitats and increase biodiversity.
Each Forest Holidays location has onsite Forest Rangers who support the management of the site and educate visitors as to the special qualities of the setting. They also monitor and record wildlife activity in and around the location to further inform ongoing operation and habitat management and creation.
What work is done to ensure that wildlife and habitats will be protected?
A full suite of ecological studies including assessments for protected species has been carried out over 3 years. Protection of flora and fauna both during construction and post operation is secured through adherence to the following documents which will be submitted with a full planning application:
- Ecological Procedural Method Statement
- Construction Management Plan
- Pollution Control Statement
- Lighting Management Strategy
- Operational Management Plan
- Arboricultural Method Statement
Are the proposals in ancient woodland?
Nothing proposed is within ancient woodland.
Will there be an impact on deer?
The deer in Mortimer Forest have a very large, rich and varied range and use different parts of the forest depending on their needs, such as feeding or sheltering from inclement weather. From experience, as the forest is managed the deer are displaced from areas where timber harvesting takes place but there are many more areas that remain quiet and undisturbed and they soon move back into the recently harvested areas. The same will happen with the Forest Holidays development and we know that lots of deer use and are regularly seen on existing operational sites. The ecological enhancement work associated with the project will improve the habitat for deer and other wildlife.
What additional traffic impact will there be along the internal forest road?
The proposals will introduce public vehicles onto a short section of forest road. Because of the nature of the road surface we are confident that this will have limited impact. There have been no issues at existing Forest Holidays locations and evidence from them shows low flows of traffic. Speed of movement is managed by 10 mph signage, road surface, as well as reduced speed limits.
What impact will traffic have on the main roads?
Our traffic assessment identifies an acceptable additional amount of traffic on the public roads. The transport assessment has been shared with both Herefordshire and Shropshire Council Highways Departments and both find the conclusions acceptable.
Will there be a minibus?
Forest Holidays operates a minibus at other locations to take guests to and from the local train station and to bring staff into work from surrounding locations. This is something that will be introduced at this location.
How are you proposing to get water to the location?
We are currently considering the best options to ensure satisfactory delivery of water to the location. We are aware of existing issues relating to bore holes and will ensure this is fully factored in.
What impact do Forest Holidays guests have on the forest?
The unique selling point of a Forest Holiday is peaceful relaxation within a natural setting, staying in cabins that are integrated into the environment. Existing locations are not associated with any kind of noise and disturbance. Guests come to enjoy, appreciate and learn about the forest as well as relax and unwind and utilise the woodland in the same quiet manner as day visitors to the area.
The cabins are proposed to be built within existing woodland and there will be additional tree planting which will ensure the cabins are screened, both to ensure the privacy of cabin guests and any nearby properties.
What types of jobs will the proposals create?
The Forest Holidays location is expected to create 43 full time equivalent direct jobs. This is based on experience from our 9 other locations. The types of roles can be seen on Forest Holidays careers page http://www.forestholidayscareers.co.uk/
How will the local economy benefit?
High year round occupancy ensures year round non-seasonal trade for local businesses.
Each cabin contributes around £36,000 visitor spend locally, which averages around £2.4 million a year boost to rural economy. This is based on the contribution made by our existing 9 nine locations. By promoting local services and suppliers and offering only modest onsite facilities, Forest Holidays encourages its self-catering guests to visit local shops, pubs, restaurants and attractions.
What are the financial benefits for the Forestry Commission?
The Forestry Commission receives an annual ground rent for each Forest Holidays location. This will amount to £200,000 per year at Mortimer Forest. This amount is index linked. The revenue generated by a Forest Holidays location is infinitely greater than the return from forestry from the same area and is received year after year. The Forestry Commission also saves considerable expenditure year on year because Forest holidays will manage the trails, toilets, roads and other infrastructure.
Why have the proposals only just been announced?
Scoping to identify potential sites is a complex process and there are many factors which have to be explored and researched. There are constraints in the timing of announcement as our first step is to conduct a host of environmental, archaeological and other necessary studies as set by best practice. This can take several years.
Announcing outline proposals at an early stage means that we do not have the information to address many of the questions that interested parties require. We have found that it is better to inform widely when we have found that a site has clear potential and we have carried out the studies which allow us to answer the questions posed.
How have you informed the public of the proposals?
Exhibitions were held on 27 and 28 Feb 2018, where people had the chance to view the proposals and discuss them with members of the Forestry Commission and Forest Holidays teams.
When is a planning application being submitted for these proposals?
We anticipate submitting an application in late Spring 2018.
Are my comments going to be taken into consideration for the proposed planning application?
All comments are considered through the planning application process.