Working forest tours

Working forest tours

19 July 2013

The largest working forest in England is inviting visitors to have the rare opportunity to get close with some of its monster machines this summer.

The award winning Kielder Water & Forest Park in Northumberland is home to one of Europe’s largest woodlands, covering a massive 62,000 hectares (155,000 acres).

The Forestry Commission is staging Working Forest tours in the Northumberland wilderness every Tuesday from August 6 to August 27, offering a grandstand view of a giant, hi-tech timber harvester in action.

Using a mechanical claw linked to an on-board computer, harvesters can cut trees to customer requirements and strip branches twice as quick.

But there’s a lot more to forestry than just felling trees, visitors will also learn how timber production is being balanced with recreation and conservation.

Kielder Forest produces over 440,000 metric tonnes of timber annually, making it the UK’s most productive woodland. To replace those felled, 2.5 million trees are hand planted each year.

Meanwhile, the forest harbours nine Sites of Special Scientific Interest and is a haven for red squirrels, wild goats and bird of prey such as ospreys.

Malte Iden, Recreation Ranger at Forestry Commission, said: "This is a really special opportunity to get out and into our beautiful forest and more and more people want to find out about the forest and why it’s there.

"Seeing the machines at work can be really spectacular and makes this a great family day out – children (and parents) really love watching these monsters cut their way through the forest!"

Last year’s tours proved a big hit with the public so booking is essential on 01434 220 242. The tour starts at 2pm, meeting at Kielder Castle Visitor Centre.

A mini-bus will be used to ferry people to harvesting sites and the cost is £10 per person. Sturdy footwear is required and please note that dogs are not permitted.

For more information contact Janine Scott, Communications Advisor (Kielder Water & Forest Park), on 0191 301 5538 or janine.scott@nwl.co.uk.

The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.

Further information can be found at www.forestry.gov.uk.

Kielder Water & Forest Park, which spans 250 square miles, is home to the largest forest in England and the largest man-made lake in northern Europe. It was awarded the best Tourism Experience in England by VisitEngland, and the most tranquil place in England by the Campaign to Protect Rural England. For more information visit Kielder Water & Forest Park website at www.visitkielder.com.

Members, who have appointed directors/trustees to serve on the board, are Northumbrian Water, Forestry Commission, Calvert Trust Kielder and Northumberland County Council. Affiliate organisations that are not members but have a close working relationship with KWFPDT include Arts Council England, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency, The Scout Association and local decision making bodies such as the parish councils.

Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust is a registered charity working to develop the Park as an inspirational place. It aims to improve economic, social and environmental sustainability, provide public recreation and leisure facilities, facilitate education in all aspects of the natural environment and advance art and architecture in the Park. The Trust works with the range of communities to benefit from these activities.

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