VISITORS to Delamere Forest will soon have the chance to spend the night there as plans for new cabins have been unveiled.

The forest, which already welcomes over 750,000 visitors a year to run, walk, bike, horse ride, listen to live music or take part in a sports event, will see the addition of 67 new eco-cabins by next year.

It comes as part of a range of improvements for Delamere Forest, which will also see a new visitor welcome building, including a new cafe with improved facilities, a new car park and improvements to the access for everyone.

This phase of the work should be finished by summer 2020, with the cabin site due to open in that autumn.

Forestry England’s long-term partner, Forest Holidays is behind the eco-cabin project so, for the first time, people will have the opportunity to stay overnight in a cabin in the heart of Delamere Forest.

Paddy Harrop, forest management director for Central District including Delamere, said: “The new visitor hub is the most significant investment for Forestry England this year and shows how important Delamere Forest is as a visitor destination.

"It’s an important green space for people living in nearby cities and towns to come and enjoy and these new facilities will really improve their experience.

"Forest Holidays’ cabins will allow visitors to experience Delamere in a new way and their investment will help to support the project”.

Work is already under way on the cabin site, while other improvements are due to start from next month.

The new wooden-framed visitor welcome building will have a cafe with indoor and outdoor seating.

Toilets will be improved, including a 'Changing Places' facility for people who cannot use standard toilets.

There will be a visitor welcome area, to help visitors make the most of the forest and its attractions. The new car park will have extra space for the busiest days and events, such as Forest Live concerts.

Existing roads and trails will be improved to help keep vehicles and pedestrians separate.

Forest Holidays' 67 eco-sensitive cabins, architecturally designed to fit sensitively within the woodland environment, will provide visitors with a unique opportunity to enjoy a short break in the heart of the forest and encourage a low-key visitor experience by promoting surrounding attractions, restaurants, cafes and shops.

Forest Holidays is also funding a new fitness, health and well-being trail as part of its investment in the area.

The cabins will generate a long-term annual revenue for Forestry England, helping to support the sustainability of the vision for Delamere Forest into the future.

Dan Parish, programme director at Forest Holidays, added: “It’s a privilege for us to bring Forest Holidays to Delamere Forest and we’re proud to soon provide a unique opportunity for people to experience overnight stays in the forest.

"Delamere Forest will be a flagship location for Forest Holidays and our team are looking forward to working with local businesses and playing a part in creating new opportunities through the creation of jobs and lasting local partnerships.”

Forestry England is working with construction partners Willmott Dixon to deliver the visitor hub buildings and facilities.

Sustainability is at the forefront of all the building designs, with solar panels, a ground source heat pump, a sustainable drainage design, rainwater harvesting and electric vehicle charging all incorporated.

Once the visitor hub and cabin location are completed, there will be further work across the forest including improvements to the trails and waymarked routes and the addition of some graded cycle trails over the coming years. This is due for completion in 2021.

The forest will remain open throughout the works, although there may need to be some temporary trail diversions for safety at certain times.

As part of the frequently asked questions on the Forestry England website, it has been confirmed that while some trees will be felled to create the improvements, more new and varied trees will be planted in key areas as part of the project.

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