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Playing our part in Delamere Forest's Sustainable Future

Delamere Forest, coming soon Delamere Forest, coming soon

We're getting ready to open our brand new location at Delamere Forest in Cheshire. This is a very exciting project and our introduction of cabins and trails forms part of a much wider redevelopment of visitor facilities by Forestry England.

A new way to enjoy Delamere Forest

Delamere Forest landscape

The multimillion pound Delamere Forest plan has created a new visitor hub and gateway to the forest. Key features of the wider plan include:

  • A new visitor welcome area with a larger cafe
  • Improved toilet facilities
  • Significant landscaping improvements
  • New and improved trails and bridleways
  • A multi-use health and well-being trail from Forest Holidays
  • A new visitor hub car park and improved overflow parking
  • 66 eco-sensitive Forest Holidays cabins in the north western part of the forest

Investing in Delamere Forest

Artist impression of new Forestry England Visitor Centre
Artist impression of new Forestry England Visitor Centre

There have been calls for investment in Delamere Forest for over a decade and now through our partnership with Forestry England, the sustainable vision will help ease pressures and benefit all visitors, creating new experiences for people wishing to enjoy a peaceful getaway.

Read about the project, updates, and FAQs at Forestry England. We are one of many commercial partners working with Forestry England to provide a reliable and long-term income stream and supporting them in delivering environmental, social and economic benefits.

Fiona Dewsbury Forest Centre Development Manager, Forestry England

We caught up with Fiona during the project to hear her thoughts on how Delamere Forest will benefit.

How will the redevelopment project improve the visitor experience?

The redevelopment project at Delamere Forest will greatly improve the overall experience of our 750k+ annual visitors. With a new welcome hub, bigger café, more toilets, more car parking and improved traffic flow, plus, natural play area, improvements to landscaping, our trails network, and new fitness and well-being trails.

What is special about this location?

Delamere is a forest steeped in history, myths and legends. It offers that peaceful escape from urban life to the largest forest in Cheshire. A place for all to come and enjoy the benefits of spending time amongst the trees, whether that be for a quiet walk with the family or an adrenaline packed day on Go Ape! There is something for everyone – cycling, walking, Segway, running, concerts are just some of the activities on site and all within easy reach of excellent transport links.

Can you describe the forest and its activities?

Delamere has something for all ages, from a quiet walk with some amazing views (of 7 counties!) from the top of Old Pale, to biking and horse riding, family activity trails, sports events such as Park Run and our Forest Live concert series. It’s a working forest, providing timber as well as a home for wildlife, including the White-Faced Darter dragonfly in Delamere’s Mosses, which have been restored as part of our Meres and Mosses project, in partnership with the Cheshire Wildlife Trust.

How important is the partnership with Forest Holidays to the success of this project?

The new Forest Holidays cabins at Delamere will generate an annual revenue for Forestry England, helping to support the sustainability of the vision for Delamere Forest into the future. They will give visitors a new opportunity to enjoy a stay in the heart of the forest. Forest Holidays are also funding a new fitness and well-being trail as part of the project.

This is a big project, how will you ensure that wildlife is protected?

The project has been planned to give us the opportunity to enhance and broaden habitats considerably, encouraging and supporting wildlife. Forestry England is experienced in managing our forests for people and nature, and Forest Holidays share this approach. 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.

Can you explain a bit about the forest management that Forest Holidays will support at their location?

Forest Holidays will be responsible for the management of the woodland area around the cabin location. The plans for this bring many opportunities, including the diversification of the woodland to create an understorey of native woodland trees and flora, creating rich environments for forest species.

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. The Forest Holidays team follow Woodland, Landscape and Habitat Management plans and are working closely with our Land Management and Ecology team to ensure they fit with overall forest plans.

Introducing our build team's approach

Our cabins at Delamere Forest will be situated in the north western part of the forest and this location area is just 3% of the forest. During the project, we spoke to our Programme Manager, John Allen. He explains how we are sensitively integrating our location into the forest environment at Delamere.

John Allan, Programme Manager, Forest Holidays
John Allen, Programme Manager, Forest Holidays

How do you feel about Forest Holidays having a location in Delamere Forest?

It’s a privilege for us to bring Forest Holidays to Delamere Forest. This is a flagship visitor location for Forestry England, enjoyed by many and we’ve worked hard over the years to support their vision of improving the visitor facilities for all. We are committed to delivering this project in close collaboration with our partners and are proud that this investment enables facilities across the whole forest to be managed sustainably. We’re meeting with local businesses and our neighbours to ensure we play our part in creating new opportunities through the creation of jobs and long lasting partnerships. The plans for our location will see an enhancement of the woodland environment and a stay with us at Delamere Forest will inspire even more people to value Britain’s amazing forests.

Read more...

Is there anything special about the way the cabins have been designed to fit the forest environment?

We have developed a unique and forest-centred approach both to the design and integration of our cabins at Delamere Forest. Our team continue to innovate and refine methods as and when new techniques and technologies become available. There are so many features to mention but to give a snapshot, we’ve designed the cabins to standards set out by the foremost sustainability rating scheme for the built environment (BREEAM). We’ve also taken most of the cabin manufacturing process away from the location, reducing build time, waste, and any disturbance. Furthermore we don’t use concrete strip foundations but have developed low impact piles so that tree roots and the forest floor are protected. Effectively our cabins are designed to fit in harmony with the forest, offering those staying in them a rich connection with the natural world.

How important is it to the team to ensure that wildlife and flora are protected throughout the build?

It’s fundamental. Our in-house management team understand the broader purpose of the business and our commitment to enhancing the environments that we work in. We appreciate that the success of our business depends on the forest and it’s the amazing wildlife and beautiful woodlands that our guests come to experience so this is at the top of our priority list.  

We don’t contract out our building work and we ensure that all of the tradesmen we use are properly inducted and well managed. Most of the team have worked with us previously and understand our unique product and approach. We also have internal and external ecological monitoring throughout the planning, build and operational stages, guiding our processes and also holding us all to account. 

Is there anything you’d like people to know about the Forest Holidays build team?

Working on a Forest Holidays build is more than just a job that you forget about at the end of the day. We all genuinely care about the environment that we’re working in and have a highly disciplined approach to managing our projects. The team come from all walks of life and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to be based at Delamere Forest and are keen to continue to meet and learn more from the local community about the forest and the area.

Working with Forestry England

Detailed project plans guide the build combining woodland and wildlife management as well as landscaping with the integration of our cabins into the environment. 

Build timeline and process (opens in new tab)

Our cabins are designed to sit harmoniously within the forest, preserving the surroundings. We follow strict management practices that promote sustainability and respect the environment.

Our build approach

Together with our Forestry England partners 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.

Frequently asked questions on Forestry England