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Playing our part in Delamere Forest's Sustainable Future

We are pleased to say that work has begun on our 11th location, Delamere Forest. This is a very exciting project and our introduction of cabins and new trails forms part of a much wider redevelopment of visitor facilities by Forestry England.

A new way to enjoy Delamere Forest

The multimillion pound Delamere Forest plan will create a new visitor hub and gateway to the forest.

Key features of the wider plan include: 

• A new visitor welcome area with a larger café 
• 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 
• 67 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.

Further details on the project, updates, and FAQs can be found here on Forestry England’s website. Forest Holidays is 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

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 will be situated in the north western part of the forest and this location area is just 3% of the forest. Our Projects Director, Dan Parish explains how we are sensitively integrating our location into the forest environment at Delamere.

Dan Parish

Programme Director, 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 that is enjoyed by many and we’ve worked hard over the years to support their vision of improving the visitor facilities for all.

Read more...

I’m committed to delivering this project in close collaboration with our partners and we’re all proud that Forest Holidays’ investment means that the facilities across the whole forest can be managed sustainably for the long term.

We’re meeting with local businesses and our new neighbours and very much want to 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 habitats and I’m sure a stay with us in Delamere Forest will inspire even more people to value Britain’s amazing forests!
 
Is there anything special about the way the cabins have been designed to fit the forest environment?

I’m proud to say that we have developed a unique and forest-centred approach both to the design and integration of our cabins and our teams are continually innovating and refining our methods as 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 off-site, reducing build time on location, 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 your 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 and they appreciate that the success of our business depends on the forest. At the end of the day, it’s the amazing wildlife and beautiful woodlands that our guests come to experience so this is absolutely 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. The majority of the team have worked with us before 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 and are keen to meet and learn more from the local community about the forest and the area. 


Supporting Wildlife

The project has been planned to enhance and broaden habitats considerably, encouraging and supporting wildlife. Around our cabin location, the diversification of the woodland will create an under story of native woodland trees and flora creating rich environments for forest species. 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.

Working with Forestry England

Forest Holidays is one of many commercial partners who work with Forestry England, providing a reliable and long-term income stream and supporting the delivery of environmental, social and economic benefits. Created by the Forestry Commission over forty years ago, Forest Holidays now successfully operates in ten locations across the UK including five in National Parks, bringing widespread benefits to local economies. Delamere will be our 11th location and we have a long term commitment to support the management of trails and the woodland environment around our location, as well as generating an annual revenue for Forestry England, helping to support the sustainability of the vision for Delamere Forest into the future.

Whilst our Forestry England partners are working with Wilmott Dixon on the central Visitor Hub components of the plan, our experienced team will be concentrating on the cabin location. Detailed project plans guide the build of a new Forest Holidays location. The programme at Delamere combines woodland and wildlife management as well as landscaping, with the integration of our cabins into the environment. For a summary of the stages involved in the project,  please follow the link below.
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. A summary of our approach to building can be found here:
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