Delamere Forest is the largest area of woodland in Cheshire, visited by 750,000 people annually. The forest is within an hour’s drive for 5.5 million people.
Part of Delamere’s success in the last decade has been the expansion of the forest into an area of high ground to the south, known as Old Pale. This increased the area of Delamere Forest by one third. Forestry Commission engaged TEP to carry out environmental assessment and draw up a masterplan for the creation of a large new woodland at Old Pale.
TEP’s masterplan was developed in conjunction with Forestry Commission’s landscape architects, the local community and visitors. The scheme incorporates an outdoor events arena; The County Stones Viewpoint at Pale Heights; a network of recreational routes; direct connections to ‘The Sandstone Trail’, mixed woodland planting including broadleaves and conifers, tailored to the varying ground conditions and aesthetic effect sought
Old Pale Community Woodland’s contribution, particularly through the outdoor events arena, has helped revenue generation to reach £1.9 million annually. Many local businesses in the accommodation, catering and outdoor pursuit sectors are also benefitting.
Through offering a local day-visit destination, accessible by public transport. Delamere is the only forest to have adopted a station, involving its re-brand as a “Forest Station”, with the strapline “…from tracks to trails”. Old Pale has contributed critical mass and visual diversity to Delamere’s offer.
The project has seen the cost effective transformation of Old Pale into a successful community woodland using a budget of <£5,000 per ha. This was recognised by the National Audit Office as being successful in both economic and social terms.
The scheme won the Landscape Institute’s “Design Over 5ha” Award in 2011