Outstanding success for Country Parks in Dorset (Oct 2019)

Outstanding success for Country Parks in Dorset (Oct 2019)

Staff and volunteers at both Moors Valley Country Park and Forest near Ringwood and Durlston Country Park near Swanage are celebrating success in the 2019 Dorset Tourism Awards.

The prestigious annual awards celebrate the best in tourism across the county in a variety of categories and this year saw a record 146 entries.

Moors Valley Country Park and Forest was awarded Silver in the competitive Large Visitor Attraction category, the third time the park has received an award in this category. Jointly owned and managed by Forestry England and Dorset Council, Moors Valley offers visitors a unique combination of outdoor play, countryside recreation, environmental education, a working forest and diverse wildlife for everyone to enjoy in a safe outdoor environment.

Several new attractions have been added at Moors Valley this year including ‘Bewildernest’ it’s most adventurous play structure to date. One of the largest play areas across the Park it covers 120 square metres and reaches 7.5 metres at its highest point and is inspired by wild play and the magic of the forest. Also new for this year are the recently opened Shaun the Sheep Farmagedon Glow Trail, a fun themed 2km woodland trail for all the family, and the thought provoking ‘Earth Photo’ outdoor exhibition open until 15 December.

Linda Laker, Forestry England’s Recreation Manager for Dorset, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen for this award and it is a great credit to all of the staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to make Moors Valley Country Park and Forest such a great place to visit. Forests have a unique opportunity to connect people back to the natural environment and get us all outside and active. With the great support of our visitors, through car parking funds, we have been able to add some amazing new play facilities and activities this year. We look forward to welcoming old and new visitors to experience a great day out in the Forest.”

Durlston Country Park received a Gold award in the Access and Inclusivity category recognising the hard work of Rangers and volunteers to ensure that as many people as possible can enjoy this beautiful, wildlife-rich site. Durlston offers a great range of facilities for visitors with disabilities, including British Sign Language Tours, Tramper off-road mobility vehicles and Easy-read and Large Print publications, along with a wide range of accessible volunteer opportunities.

Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Durlston and Moors Valley have been recognised in the Dorset Tourism Awards. It demonstrates that our country parks are continuing to thrive as visitor destinations and it’s something for Dorset Council to be very proud of.”

“Durlston’s efforts towards better inclusivity and accessibility are to be commended, and the award they have received is testament to the hard work and commitment all of the rangers and volunteers there. Moors Valley Country Park seems to go from strength to strength with its family focussed trails, which proved hugely popular this summer, bringing in record numbers of visitors.”

“We’re confident that the many exciting developments in our country parks across Dorset will continue to drive growth, helping to attract visitors from further afield as well as boosting tourism.”

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