What makes Moors Valley Country Park and Forest so special? (Feb 2013)

What makes Moors Valley Country Park and Forest so special? (Feb 2013)

25th Anniversary 2013

The third most visited Country Park in England 1, Moors Valley successfully balances the needs of its visitors with those of its indigenous wildlife.

Last year over 800,000 people visited the Park’s 1000 acres. They enjoyed activities ranging from lakeside walks and bike rides, innovative forest play structures 2 and a Tree Top Trail 3 to the steam railway 4, Go Ape Tree Top Adventure and Golf Course.

The Park is prized by the local community with stimulating play facilities, nationally recognised green exercise initiatives 5, locally-sourced restaurant food and more than 500 events every year.

It also welcomes 3,000 school children each year from as far afield as Manchester, contributing to their learning programmes and engaging many with the outdoors for the first time.

Day visitors come from a wide catchment area drawn by real value for money and the opportunity for a memorable day out, with a huge number of activities to enjoy in exchange for a small parking charge.

Amazingly, alongside meeting the needs of its visitors 6, Moors Valley remains a safe haven for wildlife. The Park is one of the best sites in the UK for dragonflies 7 and its Rangers have recently undertaken a highly successful water vole reintroduction programme. Other wildlife sightings in the Park have included the Great Bustard, all six species of British reptile, and even a Chilean flamingo!

ENDS

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Editors Notes:
More information on the wide range of anniversary events and activities taking place at Moors Valley Country Park and Forest throughout 2013 can be found online at www.moors-valley.co.uk/events
A selection of high resolution images can be downloaded from the press images gallery.

For more detailed information contact:
Katie Davies at Moors Valley Country Park and Forest
Horton Road, Ashley Heath, Nr Ringwood BH24 2ET
Tel: 01425 470721 Email: ktdavies@christchurchandeastdorset.gov.uk

1. According to Visit England figures, 2000-2011.
2. The play trail with its wildlife-themed wooden play structures was first of its kind in the country promoting natural play in a woodland setting.
3. Moors Valley’s Tree Top Trail is reputedly the first to have been installed in England, back in 1991.
4. The steam railway is the south’s longest fully signalled narrow-gauge railway. With 17 steam engines and two diesels.
5. Moors Valley provides a hub for the biggest Health Walk scheme in South West England (Walking for Health Initiative). Its ‘Pedal Back the Years’ cycling programme was adopted in Cornwall. The Department of Health recognised Activate1000 as a key project in their Healthy Lives South West Region Peer Review.
6. The Moors Valley Rangers act as Community First Responders for South West Ambulance Service, and are trained in use of defibrillators and oxygen. One of few Country Parks in the UK to offer its own First Responder service.
7. Mentioned in ‘Field Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Great Britain and Ireland’ by Steve Brooks.

25th anniversary major events Moors Valley 2013

Official anniversary weekend – 20th and 21st July

New Play Trail structure
Erection of fully inclusive musical tree house – the House of Baba Yaga
April 2013 

Countryside Walks
The best 5 walks from the Park’s archive. Complete all 25 miles to receive a commemorative badge!
5 x 5mile walks, one per month: April, May, June, July, Sept

Repeat of first ever MV event – Music in the Park
Busking! 25 buskers for 25 years
Sun 7 July 2013

Illustrated wildlife photography talks with Mike Read
3 x talks, 16 Mar, 28 June, 10 Sept

Open Exhibition – ‘Rivers, Lakes and Forest’
Sat 25 May to Sun 14 July

Tour de Moors Valley
Series of fun cycling events for adults
Saturdays 22, 29 June, 6 and 13 July, 10am to 2pm

Build a Den Day
FREE family shelter building event, just turn up
Sat 20 July, 2pm to 5pm

Meet the Gruffalo
Official Gruffalo costume character in the Park, Gruffalo trail in the Forest
Sat 20 and Sun 21 July, throughout the day 

MV History Walk – with quirky stories
Sun 21 July, 10am to 11.30am

Gruffalo Trail through the Forest
Daily throughout summer holidays until 1st September

Celebrating Dragonflies and damselflies – interpretation, photographs and children’s activities
The dragonfly features in the Moors Valley logo:
Moors Valley is recognised as one of the best sites in the UK for dragonflies
Sat 27 July to Sun 1 Sept

Ongoing events: 

A series of ongoing anniversary themed events is also taking place including:

25 wildlife themed events, including family events, illustrated talks, walks and exhibitions.

The placing of 25 history interpretation panels in the Park showing old photos of each area with further information.

A public invitation to add old Moors Valley photographs to a dedicated Flickr group: www.flickr.com/groups/MV25years

An online vote to discover the public’s 25 favourite things about Moors Valley: www.surveymonkey.com/s/MVtop25 

‘Moors Valley in numbers’ – fascinating numerical facts relating to the way the Park is run and the facilities offered.