National Forest sees website hits boom after Countryfile appearance

The National Forest has seen a surge of interest, following the broadcast of BBC Countryfile, filmed in the Forest earlier this month.

Immediately after the programme finished, visits to the National Forest website peaked to more than 1,500 visits for that day and continued over the next week at three times the normal traffic.

National Forest Company tourism and promotions officer Penny Wilkinson said: ‘Visitors to the National Forest website have been using the site to find out more about the people and places highlighted in the programme.’

Presenter Adam Henson spent the day learning bushcraft skills with Dave Watson of Woodland Survival Crafts and survived the night under the stars in a woodland shelter. He also visited Beacon Hill in Leicestershire, the site of the National Forest Wood Fair on August Bank Holiday Monday, to learn about the site’s history as a Bronze Age hill fort, and see Leicestershire County Council’s heathland management in action thanks to longhorn cattle, sheep, alpacas – and pigs.

Ellie Harrison looked at other aspects of the Forest’s development and management. She met Bruno, Karen Kilshaw and David Roycroft of Logs on Draught, horse loggers working on the Duchy of Lancaster estate at Jackson’s Bank, and found out more about this niche method of modern woodland management.

She also spoke to volunteers and veterans at the National Memorial Arboretum, and found out how land restoration from mineral extraction and quarrying helped create this striking institution.  She also learnt about the benefits former market gardener Dave Smith brought to the landscape and to local wildlife – and how he discovered a natural spring on his land - when he planted thousands of trees through National Forest schemes.

The National Forest area covers 200 square miles of the counties of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire.  Its objective is to increase woodland cover within its boundaries from an initial 6% to about a third. No multi-purpose forest on this scale has been created in the UK for one thousand years. To date the proportion of woodland cover in the Forest has already trebled to 18%  and 7.8 million trees have been planted.

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