Exciting plans to invest £140,000 in the Outwoods in Loughborough have been revealed.
Charnwood Borough Council has secured funding to upgrade visitor facilities at the popular woodland and will be installing a shelter to hold more activities, a play area and an open events area with more picnic tables. The car park will also be improved.
Work is due to start later this month and there are longer term plans by the Council to convert the old ranger’s cottage into a café and visitor centre.
Cllr Jenny Bokor, the Council’s lead member for Loughborough, said: “The Outwoods is a fantastic place and we want to ensure it continues to be somewhere people want to visit in the future.
“The funding we’ve received will go towards improving the experience for visitors and I’m sure the play area will prove popular with families with young children.”
The £140,000 of European funding has been provided by the Rural Payments Agency to support the development of tourism throughout the year in the area.
The project is part of a Charnwood Forest initiative which focuses on providing better facilities and activities for visitors to the site, particularly during the quieter off-peak times.
Cllr Jonathan Morgan, leader of the Council said: “The Outwoods is an important asset to the borough and its residents so I am pleased this project will get underway soon and make it an even more attractive place to visit. This will be an exciting year for the Outwoods.”
The Outwoods is 110 acres of ancient woodland to the south of Loughborough and is one of the oldest surviving woodland sites in Charnwood.
Responsibility of the Outwoods lies with the Outwoods Management Committee which is a separate body to the Council. However, the Council effectively maintains the Outwoods working alongside the committee.
Cllr Hilary Fryer, who chairs the committee, said: “We are looking forward to seeing the work take place this year. It will make a huge difference for visitors and mean we can hold more events there, whatever the weather, whilst still protecting the woods.”
The Outwoods is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) by Natural England, which means it is protected by law to conserve its wildlife and geology.
While the work is carried out visitors may notice some occasional disruption in this area of the Outwoods.
Later in the year, the Council is also planning to carry out work to restore native oak trees to the Outwoods.
For more information and the latest updates about the project visit https://www.charnwood.gov.uk/outwoods_improvements