Delamere Forest, right here on the Sandstone Ridge, has shared images of its new Visitor Hub.
The £9m redevelopment project, the largest ever commissioned by Forestry England, has seen the construction of a large eco-friendly, timber-framed visitor centre with a new café, event spaces and accessible toilets which includes adult changing facilities.
There is also a new and improved bike centre that is clad in the same UK grown larch that was used for the main building, as well as new access roads and improved parking for 500 cars.
Forestry England says sustainability was at the forefront of the project design with rooftop solar panels, a ground source heat pump, a sustainable drainage system in the car park, and infrastructure to enable rainwater harvesting.
Construction firm Willmott Dixon worked throughout the pandemic to finish the project, adapting to a series of stringent safety measures to allow safety for workers on site.
These included new technologies to reduce manual labour on site and staggering start times for each trade so that supply chain partner operatives could work in isolation or in bubbles. There were also one way systems and regular temperature checks as well as sanitisation stations across the site.
Due to the increased popularity of outdoor leisure spaces during the pandemic in particular, Delamere Forest has seen thousands of people visiting the site per week. The new facilities, therefore, will help people access the forest and improve physical health and mental wellbeing.