More people will now be able to visit a Blyton wood after plans to make it more accessible to wheelchair users and families with pushchairs have been completed.
To mark both the completion of the project at Owlet Wood in Blyton and the Woodland Trust’s 20th anniversary of owning and managing the wood, the charity will be holding a celebration event on Saturday, September 30, from 11am. A ribbon cutting will be followed by two guided walks led by the Trust’s woodland officer Paul Jarczewski.
The improvements were possible thanks to a grant of more than £32,000 from WREN, a not-for-profit business that awards grants for community, biodiversity and heritage projects from funds donated by waste and resource management company FCC Environment through the Landfill Communities Fund.
A 2m wide, 1.2 km circular, flat pathway has been resurfaced, incorporating five new passing places and four rest areas with new seats. To encourage visitors to extend their walk and experience a pond that has until now been hidden from view, a fully surfaced, all ability path has been created and a seat installed.
Two bird viewing screens have been added in locations rich with wildlife, one of which is fully accessible to the less able. Bird feeding stations have been put up in front of the screens to provide an ideal spot for camera and wildlife enthusiasts to observe birds without disturbance and at close range.
Existing gates, fencing and signage have all been replaced and a new kissing gate will enable ease of access for all visitors. Interpretation boards now give visitors route options and details of attractions, wildlife and the site’s history. Designated disabled parking has been created in the car park.
Woodland Trust regional communications and engagement officer Paul Bunton said: “We’re delighted to welcome people back to Owlet now the work is complete. This project will make a big difference to people in wheelchairs who might not otherwise get chance to visit woodland and connect with nature. We are very grateful to WREN for their assistance.”