Campaign launched to save publicly owned land at Mortimer Forest from holiday park development

This article is more than 2 years old. Please read this page keeping its age in mind.

A campaign group has launched to save the publicly owned area of Mortimer Forest from a major holiday park development.

The sun shines through trees at Mortimer Forest near Ludlow
The sun shines through trees at Mortimer Forest near Ludlow

Save Mortimer Forest is made up of committed locals from both sides of the Shropshire/Herefordshire border, from conservationists to third-generation farmers, from runners and cyclists to wildlife lovers and walkers.

Forest Holidays is planning to build 68 large-scale holiday houses, some with hot tubs, with an on-site shop, take-away food facilities, restaurant, bar and cycle hire facility, near the peaceful beauty spot of High Vinnalls in Herefordshire and close to the border with Shropshire.

The 50-hectare development will be sited on Forestry Commission land and is the only piece of land in the entirety of Mortimer Forest where the freehold is owned by the Forestry Commission.

Colin Richards, formerly Head of Conservation for Shropshire Council and a spokesperson for Save Mortimer Forest said:

“What at first sight appeared to be a development that could have some benefit to the Ludlow area, is likely in reality to be hugely destructive of the very environment which makes Ludlow, South Shropshire and North Herefordshire unique. We strongly oppose this huge development and believe it’s a bad deal for local people, wildlife and for the Forestry Commission. Wildlife habitat on publicly owned land will be destroyed in favour of a busy private holiday park. This is privatisation of our public forest by the back door.”

The Forestry Commission proposes to loan the publicly owned development site in Mortimer Forest, known as Juniper Hill, to Forest Holidays who are majority-owned by a private equity fund. The 125-year lease will see Forest Holidays pay the Forestry Commission an annual rent of just £200,000 per year, equivalent to around £3,000 per house and well under half the market rate for renting a two-bedroom house in the area. The £200,000 annual rent will not be reserved either for spending in Mortimer Forest or the local area.

Colin Richards added: “Mortimer Forest – and this site in particular – is home to a lot of unusual and rare wildlife including the internationally significant Long Haired Deer, a unique breed that has roamed this local area since the Ice Age. Protected species on the site include dormice, Great Crested Newts and 12 different species of bats, alongside declining bird species including the red listed marsh tit, song thrush, tree pipit, willow tit and wood warbler, all classed by the RSPB as globally threatened. The site is also home to amber listed birds such as bullfinch, dunnock, redstart and willow warbler all of which breed on the proposed development site. We urge all those who are concerned about the proposed destruction of habitat and the effective selling off of our public forests to join our campaign online, on twitter and Facebook at Save Mortimer Forest.”

A Forestry Commission spokesperson said: “Our 40 years’ experience of having well thought through, sensitive cabins in 9 of the nation’s forests prove they comfortably exist with people who live nearby. They do bring benefits to all visitors and the local economy. Surveys still show the wildlife around them continues to thrive.

“The forests are still public forests and are open to everyone. The cabin sites are a joint venture with the Forestry Commission who are still the landlord and can use the money they make to maintain and improve the forests.

“We ran a series of events where people talked to us about their concerns and heard about our experience from other forests. We will continue to listen and talk to local people and our planning application will have even more evidence and information. We believe when people are able to take the time to understand how these cabin sites really fit in to the forest they realise the scaremongering is untrue.”

Supporting Shropshire Live...
Shropshire Live
Shropshire Live has been providing Shropshire with independent news and entertainment since 2009. Send us your news to or call 01743 818 095. For advertising information call Fiona on 01743 816 817.
- Advertising -

Emergency services called to river rescue in Shrewsbury

Emergency services were called to the River Severn in Shrewsbury in the early hours of Saturday morning after a man was in the water.

Man arrested and property marked with SmartWater seized

A 26-year-old man was yesterday arrested and property marked with SmartWater seized following an investigation by police.
The Barclays bank branch on Market Street in Oakengates will close in April. Photo: Google Street View

Barclays bank to close Oakengates branch in April

Barclays bank in Oakengates is to close following a decline in the number of customers using the branch.

Match Preview: Fleetwood Town V Shrewsbury Town

Sam Ricketts will be keen to ensure his players focus on league matters when they visit Joey Barton’s Fleetwood.
Beth Heath, director of fun for Shropshire Festivals, with, left, Simon Haddleton, The Shrewsbury Club’s director of tennis, and the club’s operations manager Richard Micklewright

World Tennis Tour W60 Shrewsbury tournament set to be a real festival of tennis

The Shrewsbury Club has teamed up with Shropshire Festivals to make this year’s World Tennis Tour W60 Shrewsbury tournament a real festival of tennis.

Striker Lenell John-Lewis leaves Shrewsbury Town

Lenell John-Lewis has left Shrewsbury Town after the club opted not to renew his expired contract.
- Advertising -
A special bear, of which only 300 will be available, will celebrate Merrythought’s 90th anniversary

90 years and still going strong for Shropshire-based Merrythought

Shropshire-based teddy bear manufacturer Merrythought is celebrating nine decades of business in 2020 with the launch of a limited-edition bear to kick off its 90th year.
Work has begun to create A world leading agri-tech hub on the edge of Newport. Photo: Telford & Wrekin Council

Work begins on world leading agri-tech hub on the edge of Newport

Work has begun to create the infrastructure to support a world leading agri-tech research and innovation hub on the edge of Newport.
Clarissa Pritchard is the latest commercial property specialist to join Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors

Growth in demand for commercial property services at law firm

A Shropshire law firm has expanded its commercial property team as demand grows across all of its offices - from Oswestry and Telford to Ludlow and beyond.
Jamie Edwards, CEO at Shrewsbury Town in the Community

Shrewsbury Town in the Community to launch ‘Challenge Yourself 2020!’

Shrewsbury Town in the Community are launching ‘Challenge Yourself 2020!’
Eddie has become the youngest scholar to be awarded the Georgia Williams Trust Scuba Diving Scholarship which he has now completed at just 10 years old

Telford schoolboy making ‘bubbles’ with charity scholarship

A Telford schoolboy is making ‘bubbles’ in the world of Scuba Diving after becoming the youngest person to be awarded a Junior Open water scuba Diving scholarship from a local charity.

Quiz night to raise funds for Shropshire charity

A top prize of a night at the Hilton Hotel in London’s Canary Wharf awaits the winner of the star raffle prize at a quiz night being held to raise funds for a Shropshire charity.
- Advertising -

Samantha Womack and Tom Chambers to star in thriller classic at Theatre Severn

Samantha Womack and Tom Chambers will star in a brand-new production of the classic thriller, Dial M for Murder at Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn this June.
Aladdin has broken all previous Box Office records. Photo: Pamela Raith Photography

Record-breaking success for Shrewsbury pantomime

Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn has confirmed that this year’s production of Aladdin has broken all previous Box Office records.

Jack and the Beanstalk a giant success for The Place Telford

This season’s pantomime at The Place Telford, Jack and the Beanstalk, has been its most profitable and successful yet.
Head chef of The Old Vicarage Gavin Allen (centre) and his team

Shropshire hotel backs the full English breakfast despite poll showing its decline

The full English breakfast has been backed by a Shropshire hotel and brasserie despite a recent poll suggesting the fry-up could be on its way out.
Salopian Brewery has collected 9 awards from the West Midlands Branch of CAMRA

Salopian Brewery collects nine awards from the West Midlands Branch of CAMRA

Salopian Brewery is celebrating after collecting nine awards from the West Midlands Branch of CAMRA.
Adam Purnell, also known as The Shropshire Lad

Shropshire chef to appear on brand new television series

A Shropshire chef is due to appear on a brand new television show next week.
- Advertisment -


scattered clouds
6.1 ° C
8 °
4.4 °
70 %
40 %
4 °
5 °
6 °
5 °
7 °
- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -

Latest Articles

- Advertisment -