Bosses at Blists Hill Victorian Town are breathing life into a previously unused area of the attraction, giving visitors a walk-through experience of its natural history, leading to a key industrial monument.
A 20-year masterplan has been put in place at the Shropshire venue to enhance and protect 0.2 hectares of woodland and its wildlife, installing bird and bat boxes, putting in deadwood habitats for insects, and carrying out woodland management to improve the health and growth of plants on the site.
Venue bosses hope the work on the wooded area will encourage visitors to explore the previously unseen natural history the attraction has to offer, the trail through which will lead along the canal and up to the Hay Incline Plane – a rarely-visited but highly important industrial monument.
The newly revamped woodland is adjacent to the brand new Madeley Wood Company Outdoor Adventure, allowing families to enjoy the exciting new attraction in a rich natural setting.
And to make sure the Outdoor Adventure doesn’t disturb animals nearby, the site is completely free of any lighting – and it will only be open during daylight hours.
The Outdoor Adventure was designed by Creating Adventurous Places Ltd (CAP.Co), which has recently completed work on a similar playground on the Queen’s Sandringham Estate.
Special Projects Director for The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, Rory Hunter, said extensive woodland and habitat surveys carried out prior to the installation of the new attraction revealed the nearby woodland boasts a wide range of wildlife – from birds, to bats, slow worms, and frogs.
“We’ve been really cautious to ensure we’re looking after everything living in the area of woodland adjacent to the Outdoor Adventure site – and have committed to a 20-year habitat management plan.”
The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust Chief Executive, Nick Ralls, said: “We’re delighted to be carrying out this essential work to protect and enrich the vital natural habitats for our array of wildlife living on the site and to further improve the environment for our woodland and plants.
“We’re thrilled to be working with such a highly-respected partner as CAP.Co on the project. They are the best in their field and thanks to their prestigious Sandringham adventure playground on the Queen’s estate, it seems they also have the Royal seal of approval too.”