Sherwood Pines’ Visitor Numbers Are Up

by Ben Haworth 15

Steve Peat takes to the air in Sherwood Pines Forest Park to launch a new Discovery Pass for the woodland. Photo by Shaun Flannery.
Steve Peat takes to the air in Sherwood Pines Forest Park to launch a new Discovery Pass for the woodland. Photo by Shaun Flannery.

It was already the East Midlands biggest public woodland, but now it has notched a 20% growth in day-trippers over the past year, with admissions passing the 375,000 mark.

Forest chiefs reckon a £400,000 investment in new off road cycle routes spanning all ability levels is the major reason behind the increase.

The woodland’s soaring popularity has prompted the Forestry Commission to launch a UK first visitor scheme in Nottinghamshire to nurture even stronger links between local people and the beauty spot.

A new Discovery Pass has been unveiled, guaranteeing all year-round free parking in Sherwood Pines for a flat fee of £35, along with juicy discounts on cycle hire, Christmas trees, Go-Ape hire wire course and forest café.  All the proceeds from the scheme will be re-invested back in the woodland.

Recreation Manager Chris Bray said: “Top bikers have always rated Sherwood Pines as a great venue, but family routes like the Adventure Trail are attracting a new audience, offering a great day out and a stepping stone for those wanting to improve their skills.  It’s also giving folk chance to tone up, fight the flab and keep in trim.The Discovery Pass is a way to open the door to even more visitors, whilst offering those already using the forest an even better deal.”

Photo by Shaun Flannery.
Photo by Shaun Flannery.

Passes can be purchased from forest district office in Sherwood Pines Forest Park (tel 01623 822447) or by logging onto the website at www.forestry.gov.uk/pass

Comments (15)

  1. Hmmm, then why have the FC just told us we have no more money to maintain or expand the existing trails at the venue. A number of us do voluntary work on the trails but we have been told we have to raise the cash ourselves if any further work is to be done before April 2010.

  2. Would be nice to see the money go back into the trails. Perhaps a bit more drainage? The discovery pass does sound very similar to my annual parking permit that cost me £30 though…

  3. Is it £3 at the moment per car? So thats once a month to break even. Not terrible, but I don’t think the pines has enough to make me visit that often tbh, especially since they’ve blocked off some of the best old bits

  4. Main reason for me though was the fact that i never have any proper money on me so could never get a ticket. It is also a nice place to visit with the family – has worked well for me over summer going with my nephew and family as I can nip round for a loop and come back to meet them all. The parking charge is not that different to popping into town, but I do feel that they are marketing something that perhaps isnt really any different to what they currently have. If visitor numbers are up by the amount suggested, then the trails really need some investment over the winter months to prevent them becoming damaged. Waiting until April will mean twice as much work (and cost)!

  5. Makes you wonder where the £400,000 has been spent when the entire Kitchener trail turns into a quagmire after only a few weeks of ‘seasonal’ weather. I don’t mind the mud on natural trails, but when the Kitchener is a purpose built route and supposedly sustainable it becomes a joke. Note to Chris Bray: look at Cannock to see what you could have done.

  6. BenjaminJDC, perhaps they are thinking it might take a short while for people to actually buy some passes before they get some money from them?

    Never been but if somewhere local to me I think it could work, doubly whammy of making it easier on arrival and wanting to go in the first place to make my money back, and more…

  7. My only problem with the Pines is the quagmire trails too.

  8. I don’t mind the quagmire so much, its the trail falling into the ditch they dug the trail from and the ‘lumpiness/roughness’ on what could be very smooth and fast. Its like they tried to make some of it ‘pumpable’ but made most of it too small to be of any real use

  9. I’ve been riding there for nearly 30 years… the new trails are a shockingly bad designed … drainage is extremely poor… and trail profiles seem to stop you from carrying and reel speed through any of the sections.
    The numbers may be up but I would say that’s not just riders….
    Why they didn’t just get the guys that built Glentress to sort it… I will never know? I mean £400,000 ….It must have gone where the money that goes they are paid to re-level the fire roads after Rally weekends…. cos they never seem to get done either!

    It would have been interesting to get candid opinion from Mr Peat!

  10. fallguy’s hit the nail on the head. don’t even bother riding in there if there’s been a mild down pour.
    god knows what it’s like at the moment!

    as with numbers, i wonder how many are folks reurning after being rather disappointed on their first visit

  11. I personally think that after the winter has gone and spring also, there won’t be much of the quickly constructed trails left in the badly drained area’s or reasonable area’s.
    The family trail has probably helped to increase numbers to the park because it’s paved most the way around, (this must also cut down on the maintenance for this particular trail) also this trail is well sign posted and so easy to navigate.

    I think you would be very lucky indeed to get Mr Bray out of his office to visit other similar parks and view what they have been able to achieve between the management, the fc and also rider groups (of which the Pines park does not have). I think at Cannock they have a working group of approx 60 worker/riders who along with the other parties are allowed to “improve” some of the trails so everyone benefits, not a bad thing me thinks.

    Winter months though always bring with them the dreaded mud, some don’t mind it, some don’t like it but in the darker months it’s always going to be there. It will also still be with you/your bike when you get home because there is no longer a bike wash available at the Pines park, not such an expensive feature that will also increase numbers to the park as riders won’t get thier cars messy inside.

    There is so much that could be done at “The Pines” but I think it will not be in the near future. I also think that the man made trails are what they are, a temporary fix just to get on the band wagon to get people through the gates pay the parking fee buy the bikes/parts feed their faces to show that some one is doing their job so well.

    Derbyshire is pretty good though it has hills as well as mud too, and that is where I will be riding more and more often along with The Chase and various other trail parks, the Pines is just what it is, end of !

  12. I think some of the groans are a little unfair, I quite like the mud, makes for a challenge, some work has been done recently to alleviate it and I was a bit disappointed.

    I see what you mean comparing to the chase, but on the flipside, the trails at the chase are very slippery on the stones laid to keep it in good nick so you can’t rail into corners in the same way you can on parts of Pines. I’ve lost the front may times on slick stones in wet weather.

  13. I rode the Kitchener trail on Monday night and I can honestly say it was one of the worst rides I have done anywhere.
    I dont mind a hard ride but 95% of the route was waterlogged and no fun at all.
    As thefallguy pointed out this is to be expected on natural trails but this is supposed to be an all year round man made route, such a waste.
    Were local riders consulted on their thaughts of the route?
    Was the route built by riders or a contractor?
    IMHO 90% of the loop needs to be closed off and made weather proof(throwing a few M of hardcore down won’t work as some of that has dissapeared into the mud allready) as the singletrack in some parts was 2’3 M wide.
    As for a new rider visiting the Pines and riding the red trail it would probably put them off mtb for good.

  14. Why does every where apart from sheffield/north derbyshire get money to spen on trails. When will severn trent water let us on their land legit. Why does sh1tty flat sherwood get £400000 and wharncliffe get nothing, surley it would rais funds for the fc in south yorkshire. Also fed up with rights of way getting shut down constantly in derbyshire. What a load of old B@LL@CKS

  15. Was at Sherwood today and must say how dissapointing it was. Rode the red route until we got sick and tired of all the mud which is outrageously bad and then the fact if you take a corner at any speed you get spat out into a ditch as all the corners are falling into the “drainage” ditch built on the outside of every corner creating a nice off camber! £400,000? What a joke, thankfully the “off=piste” stuff is still there and thanks to the red and blue/green routes they are used less and in pretty good nick but won’t be making a trip back with the peaks the same distance away and also cannock chase.

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