Steve Brine MP recently visited Forest Holidays award-winning location in Blackwood Forest, Hampshire. The MP for Winchester & Chandler's Ford discovered how the company helps to connect people with their natural woodland heritage whilst supporting the surrounding local economy.
Forest Holidays in Blackwood Forest features 60 eco-cabins designed to allow the public to immerse themselves in nature. The location provides jobs for 58 team members and supports businesses across the region by relying on local providers to deliver tourist activities and services, generating over £2 million per year for the local and regional economy.
Forest Holidays in Blackwood Forest is also one of the first places in the UK to offer Forest Bathing with trained Forest Therapy guides. Forest Bathing combines mindfulness techniques with the therapeutic powers of the natural environment to reduce stress and promote positive mental wellbeing. It is now one of the cornerstones of Japanese healthcare, where it is known as ‘shinrin-yoku’.
Mr Brine met the Blackwood Forest location team and received a tour of the location from Forest Holidays CEO Bruce McKendrick.
Steve Brine said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Forest Holidays in Blackwood Forest to see first-hand the enormous environmental and economic contribution they make in Hampshire. I was particularly impressed with their focus on bringing the benefits of the forest into people’s lives. Blackwood Forest is a perfect place for people to reconnect with the natural world, both restorative and uplifting and crucial for health and wellbeing. Rural tourism is also vital to our local economy, creating jobs and opportunities for local people. Forest Holidays does a superb job of providing visitors with a positive experience of our great county of Hampshire and we are delighted to see the huge benefits they bring to the region.”
Bruce McKendrick, Chief Executive Officer at Forest Holidays said: “We’re proud to contribute to the rural economy in Hampshire from our location in beautiful Blackwood Forest, by supporting local businesses and helping to create a vibrant year-round tourist economy. We actively encourage visitors to go out and explore both the surrounding forest and the local area so that they can appreciate the depth and breadth of small businesses in the region.
“Forest Holidays exists to connect people, nature and local communities. It’s imperative that we open up our nation’s forests so that as many people as possible can experience the benefits they bring and play a part in protecting and enhancing our natural landscapes for generations to come.”
Forest Holidays leases the Blackwood Forest location from the Forestry Commission and works to maintain the surrounding woodland and improve biodiversity for the benefit of future generations. Forest Holidays locations are part of the Public Forest Estate and remain open to local communities and visitors.
For further information visit Forest Holidays.