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How Center Parcs is caring for Woburn Forest

Press release   •   Feb 13, 2013 09:14 GMT

We are Center Parcs, the UK’s leading short break operator. Each year more than 1.6 million guests stay at our four Villages, each set in 400 acres of forest, and it’s not just the guests we look after, we also protect and nurture the forests and all the nature within.

Caring for Woburn Forest

We have been welcoming guests to our Villages for over 25 years and, during this time, we have been working hard to enhance the forests in which we operate so they are thriving with a wide variety of species.

Spring 2014 will mark the opening of our fifth Village; Center Parcs Woburn Forest. Rest assured, our commitment to this 365 acre forest is as central to our ethos now as it was when we welcomed our first guests 25 years ago at Sherwood Forest. Woburn Forest was previously a commercial plantation with poor biodiversity, but from now, we will strive to protect and enhance the forest so that the animals and plants already living there thrive and more species are attracted to the local area.

The forest is so important to us; we have already completed an Ecology Census which has given us an idea of the species currently on the site. For the 12 months of construction it will be the ground service manager’s role to protect the species in the forest and, when Woburn Forest opens, a conservation team will be protecting and nurturing the forest to improve the biodiversity over the years to come.

So far, we have:
• Conducted an ecology census of the site to establish the flora and fauna living there
• Delayed construction to ensure the bird nesting season is finished
• Relocated approximately 450 lizards to the nearest suitable site (temporarily during construction)
• Cordoned off sites where two badger sets are located

We are currently:
• Protecting the forest during the period of construction
• Removing (a total of) 10% of the trees to let sunlight into the lower levels of the forest, improving biodiversity

In 2014 we will be:
• Appointing a team of conservation rangers to look after the site after opening
• Continually monitoring the species on site and collaborating with wildlife charities and organisations to safeguard the future of the species we protect
• Running regular nature activities for short break guests so they can engage with the natural environment and spread awareness of species local to the area
• Finishing a 17,000m2 lake we have introduced into the heart of the Village which will attract more waterside species

Further information about Woburn Forest and Center Parcs can be found on our website

Contact information

Jessica Marshall-Pearce, Press Officer

Telephone: 01623 821723


Sustainability facts and figures

Committed to enhancing the forest and wider environment, Center Parcs aims to be one of the leading sustainable ‘Large Scale Tourist Destinations’ in the UK.  The Center Parcs Sustainability Strategy, launched in 2011, promises to reduce Center Parcs carbon emissions by 20% and produce 10% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.  Center Parcs currently uses a variety of different energy saving choices including:

  • New and refreshed accommodation projects have included environmentally efficient technology such as:
    • Ground source heating
    • Solar panels
    • Photovoltaic
    • Combined heat and power plants
    • Energy-saving LED lighting
    • Water-efficient showers
    • Low-energy kitchen appliances
    • Intelligent thermostats
  • Electric vehicle fleet for housekeeping and technical services

Center Parcs is investing in energy efficiency and renewable technologies - such as District Heating - to achieve the aim of consuming 25% less than the average existing Center Parcs village. 

Notes to Editors

  1. Center Parcs has five Villages across the UK; Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, Elveden Forest in Suffolk, Longleat Forest in Wiltshire, Whinfell Forest in Cumbria and Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire which opened to guests on 6 June 2014
  2. As the leader in the UK short break holiday market, Center Parcs regularly achieves average annual occupancy in excess of 97%
  3. Center Parcs offers weekend, (Friday to Monday) or midweek (Monday to Friday) breaks and welcomes over 1.7 million guests each year, with 96% of guests expressing an intention to return
  4. The Center Parcs concept is to provide a range of high quality accommodation, shops, restaurants and exceptional leisure facilities, carefully nestled amongst 400 acres of protected forest environment
  5. This concept originated in Holland in 1967, with the first UK Center Parcs opening in 1987. Center Parcs is now a separate entity in the UK, owned by The Blackstone Group
  6. Center Parcs has been awarded the following accolades since 2008: the Green Business Award for Biodiversity Protection, Visit Britain 5 Star Rating, Hospitality Assured, Biodiversity Benchmark - Land Management, Carbon Trust Standard, Good Spa Guide Award, ISO14001, Investors in People
  7. Center Parcs has recently been announced ‘Best Family Holiday Provider’ in the Tommy’s Awards for the eleventh year in a row