On Wednesday 6th August, 10 volunteers from Center Parcs Woburn Forest spent the day helping The Wildlife Trust (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire Northamptonshire) with essential bracken pulling at Cooper’s Hill.
Center Parcs and The Wildlife Trusts have been corporate partners since May 2013 and in that time more than £44,000 has been raised through guest support and Village fundraising activities. It is not just monetary support Center Parcs offer but the company considers engagement as an equally important factor in working with charities. The Center Parcs volunteering programme has been running for four years with projects including community centre redecoration, landscaping and gardening.
The following individuals will be volunteering on the day:
Lucetta Vicentijevic (Flitwick)
Tom Phelan (Flitwick)
Lorraine Ballantyne (Ampthill)
Mike Ellis (Dunstable)
Pete Cascini (Dunstable)
James Taylor (Cranfield)
Carl Stoner (Putnoe)
Sue Harris (Houghton Conquest)
Skye-Monroe Perry (Milton Keynes)
Holly Mullen (Bedford)
Cooper’s Hill is Bedfordshire’s largest remaining area of heathland covered in swathes of heather in late summer. The reserve is on the Greensand Ridge which historically would have been grazed by sheep or cattle with the heather also being used as fuel, bedding and for thatching roofs. Open heath provides a home for the common lizard and insects. Lots of nesting birds also take advantage of the protection of spikey gorse.
Gwen Hitchcock, Reserves Ecology Officer of The Wildlife Trust Bedfordshire said: “It is great that volunteers from Center Parcs are giving us a hand with this huge task. Cooper’s Hill contains the remaining patch of mature heath in Bedfordshire and invasive bracken threatens to kill the heather here by shading it out. By removing the bracken, we are ensuring that this biodiversity hotspot stays thriving in the future.”
Wayne Matton, General Manager of Center Parcs Woburn Forest said: “We are delighted to be working with our natural neighbours to ensure that we are not just improving the biodiversity of our own forest but that we are also making a difference in the local area.”
In May 2013 members of the management team at Woburn Forest team volunteered for The Greensand Trust preparing a play area at Maulden Wood, then on 16th December, a team of volunteers helped at Flitwick Moor by helping to clear the ground ready for the spring. Bracken pulling at Cooper’s Hill as the third volunteering project undertaken by the Woburn Forest team.
Notes to editors
About Center Parcs
Center Parcs came to the UK in July 1987 when it opened its first village at Sherwood Forest, offering short break holidays on a year round basis. In that time, the name Center Parcs has become synonymous with the provision of an exceptional short break experience in a natural forest location.
The Center Parcs concept is to provide short breaks in the forest, bringing families together and back to nature with high quality accommodation, a range of outstanding leisure facilities and over 200 activities, all set within a protected and enhanced woodland environment. Center Parcs operates four villages in the UK; Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, Elveden Forest in Suffolk, Longleat Forest in Wiltshire and Whinfell Forest in Cumbria and has a fifth village, Center Parcs Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire, which opened in spring 2014.
Each village is set in 400 acres of natural woodland, with trees, streams and wildlife surrounding Apartment and Lodge accommodation. At the heart of each village is the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, an extensive range of restaurants, cafes and retail outlets, plus, Center Parcs’ own Aqua Sana spa facility.
About The Wildlife Trusts
There are 47 individual Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the UK and the Isle of Man and Alderney. Together, The Wildlife Trusts are the UK’s largest people-powered environmental organisation working for nature’s recovery on land and at sea.
Each Wildlife Trust is an independent charity deeply-rooted within the local communities from which it was formed - most had been established by the end of the 1960s (usually, but not always, at a county-wide level), often set up by local activists determined to save what they could - the last remaining meadows, ancient woods, heaths - in the face of widespread devastation to our natural environment.
Jessica Marshall-Pearce, Press Officer
Notes to Editors
- 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
- As the leader in the UK short break holiday market, Center Parcs regularly achieves average annual occupancy in excess of 97%
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Center Parcs has recently been announced ‘Best Family Holiday Provider’ in the Tommy’s Awards for the eleventh year in a row