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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 February 2006, 15:51 GMT
Commission opens forestry trails
Forest trail
The play trail has musical instruments for people to play
The Forestry Commission is spending 750,000 to open up the countryside for people in Devon.

The aim is to get people to take up exercise who might not normally be attracted out into the wild.

Seven new trails have been opened at Haldon Forest near Exeter. These include cycling trails and a play trail with wooden musical instruments.

But the new open-air attractions have also been designed to keep people away from sensitive wildlife areas.

Sensory trail

Ian Parsons, a forestry ranger, said: "There could be potential clashes with wildlife sensitive areas such as our dormice scheme, birds of prey which are nesting and our butterfly meadows.

"So we have tried to focus on where people could use the forest for recreational purposes."

SportEngland has helped fund about 25 miles of trails at the forest.

Three cycle trails have been designed to cater for all ages and abilities, including a challenging slope for the most experienced mountain bikers.

Other forest trails include a butterfly trail, one for horse riders and a sensory trail, all of which are designed to allow people with limited mobility better access to the countryside.


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