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Walesby Forest's 'Thank You' as it bounces back to pre-Covid levels

Walesby Forest's 'Thank You' as it bounces back to pre-Covid levels

Leaders at internationally acclaimed North Nottinghamshire outdoor activity centre Walesby Forest have praised the widespread support it received to ensure it survived the pandemic.

The 250-acre centre, located in the heart of Sherwood Forest and one of the biggest employers in the area, was hard hit by pandemic restrictions, experiencing a 90% drop in revenue in 2020.

But after gradually reopening since 17 May 2021, it has gone from strength to strength – with 30,000 children taking part in 90,000 school nights this year and 37,500 members of the public camping and visiting. It also experienced a bumper Platinum Jubilee weekend.

Guy Laurie, chief executive at Walesby Forest, said:

“We are delighted to say we are back in business and have survived the last two very difficult years. We want to thank our staff, the local community and of course our wonderful visitors, many of whom have remained loyal to us and have been very patient as we have got back on our feet.”

Guy said that the charity recognised the financial support it had received from the district council and through the government’s Bounce Back loan scheme, introduced to support businesses during the pandemic, and the furlough scheme which subsidised employees’ wages.

He also praised the backing of Mark Spencer, the MP for Sherwood and Leader of the House of Commons, and Cllr Ben Bradley, MP for Mansfield and the leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, who both recently visited the centre.

“They were really keen to hear about our future plans and were particularly interested in our aim to develop a fully adapted disability space, dependent on funding – it was great to have their support” Guy added.

“We also had fantastic backing from Newark and Sherwood District Council during the whole experience. It was really quick to get grant money out to local businesses - it was very proactive and in constant contact. That has really helped us to deliver more community work with schools and disability groups.”

Located in Walesby, the outdoor activity centre and campsite was established in 1938 and organises a huge range of educational and adventure activity programmes and summer camps across the year. Since reopening, the site has set up and hosts a local youth group for nearby Ollerton, run with Active Notts, the Sherwood Forest Education Partnership and the district council.

Alistair Bow, the chairman at Walesby Forest and managing director at Thomas Bow – the leading civil engineering and highways contractor – said the centre was proud to be a big part of its local community.

“It is wonderful to have our customers returning here to enjoy the many activities available and we are very grateful for the widespread support we have received to make that possible.

“We have the same customer base as pre-Covid and have seen a big rebound from Scouting and Guiding groups as well as schools, corporate guests, and members of the public. We have some exciting plans in the pipeline – including the refurbishment of the lake and outdoor climbing wall, so we are looking forward to a very successful summer.”

To find out more about Walesby Forest, please visit or join the conversation on Twitter @WalesbyForest. 

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