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Forest Leader: Mrs Sue Elliott

Kielder Forest

Kielder Forest is a large forestry plantation in Northumberland, England, surrounding the reservoir Kielder Water. It is the largest man-made woodland in Europe.

Kielder is dominated by conifers. Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis) covers 75% of the planted area; this species thrives in the damp conditions afforded by northern Britain. Other species include Norway Spruce (Picea abies) , Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris), Larch (Larix spp.) and broadleaves including Birch (Betula spp.), Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia), Cherry (Prunus spp.), Oak (Quercus spp.), Beech (Fagus sylvatica), and Willow (Salix spp.).

However, Kielder is not just about trees. At any one time a quarter of the area of Kielder is open space, including England's largest area of blanket bog. Kielder is also England's most important red squirrel reserve, home to the biggest remaining population of red squirrels in the country.

Kielder Forest also provides excellent habitat for many species of birds of prey and a large population of roe deer is actively managed.

The Kielder Super Six to spot are the osprey, red squirrel, pipistrelle bat, roe deer, salmon and otter.

Other attractions:

The forest contains a number of art and architectural installations including a Skyspace designed by James Turrell and Wave Chamber, a camera obscura in a stone cairn by Chris Drury.

The forest also contains Kielder Observatory which is an astronomical observatory.

In 2010, former British distance runner Steve Cram inaugurated the Kielder Marathon which is a circuit around the lake taking in the surrounding gentle contours.

In the same decade the local authority began a reduction of late night street lights to enhance the dark skies of the park and sponsored observation facilities and advertising to attract visitors to the darkest skies in the mainland of Britain (awarded Dark Park status).


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