The history of this woodland, in terms of Center Parcs, is a little unusual. The site was acquired and built upon by the Bourne Leisure Group in 1997, operating as Oasis Holiday Village until 2002, when Center Parcs purchased the site and renamed it Whinfell Forest.
The woodland sits within the Lowther Estate and the Eden Valley Natural Area, and the forest itself has existed since at least the 11th century. Like our other villages, the site covers around 400 acres and includes compartments of mature forest, with a diverse range of species and land types. The majority of the trees within the woodland are conifers, ranging from small blocks to long-established large plantations, found on heathland or mire habitats. These evergreen trees now provide a haven for red squirrels, hosting one of the few remaining colonies in England.
A number of important species can be found within the woodland, including another European Protected Species, the great crested newt. Living in the pond system that spreads throughout the village, these amphibians have legal protection against any damage to their habitat, as well as any injury to the newts themselves. Combined with the red squirrels, this makes the woodland one of significant national value.
In addition, over the years we have observed a number of badger setts and bat roosts becoming established within the forest, a further example of the strong biodiversity credentials of this little patch of woodland in the northwest of the country.