From improved access to plans for a new visitor centre and a carbon reduction scheme, the St Helena National Trust (SHNT) is working hard to develop its vision for the Millennium Forest. This week we look at the most recent improvements.
A disabled access friendly attraction
The SHNT has received £2,000 from the Safeguarding Children’s Board and has built ramps around the entrance to the visitor centre, allowing wheel-chair users easier access to the centre and facilities. This was an important step in ensuring that the beauty of the Millennium Forest and all its offerings is accessible to all.
Improved signage, information and facilities
A Community Development Organisation (CDO) grant has been used for multiple resources, including the manufacture of new picnic benches and park benches around the nature trail. Visitors will soon be able to enjoy a relaxing stroll along the nature trail independently thanks to interpretation boards and signage around the grounds. Posters will also be available in the visitor centre. The SHNT hopes to have these in place in the coming months.
In addition to the Millennium Forest signage, the CDO grant is being used at High Peak, Ginger Patch and Horse Point. New boards will be placed here detailing the restoration work and explaining why it is important to maintain and protect High Peak. Soon there will be boards placed around the site referencing the various endemics that live and grow in the area such as the Spiky yellow woodlouse.
Horse Point is a well-used Wirebird site and as a result has suffered damage from vehicles. Signage will soon be placed at the site to alert visitors to what is available there and to encourage them to behave responsibly. The SHNT is also working on a Wirebird walk to reduce the number of tracks, in which visitors will drive to the site on one track and loop back to the main roads. This will allow the central area to be protected from vehicles.
What else does the future hold?
Over the next few months the SHNT is hoping to redesign the Millennium Forest by developing the nursery facilities, adding more storage with a workshop and building a new visitor centre with a shop attached.
There are also plans to change the access route and offer a more attractive introduction to the Forest.
The nature trail is a popular attraction at the Forest and the SHNT is working on a new walk that will connect with the Horse Point walk and Wirebird sightings. This new trail is being marked out and will be accompanied with a flyer for visitors.
Other projects include a carbon reduction scheme that will link with the Airport, allowing visitors to visit the Forest and plant trees to help reduce their carbon footprint on the island.
About the Millennium Forest
The Millennium Forest was once referred to as the “Great Wood”, boasting a Gumwood stronghold in the Longwood area of St Helena. It was home to a variety of birds, plants and insects, but animals such as goats introduced by settlers destroyed the land, resulting in semi desert. The Millennium Forest project was launched in 2000 and the SHNT was entrusted with restoring it to its former forestry stronghold.
Over the past seventeen years, the forest has been visited and planted by islanders, RMS, Navy and cruise ship visitors, each leaving their mark on the island. Today it is one of the best and most beautiful spots to watch the operations of St Helena Airport.
For more information on the St Helena National Trust, please visit their website.