A second BeWILDerwood adventure park is to be built in Great Britain. Planning permission was awarded this week for the attraction on the estate of Cholmondeley Castle in South Cheshire.
The news comes as the original, award-winning BeWILDerwood celebrates its 10th anniversary in Norfolk. A £5 million ($6.4m/€5.9m) investment has been secured to encourage children and their families to enjoy traditional, imaginative and healthy outdoor play. Located in the North West of England, on the opposite side of the country to the park in East Anglia, the new site opens up BeWILDerwood to a totally new market.
Families at BeWILDerwood Cheshire are promised “a wonderful, mystical land of brave, adventurous creatures who you may never see anywhere else in our world.” As in Norfolk, the new outlet will be home to creatures from the children’s books of BeWILDerwood creator Thomas Blofeld. In particular, the park its activities are based on a narrative of ‘A Boggle at BeWILDerwood’.
Children and their parents will be encouraged to play together as they follow in the footsteps of Swampy, Boggle and friends. The environmentally sustainable attraction will include play structures, tree houses, boardwalks and a mystical boat ride set in a natural and safe environment. As well as aerial and ground level walks through the tress, there will be picnic and storytelling areas.
Previously, BeWILDwerwood had been trying establish an attraction at Tatton Park, elsewhere in Cheshire. Now, at Cholmondeley Castle, its creators believe they have found the perfect partner. The 70-acre park expects to welcome around 300,000 visitors a year. A key part of the offering is its rural, woodland location.
BeWILDerwood Cheshire and rural tourism
“A critical factor in rural tourism is ‘distinctiveness’,” notes Katrina Michel at Marketing Cheshire. “BeWILDerwood offers something genuinely different – a healthy outdoor experience for young children and families which fires the imagination. It allows children to run free and enjoy nature as well as becoming involved in a compelling story.”
“From the beginning, we set out to be different to ‘theme parks’,” adds Tom Blofeld. “We wanted to be a smaller, more authentic and intimate experience, and it shows in our reviews. Our visitors feel a real sense of ownership. We continue to encourage children to explore and develop their own love of nature and sense of independence. Somehow, without realising it, we made something that is probably the best in the world in its category. It’s not a huge category, but it’s still the best!”
Planning permission for BeWILDerwood Cheshire was granted on May 9 by Cheshire West & Chester Council. The site at Cholmondeley Castle is located west of the A49, close to the Cheshire-Shropshire border. An opening date will be announced in due course.