ORGANISERS of an initiative to spruce-up woodland at Barnard Castle are hoping the improvement work will attract more visitors to the area.

The Heart of Teesdale Landscape Partnership recently completed the Flatts Wood element of its Flatts Wood and Tees Bank Wood Restoration programme, which aimed to restore and enhance the walks and banks leading from the Scar Top area.

The initiative included improving the drainage and surfaces of footpaths and the replacement and restoration of the bridges over Percy Beck, benches and signposts throughout the wood.

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Emma Ashton-Wickett, the Heart of Teesdale Landscape Partnership’s Paths for All Officer, said: “It is fantastic to have been able to improve such a popular area.

“Flatts Wood is used by so many different people it is important that the paths and bridges are in good shape.”

All the work was carried out with the consent of Marwood Estate and was funded through the Natural England’s Paths for Communities Scheme.

This national initiative was set up to develop and enhance the public rights of way network throughout the country.

Rob Aubrook, Natural England’s area manager, said: “We are delighted to support Flatts Wood.

“It has provided permanent paths in locations that local communities want and need them, and local businesses have been involved and employed in the project.

“It was great to see the project restoring the seating throughout the woods too - it complements the character of the woods, which was important for the community.

“The seats, routes and this beautiful location will be enjoyed for generations to come.”

Meanwhile, the Heart of Teesdale Landscape Partnership is hosting a series of guided family walks around Flatts Wood throughout the summer holidays, to encourage the local community and tourists to enjoy the area.

There will be a different theme each week including folklore, foraging, bugs and art, and the children’s book The Stickman.

They will take place every Wednesday from July 23 to August 27, from 1pm to 3pm, starting and finishing at The Witham, on Horsemarket, in Barnard Castle.

For information, or to book any of the events, call Susie Lane, the partnership's community officer, on 0300-026-4903 or email