‘Building’ has been a key term thrown around a lot since 2012; building the structures, building up the biodiversity of the forest and building the team. This month saw some amazing milestones in the build of Woburn Forest, including the final chapter of Jean’s journey to collect the tropical plants that will feature in the Subtropical Swimming Paradise and other internal areas. Having layered up in clothing and high visibility gear, I headed off with BMS, our photography and film crew to see the first plants arriving. BBC Look East joined us and we all witnessed this momentous occasion together. Boy, it was warm in there! 29.5 degrees to be exact! No wonder the pool is so popular with guests.
Biggest paradise yet
A team of 10 assisted in lifting the tropical plants, unwrapping them and planting them in their new beds. Even after the first few plants, the Subtropical Swimming Paradise transformed from an empty shell into something much more like Center Parcs. The photos we have taken don’t do the size of the building justice; nestled into the landscape it is indeed, but make no mistake, this is the biggest one yet!
The Subtropical Swimming Paradise transformed from an empty shell into something much more like Center Parcs
Many of the pools already have water in them for testing and I have to admit, the building (there’s that word again!) doesn’t look far off completion. By the end of April everything should be almost ready. Jean was hard at work but you could tell it was a sentimental moment for him. After caring for these plants for more than a year, it must be tough handing them over to someone else. But we’ll take good care of your rescued plants Jean – we have an excellent team of Rangers ready.
The other thing I have noticed is Village people – not the ‘70s disco group – around. You’ll be walking down a corridor in the Village Square North building, turn a corner and there’s a team having a training session. It’s a strange feeling now that the Woburn Forest team are spreading through the complete buildings, really taking ownership of the place. While I’ve been involved in the project for almost two years, their knowledge is amazing and you can really feel the excitement in the air.
It’s great to see creatures undeterred by the construction still happening, going about their lives in the forest
On a recent site visit with BMS, instead of having to find nature, it was everywhere! About 100,000 locally native species of trees and plants will have been planted in Woburn Forest by the end of this year and you can really see the difference. Instead of our photographer Greg running off to capture nature, we just had to swivel round at various points to capture birds and insects – I think I even saw a deer a few weeks ago. It’s great to see that these creatures seem undeterred by the construction still happening, going about their lives in the forest.
Anyone for a pancake?
I wanted to end this post on a random note, having wandered around the Village Square, we walked past Huck’s and, peeking inside, I can tell you that not only were there tables and chairs but the tables were actually set with napkins and cutlery! I also saw a completed playground, a set of beautiful wooden structures in the beaming sun. I could see the temptation of BMS to go over and ‘test’ them out!
Not long to go now, check back in April for another Woburn update.
See you next time,