Tel: 01636 555033
We've Got Newark and Sherwood Covered


Walesby Forest’s appeal for urgent help

Posted onPosted on 29th Oct

Walesby Forest, an internationally-acclaimed outdoor activity centre, which has been forcibly closed due to government restrictions, is appealing for help to avoid being ‘wiped out’.

Chairman Alistair Bow said: “We have reached a critical point for the first time in our 82-year history following harsh restrictions from the government. We’ve seen a 90% drop in revenue, losing £350,000 in the last 9 months and we’re very quickly depleting our reserves.

“Any incarnation of the Job Retention Scheme is no good when there is no income for the foreseeable future. As a result, we’ve had to make the tough decision to let 30 members of staff go and some have also lost their homes as they lived in accommodation on site.

“We’re at a loss.”

Established in 1938, Walesby is one of the biggest employers in the local area. The centre contributes more than £3m to the local economy, paying £500,000 in wages and hosting up to 50,000 visitors per year where they usually head out into the local villages and towns to spend money.

Alistair (pictured) added: “As well as being chairman at Walesby Forest and managing director at Thomas Bow – a leading civil engineering and highways contractor, which thankfully has remained a very buoyant industry – I am also chairman of Nottingham Rugby. Ruth Edwards – the MP for Rushcliffe – has been very supportive, trying to find ways to help the club and offering her backing.

“Sport is thankfully being taken seriously by the government and we welcome the support that has been introduced but Walesby is an area of the hospitality industry that has been totally overlooked.

“We are an independent charity, and we lease the land from Nottingham City Scouts – who have been brilliant – but we need help to survive otherwise there won’t be such places for children once the pandemic is over.

“Lots of centres have already closed for good.

“We recognise that encouraging schools to take part in residentials is not currently viable. We’re set up to be COVID-19 secure and have always operated a robust bubble system but we very much understand the reluctance and safety concerns from teachers and parents to allow kids to take part in overnight stays.

“However, the restrictions currently in place mean we are forced to be closed. We’ve used all the government schemes that are available – the Job Retention Scheme, tax holiday etc. – but it’s not enough.

“Looking at the next financial year, we’re predicting that we’ll be shut down until Spring 2021 at the earliest and then the following six months, or even the entire next year, we are forecasting a 60% decrease in revenue.

“We therefore need help, or we could be wiped out in a matter of months – which would be a devastating blow not only for us but for the 50,000 visitors we host each year.”

To find out more about Walesby Forest visit