Plans to build a visitor centre and glamping pods in one of the Island’s most popular woodlands have been unveiled.
South Barrule plantation, near Foxdale, already offers a host of leisure activities including Ape Mann, Laser Mayhem and Segway, alongside purpose built mountain bike trails and some great walks.
The Isle of Man Government is now looking to enable the introduction of more facilities to further develop the area as a destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
A planning application will be submitted soon, which if successful, will allow the potential site to be put out to tender, which will create an opportunity for a business to rent, develop and operate the site.
The proposal includes the creation of a visitor centre that would offer a range of additional facilities for guests and existing businesses to use including catering. It will also include toilet facilities and act as a classroom and information centre.
Plans will also see the creation of 40 glamping pods and luxury lodges. The proposed facilities will be fully inclusive, with wheelchair friendly walkways linking all areas of the site, alongside sensory areas for visually impaired visitors to enjoy. A number of the glamping pods will also be modified for better access.
Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for the Environment, Food and Agriculture, said:
‘This development will offer an opportunity for a suitable private operator to create a unique destination for locals and visitors to enjoy.
‘The proposed facilities will further enhance the established leisure attractions and can play a key role in supporting tourism growth whilst connecting people with nature. The proposal will also provide a wider economic development opportunity for the island, by creating job opportunities to manage and maintain the forest park.’
All proposed buildings would be built to blend in to their woodland surroundings and raised off the ground on stilts to avoid the need for foundations.
The Government intends to work closely with many of the Island’s trusts and societies to integrate the scheme into the woodland and to encourage conservation and biodiversity. This will include the provision of bird and bat boxes and offering nature walks and the use of the visitor centre for educational purposes.
Local residents, business owners and interested parties have been consulted and many attended a meeting at Laser Mayhem on Thursday 8 October.