Norfolk’s Bewilderwood branching out with plans for second site

One of Norfolk's top tourist attractions has announced plans to branch out and take its unique mix of magical treehouses and fantastical storytelling across Britain.

Bewilderwood will begin a consultation process later this month on opening a park in Cheshire.

The treehouse adventure park, a winner of the Best Visitor Attraction award at the EDP Norfolk Tourism Awards 2011-12, is working with consultants and Cheshire East Council on plans for an attraction at Tatton Park.

Bewilderwood's Hoveton park is already one of Norfolk's most successful attractions, drawing tourists and school groups with its mix of fantasy animals, adventure activities and a series of books written by founder Tom Blofeld.

Last year it won silver at the Visit Britain awards for best attraction in the UK and achieved record visitor numbers.

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A public exhibition on the Cheshire plans will open on February 23 in Knutsford, before it moves to Tatton Park for a further two weeks.

Simon Egan, director of Bewilderwood, said: 'These are the very first steps in the planning process, so time will tell if this dream comes to fruition. We hope to know more regarding the success of the application at the end of May.'

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Bewilderwood's chosen site in Cheshire is a historic National Trust estate comprising 1,000 acres of deer park, 50 acres of landscaped gardens, a Tudor hall and neo-classical mansion.

The National Trust has also given its conditional support to the 'principles and aims' of the project.

A spokesman said: 'With careful planning, the project will help to connect Tatton to a more diverse audience, allowing a greater number of people to get outdoors and closer to nature.'

Councillor Jamie Macrae, of Cheshire East Council, said the arrival of a 'prestigious' company such as Bewilderwood would make Tatton Park a national attraction, and create jobs.

'This proposal is a huge part of Cheshire East Council's ambitious plans for the Tatton Vision,' he said.

'Tatton Park is already the premier major attraction in the region with more than 800,000 visitors a year. Our vision is to realise its full potential at national level and raise the visitors to over one million a year.'

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