Ramsey Eco-Active

Ramsey Forest's “ECO-Active” project aims to create a wildlife friendly space for outdoor recreation and education aimed at children and adults alike.

An exciting project to create a series of children’s play features and a nature trail within a 60 acre native woodland in the north of the island, part of the Ramsey Forest initiative.

The site, most of which is currently owned by the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA), will cover land from the Ramsey Hairpin westwards taking in Elfin Glen, Claughbane Plantation, Crossags Coppice and Glion ny Crawe (the glen above Crossags Farm).

The timber from felling many of the conifers in Claughbane Plantation will provide the natural materials to create a series of children’s play features, made to encourage thousands of children to reconnect with nature by making the site irresistibly fun for everyone.

The actions of visitors travelling around the site will also help move biodiversity, on their boots, socks and paws, from the ancient woodland areas into the felled conifer sites.

Eco-Active Nature Trail

The nature trail will take in the million bluebells of our recently planted in Crossags Coppice as well as a large area of a mature larch plantation that will be gradually converted to native woodland.

The main wildlife themes in this area will be scented honeysuckle and bluebells, nesting birds and autumn foraging for hazelnuts and blackberries.

The play trail will be a series of 6-8 play features over a 2km trail, interspersed with temporary or installed sculptures and quirky features. The final content has not been finalised and we encourage creative input to this the project.

The Funding

The majority of the funding required for this project is to cover the cost of contractors to provide the site infrastructure, aditional funds will be help cover the cost of the play features, including the snail fort and the maze. Applications have been submitted to potential funders and the lottery.

The Manx Wildlife Trust has already raised £3,000 via a dedicated tree fund.

The Build Plan Timetable

  • Autumn 2016: Build connecting path between Eco-active and Crossags coppice
  • Autumn 2016: Fell Young Conifer trees in playtrail area
  • Autumn/winter 2016/17: Plant native broadleaves in felled areas
  • 2017: Building first play features
  • 2017: Upgrade lower path
  • 2018: Construct car-park. Upgrade other paths
  • 2018: Building final play features
  • 2019: Opening

This is a long term project, dependent of resources and funding and we look forward to developing the plans and the timetable as the project progresses.

Photo: Top: Matthew Roberts; Above: Amy Lewis

ECO-Active - The Features

A range of exciting features have been identified for this project, with development dependent on funding and resouces.

Stump Scramble

A fairly simple feature that will be placed at the first junction of the nature trail. Lots of logs will be placed together to make a log stairway linking a lower and upper path. This is purely aimed at generate some energetic fun, to limber up for the main features! Logs will be Claughbane larch, felled as close as possible to the site of the feature, with the option of a a non-slip top surface.

Planned to be built in summer 2017, with the help of volunteers and potentially input from a corporate supporter. Costs will mostly consist of project management fees and supervision.

Snail Fort

A simple spiral mud hill, approximately 2 metres high with a log palisade, built behind the viewpoint above Claughbane Quarry and made of Claughbane larch. It is hoped that this fort, combined with the viewpoint, will stimulate role-play and provide for ‘memorable moments’ that will last long after the day is over.

Planned to be finished by early 2017, the majority of the work will need to be undertaken by contractors, with the help of volunteers to complete the final touches. Funding is being sought for this feature.

Hazel Maze

A hazel coppice thicket with a dense, complex path network, demarcated with logs from the conifers that will have been felled in the immediate area in order to plant the new woodland, the maze will be big enough to get lost in, but not for long!

An excellent place to play tag, team games and for energetic exercise, the maze will have three entrances, marked with timber archways. The large mature Scots pine and Douglas fir will be retained in order to keep the mature woodland feel. A range of little wood sculptures be will carved from the stumps of felled trees, with benches installed in little glades with a steel sculpture at its centre.

The tree felling, with the wood retained to create the fort, will be undertaken by contractors. Volunteers will help plant trees and native woodland wildflowers. Once established clumps of hazel will be periodically cut back (coppiced) to allow a flush of wildflowers and invertebrates in the glades.

Funding is being sought for the project, including and the central steel sculpture.

Download our Mythical Maze Spotter Sheet below and see how many mythical creatures and features you can find!

The Logstacle Course

A physical challenge feature comprising a 100 metre long series of log obstacles to climb over, duck under, weave between, balance on top and jump from stump to stump, located at the top of Claughbane Plantation. No moving parts and no great heights will be involved, but we don’t have to make it easy!

The designs for this are still being finalised and it will likely develop organically as the project progresses, with completion scheduled for summer of 2017.

Troll Village

A little fantasy village to mooch about and play in, with six trolls carved from tree stumps, each having its own themed garden (for example, a blackberry garden, a honeysuckle garden, a wild strawberry garden, a hazel garden etc) and mock log cabins. The whole village will be fenced by Appalachian style timber fencing.

Funding will be required to cover contractors costs for construction and carving, whilst volunteers will be able to get involved with the gardens and fencing. Completion is penciled in for late 2017.

Den City

A simple demarcated area, within a Norway spruce stand, where branches and den building materials will be left available for freestyle den building activities.

Simple to set up and build, with the only elaborate feature a timber entrance way. This will be a volunteer task for late 2017.

The Bits Between
The whole trail will be locked together through a series of secrets, nooks, whimsy and surprises. Entranceways will become important places and ornamental benches staged along the way.

Beyond ECO-active

Beneath Claughbane Plantation there are two fields, owned by the government, which, having become colonised by hundreds of ash trees, are rapidly turning into a young native woodland. A track between the two fields is lined with mature trees and is full of woodland wildflowers including the locally rare remote sedge and wood speedwell.

It is hoped that the land could be integrated within the ECO-Active programme to form a future project called the Hairpin Woodland Park. If successful, this project could include:

  • An outdoor classroom
  • A dog agility paddock
  • A Landscaped car park
  • Visitor pavilion with woodland products on sale
  • An all ability trail
  • A chain of ponds
  • A wildflower meadow
  • The best countryside day out on the Island

This is a long term project, dependent of resources and funding and we look forward to developing the plans and the timetable as the project progresses.


FilenameFile size
Eco-Active Mystical Maze Spotter1.74 MB