Wistlandpound reservoir in North Devon is a beauty spot which is not just accessible to rugged outdoor types; wheelchair users can also enjoy its two-kilometre lakeside trail. A pioneering project has opened up this secluded spot to people of all abili

Wistlandpound reservoir in North Devon is a beauty spot which is not just accessible to rugged outdoor types; wheelchair users can also enjoy its two-kilometre lakeside trail. A pioneering project has opened up this secluded spot to people of all abilities and now all visitors can enjoy the tranquillity of the forest and test out the innovative exercise equipment at what is the UK's first all-ability "trim trail." The Forestry Commission-managed site earned the gold medal for the best multi-purpose woodland at the 2008 Devon County Show, an achievement that forester Jimmy Mann, 56, is very proud of. "Forestry now has a whole new agenda - it used to be just about harvesting a crop, but we can deliver so much more than timber from woodland today," he said. Jimmy is Area Forester for North Devon and his team of three (including one part-time recreation ranger) manage 1,600 hectares of woodland. Wistlandpound's 40 hectares is a very small part of their remit, but the project punches above its weight by challenging the team with groundbreaking design and objectives, says Jimmy, who has worked in forestry for 39 years. "It has definitely forced us to think outside the box more than normal and we are all very proud to get the recognition. It's not just about opening up the woodland, it's about providing quality access to everyone and there's also the wildlife conservation that we have to manage. I like to think we have maximised the potential of this woodland." The Forestry Commission is committed to providing more access to woodland for leisure pursuits and enjoyment of the countryside and wildlife. Other projects in Devon include Haldon Forest Park, which has opened up 3,500 acres of woodland free to the public complete with walking, cycling and all ability trails. "Even though I say so myself, it does look extremely good and I'd encourage anyone who's in the area to come and enjoy the trail as there is something for everyone," said Jimmy For more information visit http://www.forestry.gov.uk/website/recreation.nsf/LUWebDocsByKey/EnglandDevonNoForestWistlandpound