Back in 1973 the country was on the brink of a three day working, Britain joined the EEC, and a catchy song was inviting people to Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree. Meanwhile, someone had the bright idea of building a spectacular 12 mile public road through the heart of Kielder Water & Forest Park!
On 11 May the Forestry Commission will mark the 40th anniversary of the opening of iconic Kielder Forest Drive – the longest public forest road of its kind in England. Scores of antique vehicles from the bygone days of motoring will hit the trail as part of the annual Kielder Vintage and Classic Vehicle Show and if you own car, motorbike or van from yesteryear you are being invited to join in.
The road connects Kielder village with Blakehopeburnhaugh, supposedly the longest place name in England, cresting at over 1500 feet and traversing a wild landscape, the haunt of wild goats, deer and birds of prey. Hardy Forestry Commission workers took many months to build the route and which provided unprecedented access to one of northern Europe's largest man-made forests. Officially opened by Lord Ridley, the first toll ticket issued cost 30p.
Alex MacLennan, Forestry Commission Recreation and Public Affairs Manager for North East England, said:
"There are few more spectacular routes to get away from it all and indulge in the joys of motoring so we would like as many people as possible to take part. The forest drive rally will be one of the highlights of a vintage weekend at Kielder. Last year over 100 vehicles from motorbikes, to tractors, cars and commercial vans turned up at the main event at Kielder Castle serving up a fabulously colourful scene. It seems that for all the comforts and gadgets of modern vehicles, interest in the simpler but more distinctive machines of the past is on the rise."
If you want take part in the circular anniversary drive or the main Kielder Castle rally which takes place on 12 May please contact Wesley Turnbull on 07800 853475.
Note to Editor
1. The forest drive is currently closed for the winter and re-opens on 4 May. The toll fee is £3 with the money raised helping maintain and repair the road.
2. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. For more visit www.forestry.gov.uk/NorthEastEngland
3. Media calls to Richard Darn on 0775 367 0038.