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All about the Forest

The National Forest road sign

Over twenty years ago, visionary leaders made the decision to create a new, large, forested area in England, to show all the many benefits that come from woodland near where people live and work. The area in the Midlands which came to be known as The National Forest was chosen in part because the woodland cover was very low (about 6%). There was also a great need for regeneration after the end of mining and, importantly, incredible public support for the idea.

Since then, the 200 square miles of The National Forest have been transformed through the planting of millions of trees (8m by October 2012) and the creation of many other valuable habitats. It boasts many new attractions and forest-based activities and has stimulated many woodland-linked businesses. Whilst more than 200,000 people live in the Forest, it is also within just 90 minutes' journey time for about 10 million people and is open to all, with an increasing network of trails and recreational opportunities.

Forest cover, which includes open spaces, water and other habitats, is nudging 20% in 2012. The National Forest depends on a wide range of partners including many landowners, who retain their land whilst planting all or some of it to form part of the Forest. The original idea, of blending new and maturing woodland within a wide variety of landscapes, has stood the test of time.

The exciting agenda now is to continue to plant the right woods in the right place, to make the most of what has been created and for more people to enjoy and love the Forest. Soon, many of the early woodlands will be ready for first thinnings. Foresters and woodland owners enjoy this challenging phase, as bold decision-making, sharp tools and action are needed to steer the woodland's development. The effect can be a dramatic step-change - when the wood begins to look less like lines of trees and more like what we imagine a wood to be. We want to make sure this happens and that the woods grow to healthy maturity.

With support from Central Government, (Defra), The National Forest is seen as a national exemplar of this kind of multipurpose forestry on a large, landscape, scale. It has an increasing profile nationally and internationally. The National Forest Company leads the creation of The National Forest and as well as delivering day-to-day its small team is committed to research and evidence on the progress of the Forest.


Nature Conservation

Bluebells amoungst the grass at an outwoods site

The development of The National Forest offers unprecedented opportunities to create and enhance a wide range of wildlife habitats.

Locking up our Carbon

Locking up our Carbon

Helping create The National Forest is one of the many steps you could take towards offsetting the effects of climate change.


11 Jul 2014

The National Forest launches new online marketplace for wood products and services

The National Forest Company has launched a new online Marketplace to help promote timber products and services within and around The National Forest.

08 Jul 2014

National Forest Wood Fair tickets now on sale

Tickets for this yearís National Forest Wood Fair are now on sale: buy in advance and save 20% of the admission charge on the day.

Find more articles: News



26 Jul 2014

National Memorial Arboretum

Alrewas, Staffordshire

The National Memorial Arboretum is the UK's year-round Centre of Remembrance; a spiritually uplifting place which honours the fallen, recognises service and sacrifice, and fosters pride in our country. The Arboretum is part of The Royal British Legion family of charities.

26 Jul 2014

Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre

Nuneaton, Warwickshire

22ndAugust 1485 a battle rages, King Richard III is defeated, Henry is crowned and the Tudor dynasty is born. Visit the award-winning exhibition and follow the King into battle, walk the Bosworth trail or simply enjoy a coffee in the medieval Tithe Barn restaurant.

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14 May 2014

May is a beautiful time to walk the newest long distance trail in England!

I finally finished walking the trail last weekend. As Media Relations Officer I like to know what Iím talking about and I wanted to get a feel for the trail as a whole.

14 Mar 2014

The sound of chainsaws

Out and about in The National Forest at the weekend? If youíre headed for your local woodland, donít panic if you hear the sound of chainsaws!

Find more: Blog