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Tree growing amongst grassland and new woodland

The National Forest Company was established in April 1995 and is responsible, through partnership working, for the delivery of the Government-approved National Forest Strategy.

The Company is limited by guarantee and its founder members were the then Secretary of State for the Environment and the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

The Company receives funding to assist in the delivery of the National Forest Strategy from its sponsor department, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Grant in aid for 2012-13 has been set at 2.855m.

Creating a Forest for the Nation - From Idea to Achievement

The great transformation all began on a cold winter's day in 1990 when an inaugural Forest site was planted with trees with help of the Government Minister and hundreds of local school children. With support from the Government, a small team of staff was recruited by the Countryside Commission to take the great idea forward. During the following summer, and in a tiny village at the heart of the Midlands, the National Forest Development Team began its work.

The job was to plan the Forest's creation. Led by Susan Bell, the Team had three years to prepare a complex Forest Strategy with a Business Plan for its achievement, put together proposals for its future management and administration, win widespread public support for its vision and keep involvement in the Forest alive when the ideas were being drawn up.

The Strategy described the vision for the Forest and how all the various land uses would fit together. It underwent a wide-ranging public consultation exercise and a strategic environmental assessment. It was widely agreed and endorsed by Government in 1994.

During the development period it had quickly become clear that attractive incentives were going to be needed if the wide range of potential partners were to be drawn into the Forest's creation. These new resources were won and in April 1995, the Government announced the establishment of The National Forest Company.

This small Company, with a complement of 16 full-time equivalents and a 7-strong Board of Non-Executive Directors, is responsible for overseeing the Forest's creation. It does so in partnership with a wide range of public, private and voluntary sector organisations. In addition to being a company limited by guarantee it is also a Non-Departmental Public Body sponsored by Defra. It works closely with the National Forest Charitable Trust (formerly the Heart of the National Forest Foundation), to maximise income for the Forest.

First and foremost it is the job of the Company to achieve the implementation of the National Forest Strategy which has stood the test of time as the vision for the Forest, Good progress was made against the original Forest Strategy and a second 10 year strategy covering 2004 2014 was endorsed by Government and launched by the Minister in March 2004. This sets out how the Forest is being further developed and builds upon the excellent start made to date.

The Achievements Continue

Over 8 million trees have already been planted with woodland cover across the Forest area increasing from around 6% to 19.5% cover. Thousands of hectares of farmland have been converted to woods and many former derelict coalfield land and mineral workings made green. Already, the growing Forest has created new jobs, especially those linked with new wood related businesses and at visitor attractions as part of a rapidly growing tourism sector.

Annual Report 2015


06 Oct 2015

Recruitment Agency Eursap Signs up to Support The National Forest

The National Forest Company is delighted to announce a new partnership with IT recruitment agency, Eursap.

02 Oct 2015

Would You Like to Help Create a Forest?

The National Forest invites everyone to collect acorns this autumn and be part of the biggest, boldest environmental project in the country: Grow a Tree from Seed for The National Forest!

Find more articles: News

09 Oct 2015

Swadlincote Ski & Snowboard Centre

Swadlincote, Derbyshire

Family fun Sno-Tubing, Creta Run Toboggan and Viper Slide. We also offer Ski and Snowboard lessons. The Alpine Lodge is available daily for snacks as well as for private hire.

10 Oct 2015

Ashby de la Zouch Castle

Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire

Tour the impressive ruins of this grand medieval manor house set in extensive grounds. Explore the secret kitchen tunnel used during the siege, climb the 24 metre high Hastings Tower and enjoy superb views over the surrounding countryside.

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29 May 2015

Green business is good business

New CEO at the National Forest Company, John Everitt discusses how The National Forest pioneered the use of the environment at a landscape scale to lead social and economic regeneration, and now is the time to take the business community on a similar journey. "We can demonstrate that the Forest can also be an exemplary business development project, investing in our natural capital while improving the local economy."

24 Apr 2015

Spring and other seasonal delights

One of our Admin Officers, Carla, has been holed up at home, having broken her wrist a while ago. She's been musing on the seasons through her sitting room window...

Find more: Blog