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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 2014

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31 Oct 2014

From Strength to Strength: Lex Autolease and The National Forest

The long-standing partnership between Lex Autolease and the National Forest Company (NFC) is about to enter an exciting new phase. The UK's largest fleet funding and management specialist, Lex Autolease has worked closely with the NFC since 2006 and has now agreed to extend the partnership until 2016.

13 Oct 2014

Demand for Grown in Britain Timber Increases

The National Forest Company welcomes Grown in Britain Week. Grown in Britain brings together everyone who values our forests, woods and trees and the products we can make from the wood they produce.

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29 Nov 2014

National Forest Adventure Farm

Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire

Enjoy a day of adventure whatever the weather! Feed the animals, explore the Funfield, take a tractor and trailer ride, have fun in the Playbarn. Navigate the huge 10-acre Maize Maze during summer.

01 Dec 2014

Donington le Heath Manor House

Coalville, Leicestershire

Visit this lovely 13thCentury manor house and enjoy the 17thCentury garden, exciting living history and hands-on events, and find out more about living in Medieval, Tudor and Stuart times. Assistance dogs only.

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31 Oct 2014

Audrey Vaughan - volunteer at Hicks Lodge Cycle Centre

"I was somewhere I'd never been before. I thought: I'm getting wet, I'm getting cold - I'm enjoying myself!"

29 Oct 2014

Calke Explore!

Calke Explore! at the National Trust’s Calke Abbey proved to be a big hit this summer. The play space was a new woodland experience designed to get visitors outdoors and closer to nature.

Find more: Blog