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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.


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.

08 Oct 2014

New opportunity for people in Leicestershire to help create The National Forest

A new woodland is about to be created in The National Forest and the National Forest Company is hoping the people of Leicester and Leicestershire will get involved and help it take shape.

Find more articles: News



25 Oct 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 Oct 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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01 Sep 2014

The National Forest Wood Fair in the rain

It was a blessing it hadnít rained in the night. But 6am arrived and the first spots started. I bravely tweeted ďCome and walk the National Forest Way in the dry!Ē - referring to the miniature version of the route we had laid out in the shelter of our marquee - and set off to the site.

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.

Find more: Blog