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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.


29 Jan 2016

Give the One You Love a Tree this Valentine's Day

Looking for something different to give your loved one this Valentine's Day? Show your love through the beauty, strength and longevity of a tree: give a Plant a Tree in The National Forest.

18 Jan 2016

Primo IT signs up to support The National Forest

The National Forest Company is delighted to welcome local company Primo IT as its newest supporter.

Find more articles: News



12 Feb 2016

Brewhouse Arts Centre

Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire

The Brewhouse Arts Centre has a theatre with a seating capacity of 233 with a range of productions being staged from amateur dramatics to professional productions. There is a range of activities on offer within the centre ranging from Dance to Drama to Visual Arts Workshops. There are also three exhibition spaces offering a variety of work on display.

12 Feb 2016

Melbourne Assembly Rooms

Melbourne, Derbyshire

Concert and Sport Venue.

Find more: Events

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02 Dec 2015

Dedicate a woodland grove

This is a new venture for us: offering the chance for supporters to dedicate a woodland grove in memory of a loved one.

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. Now it is time to take the business community on a similar journey, to demonstrate that the Forest can also be an exemplary business development project, investing in out natural capital while improving the local economy.

Find more: Blog