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Another Successful Year Brings More Forest for the National Forest Company

Tuesday, 11th September 2007

Another Successful Year Brings More Forest for the National Forest Company

The National Forest Company publishes its Annual Report for the year ended 31 March 2007 this week. The Report records another successful year: even in a challenging year of rising land prices the Company met all of its key objectives and created 351 hectares (over 860 acres) of new woodland throughout The National Forest.

This landmark year saw the planting of the Forest’s 7 millionth tree, and the achievement of 17.5% woodland cover. This brings the Forest half way to the ultimate aspiration of woodland covering about a third of its 200 square miles.

Dinah Nichols, National Forest Company Chair, said: “The map of the Forest now shows a pattern of significant landscape change with woodlands becoming increasingly interconnected. This brings twofold benefits – visitors to the Forest have an increasing range and variety of walks to enjoy but, thanks to careful design, biodiversity is also improving.”

The Report highlights the wider economic and social impact of the Forest now that it is maturing. Two major projects indicate that the Forest has come of age as a significant place to visit: the new Youth Hostel that will open later this year and the Visitor Infrastructure Project, which will improve information and access at key entry points to the Forest. This will help visitors make the most of its attractions and convey to them a sense of its quality and scale.

The success of the second National Forest Wood Fair is also featured in the Report, with double the number of exhibitors from the previous year. On show was a huge range of wood products, crafts and woodland machinery, showing that a woodland economy, so necessary for the long-term sustainability of the Forest, is now becoming established.

The year saw the completion of the heritage project, LANDshapes, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Its legacy includes six fine oak columns placed across the distinct landscapes of the Forest and the publication of the first comprehensive account of the Forest’s heritage.

A key theme for the Company has been to focus increasingly on drawing more people into the many opportunities the Forest presents. Tree planting, arts and education programmes have been well supported as illustrated by nearly 38,000 children benefiting from environmental education visits to the Forest.

The work of the National Forest Company in creating the Forest is underpinned by funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) but with significant support also coming from the Forestry Commission, emda, Leicestershire County Council plus District Councils, business sponsors and other partners including the Heart of the National Forest Foundation.

The Report is available at

Media contacts: Mike Dewsnap, Chief Officer, Corporate Services or Carol Rowntree Jones, Media Relations Officer, National Forest Company on 01283 551211. For more information on The National Forest visit