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Knowle Hill: how forest management can support diversification

Find out how Michael Stanton's vision has transformed unproductive arable land into a vibrant equestrian centre within the National Forest. Here, forestry management and horse riding intertwine to create a dynamic and thriving environment. 

19 Apr 2024

In the year 2000, Knowle Hill Farm saw a significant change. What was once predominantly grass land, not particularly suited for farming, found a new purpose. Michael Stanton recognized the opportunity to utilise his land for something more sustainable and diverse. It was around this time that he began planting woodlands, becoming one of the earliest private landowners to do so in the National Forest. Hear how the capital injection from the forestry project allowed for diversification and a flourishing riding school.  

Walking through the woods, hearing the birdsong, and seeing the animals thrive, Michael's vision has come to life. Knowle Hill Farm stands as a testament to what can be achieved with careful planning, support from the National Forest team, and a deep appreciation for the land. As the forest expands and more animals find a home, Knowle Hill Farm remains a perfect example of success within the National Forest. 

With our efficient and knowledgeable support, tree planting and conservation efforts can become a reality. Over the past 30 years, the National Forest has worked with landowners like Michael, increasing forest cover from 6% to more than 22%. 

If you’ve been inspired by Michael’s story and want to look at diversification on your own farm, then get in touch with our forestry team now and let’s start planning your future sustainability. 

So far, we have planted 9 million trees in the National Forest. If you want to part of growing a greener future but don’t own land, you can still support this work by making a donation or helping us create more woodlands by dedicating a tree.

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