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Caring for Britain’s forests

 

People care about Britain’s forests. From climbing trees as children to the crunch of leaves on an autumn day, our connection to trees is part of our lives and that’s why our forests matter so much. At Forest Holidays, the connection runs deep – and we want to share the wellbeing benefits of woodland. To do that, we must care for the forest and help it to thrive. We do this by supporting our many partners who are specialists in forestry and wildlife, including Forestry England, Forestry and Land Scotland and Natural Resources Wales.

Our partnership with Forestry England, Forestry and Land Scotland, and Natural Resources Wales

Our locations occupy a tiny part of the publicly owned forests in the UK, just 0.02%. The forests are managed by Forestry England, Forestry and Land Scotland, and Natural Resources Wales and our partnership with them stretches back 45 years. This long-standing relationship has allowed us not only to nurture our small corners of the forest but also to support them in their roles as custodians of the wider public forest.

Our partnership was born out of the Forestry Commission’s vision to maintain the forests as special places for nature, for people to enjoy and for businesses to thrive. Today we are one of hundreds of other businesses that support the forest in practical ways and with investment. This means the forests will always be there for people to enjoy.

What 'caring for Britain’s forests' means to Forest Holidays

Our commitment to caring for Britain’s forests starts with our immediate environment and extends to the wider forest, helping to support the work of Forestry England, Forestry and Land Scotland, and Natural Resources Wales. We care for the forest environment for today and we will manage it so that it thrives into the future.

  • We have a long-term biodiversity enhancement strategy
    This aims to make a positive contribution to biodiversity, wildlife habitats and people’s enjoyment at each of our locations

  • We provide a long-term, sustainable source of funding
    This helps Forestry England, Forestry and Land Scotland and Natural Resources Wales to carry out their responsibilities.

  • We support projects on the wider public forest estate
    Our Conservation Fund is used to support ecological enhancement projects

  • We ensure full public access to our locations
    We don’t own this land; but are privileged to look after it on behalf of everyone. Each of our locations remain in public ownership, are CROW designated and remain open to the public. Local visitors have the freedom to explore and enjoy the forest that is managed on their behalf

  • We contribute to the creation and maintenance of forest trails
    This enables people in and around the local community to enjoy the forest more easily

  • Sustainable funding and collaboration on projects
    We work closely with Forestry England, Forestry and Land Scotland, and Natural Resources Wales as well as other partners such as Wildlife Trusts to provide sustainable funds and collaborate on conservation, monitoring and enhancement projects on the wider forest estate

What is forest management?

It’s perhaps easy to think that nature should just be ‘left alone’ but many forests need to be actively managed to enhance their biodiversity. This is because many of our forests were actually shaped by man's practises over centuries meaning that the ecology they support is dependent on those conditions being sustained. Forest management must take a long view and our commitment spans decades.

The diversification of woodland is a vital element of enhancing biodiversity and wildlife habitats. Among the many methods to support this, trees can be coppiced and thinned so that sunlight can reach the forest floor stimulating natural regeneration, and the mix of new native trees is carefully considered and planned. In addition, a network of well managed rides and glades within a forest provide crucial additional habitat and biodiversity. Alongside ecological management, trails are managed and signposted, and recreational facilities are provided to ensure both people and nature can thrive alongside one another. The income and support we provide helps Forestry England, Forest and Land Scotland, and Natural Resources Wales manage Britain' forests on behalf of us all.

 

Woodland management in action at Blackwood Forest

Since opening in 2013, Forest Holidays has been helping to manage a rich woodland of mixed age and species, through: 

  • Creating rides, glades and woodland enrichment areas
  • Woodland edge augmentation planting
  • Removing conifers, reducing the density of beech plantation and planting native trees to restore the woodland to a semi-natural condition
  • Moving to a traditional coppicing regime
  • Meadow mowing and management to restore these areas to biodiversity rich grassland meadows, creating ideal habitats for reptiles, invertebrates and rare flora, including slow worm, butterflies and greater butterfly orchid chamomile
  • Creating additional dormouse habitats and introducing nest boxes for birds and bats
  • Leaving standing dead wood and creating ‘habitat piles’
  • Ranger-led education activities 


Caring for Britain's forests

Our ancestors shaped our forest landscape, so how are woodlands managed today and why are business partners vital to support the work of Forestry England?

Cutting down trees is a normal part of forestry management. Rachel Giles, National Education Officer for Forestry England, explains why it's important to understand the huge scope of their work.