These three woodlands make up an area of mixed aged trees, hedgerows, a pool and open space and are the perfect place for a walk, a run or some peace and fresh air. Tunnel Woods is a community woodland within The National Forest, owned by the Forestry Commission and opened for public access since 2003. It is made up of 34 hectares of opencast land, which was restored for agriculture and has now been planted with native tree species such as oak, ash and birch. This includes two sites planted by school children from across the area, as part of the Woodland Trust Tree For All Project.
Swainspark Wood is approximately 10 hectares and is an established woodland with trees that are 20-50 years old. The wood has a history of workings for clay and coal.
Gresley Wood was planted in 1996/97 and has been owned by the Forestry Commission since 2009. It is a 42 hectare site with a history of farming and opencast mining. It hosts one of the National Forest Company / Forestry Commission demonstration woodland plots, which were planted to test oak and ash growth with nurse species at different spacing and to test natural colonisation. The Conkers Circuit route passes through Gresley Woods. In 2013 a joint project between the Forestry Commission and Paths for Communities extended the surfaced path by 3km linking the established Conkers Circuit through Tunnel Woods to the town of Church Gresley.
The National Forest is an area of 200 square miles across the 3 counties of Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire, where massive woodland creation and countryside tranformation is being carried out. The forest is being expanded, with the aim of linking the ancient Forests of Charnwood and Needwood, for the benefit of local communities and wildlife.
New woodlands will complement ancient woodland, meadows, lakes and rivers, parks, towns and other visitor attractions to create a new forest for the nation.
The National Forest EXPLORE leaflet, giving a map of where the Forestry Commission sites are in the area, is available here to download as a pdf.