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The National Forest
(Average user rating: 1 unrated 1/5)

The National Forest is an area of 200 square miles spanning across 3 counties . At present there are 17 Forestry Commission woodlands within The National Forest, comprising of 3 existing woodlands and 14 newly planted sites.

Download our National Forest explore leaflet for a detailed map of all the main forests and their features. More details of each forest can also be found in the left hand column.


There are plenty of forest walks for everybody. Hicks Lodge and Sence Valley offer scenic lakeside walks. At Rosliston, adventure and discovery trails lead you away from the visitor centre to explore the woods. Shellbrook Wood, Seale Wood, Tunnel Woods and Swainspark Woods provide a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle.


Hicks Lodge, The National Forest Cycle Centre, offers 16km of off road cycle trails ranging from family friendly surfaced paths to more technical and challenging mountain biking routes.

Cyclists can also enjoy miles of shared use paths across the forest. At Sence Valley cyclists can take a gentle ride around the lakes and follow the bridle path to Kelham Bridge, a raptor viewing hotspot. At Alistairs, Bignall’s and Jaguar Lount Woods you can follow the surfaced cycle route from the Ferrer’s Centre through all three woodlands taking in the walnut plantings and large open grassland.

Horse riding

A network of public bridle paths cross The National Forest, however riders wishing to complement these can use the purposely designed horse routes at Seale Wood and Bignall’s and Jaguar Lount Woods. Use of these routes is by TROT permit, information and permits can be obtained from TROT,


Fishing is available on two lakes on Forestry Commission sites; Goss Water, at Sence Valley Forest Park and Greenheart Lake, at Rosliston Forestry Centre where fishing is by permit only from the onsite visitor centre.


There are three permanent orienteering courses, Rosliston Forestry Centre, Hicks Lodge and the other at Sence Valley Forest Park. These courses are designed for novices to the sport, but there are additional control points to increase difficulty. For maps and information about the courses, please contact the Cannock Office on 0300 067 4360 or Rosliston Forestry Centre on 01283 563483.

More information about the National Forest

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.


What do other visitors say?

1 Star 1 Star

As a frequent user of Mill Hill wood twice a day. I have noticed that there seems to be a lack of any maintenance to the area, the grass is that long now that it is becoming more and more difficult to walk the dogs . I noticed last week that some one came round and Strimmerd round your sign and benches but failed to cut the grass ,also there are some overhanging trees now that restrict access to one of the paths . In contrast the walk down at Heather Jubilee wood seems to be maintained to a very high standard as I suspect it gets many more visitors . I look forward to your response on this . Thanks Mark

Mark willmott , 2/Aug/2016

Thanks for your feedback Mark. We are aware that mowing at Mill Hill Wood has been delayed this year, this is due to a change in our contractor which unfortunately has occurred when mowing would normally have taken place. This is now resolved and mowing is booked for the next week at Mill Hill and surrounding areas.

Forestry Commission Response

Mill hill wood in ibstock is very over grown with the grass which makes it very unpleasant for dog walking and difficult to pick up their poo. It's a shame it is left to get in this state as it could be such a pretty area.

Anonymous, 17/Jul/2016

Thank you for getting in touch. Mill Hill is due to have pathways mown in the next week. We do leave much of the long grass as wildlife habitat and should your dog mess in the long grass our policy is that this does not need to be picked up. We are aware however that pathways have become overgrown and will be dealing with this shortly.

Forestry Commission Response

Hi Could you tell me if you are able to purchase a Permit to collect dead or fallen wood from local Woods for personal use.iam located in derbyshire.

alfred martin, 13/Feb/2014

Thank you for your enquiry. Unfortunately we no longer issue scavenger licences to collect fallen wood. Dead and decaying woody material is an excellent habitat for invertebrates and its ecological value is now considered too high to allow collection.

Forestry Commission Response

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Last updated: 19th September 2016

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England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.