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England's largest new forest leads the way in grant aid for woodlands

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child planting tree at Heartwoods

The Forestry Commission in the East of England has awarded one of its most substantial English Woodland Grant Scheme contracts for a 1.3 million, which will create the largest new native woodland in England, near St Albans in Hertfordshire.

The woodland, called Heartwood Forest, is a Woodland Trust project. Nearly 60,000 trees are going to be planted to create 345 hectares of publicly accessible woodland. The first trees were planted in a public planting event that took place at the end of November last year. It will take at least the next ten years to establish the woodland, which will also include permissive paths, open areas and bridleways.

Any landowner in England who wishes to take advantage of the Forestry Commission’s English Woodland Grant Scheme to plant new woodlands can receive up to 3800 per hectare. All types of land can be suitable, not just in rural areas but on former industrial land, too, where planting can help to restore a damaged landscape.

Emma Brearley, Forestry Commission Woodland Officer for Hertfordshire, says:

“Now is an ideal time to start planning ahead for planting next winter. The scheme is now ready for new applications and is open until 30 September. We are particularly keen to help create woodlands that will benefit people and wildlife.”

The Woodland Creation Grant - the grant that is supporting Heartwood Forest - is competitive and those presenting schemes that offer the greatest public benefits are most likely to succeed in attracting grant. Anyone interested in making an application should contact the Forestry Commission by visiting our website on

1. Forestry Commission England is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. For further information visit

2. A portfolio of grants managed by the Forestry Commission is available, to help promote the stewardship of existing woodlands and the creation of new woodlands, and increase the public benefits. For more information, visit