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Managing our forests

view of walking trail and mountains beyond at Whinlatter Forest

We are responsible for managing the Forestry Commission's forests and work to support woodland management in the region.

Forestry Commission forests are public forests open to access on foot, bicycle and horseback. We aim to manage them in the best public interest, creating and sustaining forests and woodlands which are attractive as well as productive, useful to the community and pleasant places for people to visit, rich in wildlife, both plant and animal, and where the natural and cultural heritage is safely conserved. We try to do this as efficiently as possible, generating sufficient income to pay for these activities. By far the largest forest in the North of England is Kielder Forest, an exemplar of UK sustainable forest management.

For woodland owners and managers we offer advice and support through the England Woodland Grant Scheme. More widely, we work in partnership with a range of national, regional and local bodies to promote and secure the benefits which woodlands offer to the region. These include a place for recreation, a place to observe wildlife, a source of woodland products and a contribution to the landscape.

Public Forest Estate in the North of England

The main contiguous forest area, Kielder Forest Park is the largest forest in England and one of the largest man-made forests in Europe.  It covers an area of 60,000 hectares and comprises the forests of Redesdale, Kielder, Falstone, Wark, Kershope and Spadeadam. Together, these form Kielder Forest Park, straddling the Northumberland-Cumbria boundary and lying between the Scottish border and Hadrian’s Wall.

The Forestry Commission, North England Forest District, also manages some 30 separate woodlands in north east England including Wooler Common, Hepburn, Thrunton, Harbottle, Harwood and Slaley in Northumberland, as well as Chopwell Wood in Tyne and Wear and Hamsterley in County Durham. In Cumbria, there are several major forests, including Grizedale, Whinlatter, The Dodd and woodlands in Ennerdale. Finally, the district encompasses parts of North Lancashire, namely Gisburn Forest.

Aims of management

Our management aims to create and sustain forests and woodlands which are attractive as well as productive, useful to the community and pleasant places for people to visit, rich in wildlife, both plant and animal, and where the natural and cultural heritage is safely conserved. It also aims to generate sufficient income to pay for these activities and provide a financial return on investment. The forests are managed within the context of Forestry Commission England's Corporate Plan, and in accordance with the UK Woodland Assurance Standard.

If you have any queries or require any further information about the public forest estate in North England, please feel free to email our team.