Forestry Commission Consultation Hub

The Forestry Commission is at the heart of the progress being made in protecting, improving and expanding our woodlands and forests, and enhancing local communities and economy.

Here you will find the latest topics that the Forestry Commission is seeking views on - have your say!

Open Consultations

  • Cannock Chase Forest Plan 2024 Consultation

    Forest Plans define the long term vision for a woodland or a collection of woodlands and set out how management will move towards achieving this vision over the next ten years. We would like to invite you or your organisation to leave some feedback on our proposed revision to the Forest Plan...

    Closes 30 April 2024

  • Picklescott woodland creation - early engagement

    Forestry England manages and cares for the nation’s woods and forests. As England’s largest land manager, we shape landscapes and   enhance   forests for people to enjoy, wildlife to flourish and businesses to grow.   Forestry England are working on designs for a new woodland on...

    Closes 6 May 2024

  • Market Rasen Woodlands Forest Plan 2024 Consultation

    We would like to invite feedback on the proposed Market Rasen Woodlands Forest Plan. The Market Rasen Woodlands Forest Plan area totals 960.1ha and comprises the woods of Osgodby, Usselby, Middle Rasen, Walesby Moor, Walesby, Willingham, Dog Kennel, Legsby, Eleanor and Lynwode. These...

    Closes 8 May 2024

Closed Consultations

  • Haverah woodland creation - early engagement

    Forestry England manages and cares for the nation’s woods and forests. As England’s largest land manager, we shape landscapes and   enhance   forests for people to enjoy, wildlife to flourish and businesses to grow.   Forestry England are working on designs for a new woodland on...

    Closed 21 April 2024

  • East Worth woodland creation - early engagement

    Forestry England manages and cares for the nation’s woods and forests. As England’s largest land manager, we shape landscapes and   enhance   forests for people to enjoy, wildlife to flourish and businesses to grow.   Forestry England are working on designs for a new woodland on...

    Closed 19 April 2024

  • Burriott woodland creation - early engagement

    Forestry England manages and cares for the nation’s woods and forests. As England’s largest land manager, we shape landscapes and   enhance   forests for people to enjoy, wildlife to flourish and businesses to grow.   Forestry England are working on designs for a new woodland on...

    Closed 19 April 2024

  • Quoditch woodland creation - early engagement

    Forestry England manages and cares for the nation’s woods and forests. As England’s largest land manager, we shape landscapes and   enhance   forests for people to enjoy, wildlife to flourish and businesses to grow.   Forestry England are working on designs for a new woodland on...

    Closed 3 April 2024

  • Warwickshire Woodlands Forest Plan

    The Forest Plan for Forestry England's Warwickshire Woodlands (Oversley Wood, May's Wood, Hay Wood and Weston Waverley Woods), is due for renewal. Forest Plans define our long-term vision for a woodland or a collection of woodlands, and set out how our management will move towards...

    Closed 31 March 2024

We Asked, You Said, We Did

Here are some of the issues we have consulted on and their outcomes. See all outcomes

We asked

The external consultation for the Wyre Outliers Forest Plan was open for five weeks in December 2023 / January 2024. Posters were put up within all four woodlands, directing people to an online survey. In addition, emails were sent specifically to known stakeholder organisations and individuals who we felt have an interest in how the forest is managed.

You said

We had 17 responses to our consultation survey for the Wyre Outliers Forest Plan, and respondents were a combination of NGOs, neighbours, other government departments, community groups and forest users/members of the public.

We did

When asked to score a range of interests in terms of their importance, the highest rated interests were biodiversity & woodland ecology (15 responses rating this interest as “very important” or important”), climate change (13 responses rating this interest as “very important” or important”), and forest protection (13 responses rating this interest as “very important” or important”). Communities and people, and recreation and access, were also highly scoring interests.

In answer to the question “How well does the Forest Plan address your needs and interests, or those of your organisation?”, 4 respondents said “very well”, 6 said “well” and 5 said “OK”. No respondents felt the plan “poorly” or “very poorly” addressed their needs and interests.

 

There were plenty of positive comments about the Forest Plan, which are appreciated:

“It meets my needs and addresses my concerns.”

“the plan meets my needs here and supports the SSSI.”

Forestry England response: Thank you, this is great to hear! We are happy that you feel the new Forest Plan addresses your needs and interests.

“I am delighted that Coppicing will continue and that the pollarded limes are recognised for their uniqueness.”

Forestry England response: Shrawley Wood is one of the largest small-leaved lime coppice woodlands in the country, and a significant proportion of the woodland is designated as a SSSI. Coppicing will continue to be an important and predominant form of management here in this unique woodland into the future.

“We welcome the attention given to the historic environment”

Forestry England response: We appreciate these comments, and we thank Historic England for their advice and involvement during the writing of the Scheduled Monument management plan for Arley Wood Camp.

“The work suggested surrounding the Kinver seed orchard on the Highgate Common SSSI is a positive move in opening up the area, and restoring heathland where it once was. FE and SWT will work closely together to ensure this plan improves the biodiversity of the site whilst maintaining a working seed orchard.”

Forestry England response: We appreciate the feedback on our proposals for Kinver at Highgate Common, and we look forward to working alongside Staffordshire Wildlife Trust at Kinver throughout this Forest Plan period.

 

Some people also expressed concerns about particular aspects of the plan, such as deer control:

“What is the plan with regards to deer control as with all deer species in the UK on the increase if there are high numbers of deer in the area, natural regeneration will be affected”

“If you cannot complete a deer fence around the FC part of Shrawley Wood, please intensify appropriate and sustainable deer management”

“The muntjac are becoming a problem too. They are multiplying and consequently moving out into the surrounding area”

Forestry England’s response: The Wildlife Ranger and other members of the Wyre beat team monitor the impact of deer damage at Shrawley Wood by carrying out deer impact surveys. Deer control isn’t carried out as standard practice at Shrawley, but in instances where deer impact surveys show that damage caused by deer browsing has increased and has become detrimental to woodland regeneration or ground flora growth, then the beat team will implement deer control.

And also parking:

“For Shrawley Wood there is no adequate parking provided leading to illicit parking in dangerous places.”

“Public access to the woods (at Shrawley) is a huge problem. Anyone who cannot walk to the wood but has to drive will  have a real problem. Where to park?”

Forestry England’s response: We appreciate that visiting Shrawley Wood by car is challenging due to a lack of parking. Any instances of visitors leaving their cars parked in unsafe or impractical locations that result in compromised safety or inconvenience are unacceptable. Unfortunately, the creation of a parking area at Shrawley is outside the scope of this plan. In order to create an area for parking, an area of ancient small-leaved lime woodland would need to be felled. In addition, our right of access into Shrawley is for forestry work only and does not permit public vehicle access.

We asked

Sallowvallets Forest Plan – external consultation – Winter 2023

We asked, you said, we did…

The external consultation for the Sallowvallets Forest Plan was open for six weeks in November / December 2023. We put posters at the entrances to the wood and at the cycle centre, directing people to an online survey. We also sent emails to known stakeholders, held a drop-in event on a Saturday at the end of November, and posted details of the consultation on social media.

You said

The majority of the 28 respondents to the survey described themselves as ‘local’, and included walkers, mountain bikers and representatives of the parish council. Three-quarters of them said that this was the first time they had engaged with one of our Forest Plan consultations, and a similar proportion said that their understanding of our management of the Forest of Dean had increased as a result of their participation.

The Sallowvallets Forest Plan will contribute to the delivery of the larger-scale ‘Our Shared Forest’ (OSF) management plan for the Forest of Dean. In the consultation, respondents were asked to score the importance of each of OSF’s land management principles. ‘Ensuring that the right tree is planted in the right place for the right reason’ was deemed to be the most important principle overall, closely followed by ‘reducing the spread and impact of pests and diseases’.

We also asked people to score how well the plan addresses each of the OSF principles and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with 87% of responses scoring OK, well or very well.

We did

Further encouraging comments included:

  • “This looks like a very well thought out plan respecting many of the most important aspects of this area.”
  • “I am sure this was a very difficult balancing act - well done!”
  • “Having looked at the plan in some detail it seems eminently sensible and a common sense approach.”

Forestry England’s response:

    • Thank you – it’s very rewarding for us to receive such positive feedback! Sallowvallets is a complex area to manage, and through the Forest Plan, we will ensure that it continues to deliver benefits for people, nature and the economy.

 

  • Some people expressed concerns about the level of mountain biking in Sallowvallets, while others wanted more information about how the cycling offer will be expanded in the future!

Forestry England’s response:

    • With some of the most popular mountain biking trails in the country, Sallowvallets attracts large numbers of cyclists, and it is always our intention to balance their needs with the needs of other forest users and wildlife. However, the Forest Plan is not the place to expand on our future recreation plans in detail – it is much more focused on the management of the trees and the landscape.
    • While the recreation offer in Sallowvallets has a high emphasis on mountain biking, there are extensive areas, both within the block and in neighbouring blocks, that have no cycle trails and are quieter and possibly more appealing to other forest users.

 

  • One person was disappointed to see trees felled into watercourses.

Forestry England’s response:

    • Felling healthy trees can sometimes seem counterproductive, but it’s always part of a carefully considered long-term plan for the benefit of the forest and its wildlife and people. Felling small numbers of trees into streams in Sallowvallets means that we can create fantastic wet woodland habitat, as well as slowing the flow of water, which reduces flood risk further downstream.

 

We asked

The external consultation for the Lydford Forest Plan was open for six weeks in September/October 2023. Posters were put up at the entrances to the woods, directing people to an online survey. In addition, emails were sent specifically to organisations and individuals who we felt have an interest in how the forest is managed e.g. parish councils, local interest groups.

You said

The majority of the 15 respondents to the survey describe themselves as forest users and neighbours, but there were also comments from Devon County Council and Butterfly Conservation.

We did

Respondents scored functions of the forest plan in terms of importance to them / their organisation. Biodiversity, climate change, recreational access and forest protection were deemed to be the most significant, with all respondents scoring them as either ‘important’ or ‘very important’. 14 of the 15 respondents said that the forest plan addresses their needs and interests (or those of their organisation) ‘very well’, ‘well’ or ‘ok’, with plenty of positive feedback including:

“pretty balanced and gives a long term plan for the area”

Forestry England’s response: Thank you! A great deal of time has been spent balancing objectives for wildlife, people, climate and the economy to ensure Lydford forest is managed sustainably now and in the future.

“No disagreements with any aspect of the plan. Great to see that you have incorporated grazing into the plan, including assessments of the potential to implement grazing.”

Forestry England’s response: Grazing is something we will be considering in coming years as a tool to assist us in meeting our objectives, particularly those for open space management and heritage conservation. We look forward to working with partners on this in the future.

“I have noticed that since there are less pine copses and more leaf trees along the track, the forest has come alive l with bird song, which is most enjoyable and ensures that the world is still a good place to be. -  Long may it continue.”

Forestry England’s response: All types of woodland have wildlife value, but we are pleased with the direction of change at Lydford, and pleased to hear how important our sites are for visitors.

“It is particularly good to see the careful attention given to the many features of archaeological significance”

Forestry England’s response: Lydford Forest is an important site for archaeology, and we continue to work with Historic England to manage the heritage features within the woods to safeguard them for future generations.

 

 

Some people also expressed concerns that the plan was not thorough enough on certain topics. These include:

“It is disappointing to see the commentary about failing to achieve the objective of conserving heathland fragments at Burley Wood during the last Forest Plan period.  Whilst this might be the pragmatic approach, it would be a great shame for there to be no attempt to maintain some ongoing representation of this 'heathy' character within parts of the woodland setting at Burley Down, even if confined to appropriate ongoing management of some of the rides and small glades.”

 

Forestry England’s response: During forest operational planning, areas of heathland are recognised and avoided so that they may continue to establish at Burley Down. Management techniques to restore heathland remnants will also be considered as part of this planning process. Compensatory open space will be created along the southern end of Lydford forest, where it will play a greater role in recovering butterfly species and linking up to surrounding open space.

 

“The ancient hill fort that has been damaged by a forest road needs more respect.”

Forestry England’s response: We acknowledge that past management of the hillfort has not been as careful as it is today. During the forest planning process and when writing our scheduled monument plans, we work closely with Historic England to ensure that our operations are not detrimental to heritage features, and that they are kept in favourable condition. Features (both scheduled and unscheduled) are identified during operational site planning and avoided during harvesting works.

 

“We believe that Forestry England is funded by taxpayers and so the aftermath of managing woodlands should include restoration or protection of pathways for continued use by the public.”

We work hard to support public access by reinstating forest roads and public rights of way as quickly as possible after forestry operations. Sometimes, this might be delayed by poor weather, but will be done as soon as conditions allow. Forestry England receives very little government funding and generates more than 80% of its own income.

“After felling and removal of viable timber the remaining branches and off cuts as well as deeply gouged mud filled tacks prevent any access to woodlands. Sometimes the debris is roughly piled into huge mounds and left to rot down/provide a habitat for fauna(?) but this simply creates space for blackberry to make the area totally impenetrable to the public.”

Forestry England’s response: We acknowledge that the forest looks very different after harvesting than it did before, and it will continue to change as felled areas regenerate. Deadwood and decaying vegetation are critical parts of a woodland ecosystem that are often missing due to previous management prescriptions, and are beneficial for returning nutrients to the soil and providing niches for specialist animals and fungi. Brambles are also an important food source for many species including butterflies and birds.

Other comments relating to the placement of dog waste bins and benches, signage, bicycle access and car park maintenance have been passed on to the local forest management teams. These concerns were considered outside of the scope of the Forest Plan, which is intended to set out land management objectives to ensure forest resilience and sustainability into the future.