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

  • Mildenhall Forest Plan 2024-2034

    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 feedback on the proposed Mildenhall forest plan. This online questionnaire...

    Closes 6 July 2024

  • Haughmond and Shawbury Forest Plan

    The Forest Plan for Forestry England's land at Haughmond and Shawbury, 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 achieving this vision over the next ten years. We would...

    Closes 7 July 2024

Closed Consultations

  • Lower Lye Woodland

    Forestry England would like to share with you draft proposals for the proposed new wood near Lower Lye. The plans for the woodland can be viewed in the 'related' documents below.

    Closed 28 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...

    Closed 8 May 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...

    Closed 6 May 2024

  • 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...

    Closed 30 April 2024

  • 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

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 Warwickshire Woodlands Forest Plan was open for five weeks in February / March 2024. Posters were put up at the entrances to the woods, directing people to an online survey.

Forest plans define the long-term vision for our forests and set out how our management will move towards achieving this vision. They focus on the main features of each woodland, in particular the species and structural composition and biodiversity interests, and set out proposals for how we will manage them to increase resilience, productivity and value for wildlife and people in the future. The forest plan makes only a brief reference to our recreation offer.

You said

Who completed the consultation?

More than 300 people responded to the consultation. Of the 260 people who left comments, 205 referenced the car parking situation at Oversley, which was mentioned briefly in the forest plan, but not discussed in detail because that is not the focus of the Forest Plan. 

Most respondents described themselves as forest users, neighbours or local residents. In addition, the survey was completed by 3 of our wonderful volunteers, Alcester Town Council, Baddesley Clinton Parish Council, the Oversley Green Residents Association, plus 33 people who declared that they had “no connection” to the forest.

 

Functions of the forest plan

Respondents scored functions of the forest plan in terms of importance to them / their organisation. Recreation and access were deemed to be the most important, followed closely by biodiversity and ecology, then forest protection.

 

How well balanced is the plan?

64% of respondents said that the forest plan addresses their needs very well, well or OK, and 46% agreed that it achieves an appropriate balance of social, economic and environmental objectives. 36% of respondents said that the plan met their needs poorly, and 54% didn’t think that it is a well-balanced plan – these were generally the people who expressed concerns about parking.

 

Feedback on the forest plan

In addition to comments about parking, the survey responses contained constructive and helpful feedback relevant to the forest plan and long-term management of the Warwickshire Woodlands.

There were some really positive comments:

“The forest plan is great in terms of conservation management and managing and encouraging biodiversity, especially native species.”

“The Forest Plan is an excellent detailed, comprehensive and extremely well-presented document.”

“I think the plans for the wood itself are very good.”

We did

Some people expressed concern that our restock plans include conifer planting, and interestingly, just as many respondents said that they were pleased to see that conifers wouldn’t be removed completely thanks to their aesthetic appeal and value as a habitat for species such as goshawk.

Forestry England’s response: Our Warwickshire Woodlands are recorded as ancient woodland or PAWS (plantations on ancient woodland sites) which means that the majority of our restock will be broadleaf. However, we love the majestic Scots pine on the ridge at Oversley, and recognise the value of planting mixtures of conifers and broadleaves for all sorts of reasons – timber production, wildlife habitats and resilience against pests and diseases.

 

Some respondents were worried about the amount of tree felling that happens in the forest, and how it might damage the soil and harm wildlife.

Forestry England’s response: Felling trees is part of the forest cycle and keeps our woodlands healthy and productive. It can look a bit dramatic when it has just been done, but the forest is quick to recover, with new trees and vegetation growing in gaps, and wildlife benefiting from the temporary open space. When we are planning forest operations, we write a site plan which is discussed with, and approved by, our ecologists. They point out things we can do to protect wildlife, such as limiting operations to certain times of the year and weather conditions.

 

A few people commented on the bluebells in the Warwickshire Woodlands and wondered if they will be preserved during forest operations.

Forestry England’s response: Although bluebells are not legally protected, our forestry teams know the woods well and always take care to minimise damage to known areas of important ground flora, through the timing of operations and the use of appropriate machinery.

 

Car parking comments

As noted in the forest plan, the area at the eastern end of Oversley where people have previously parked their cars was closed recently due to the steady increase in anti-social behaviour (litter, dog mess and obstructing the entrance to the wood). During the forest plan consultation, many people commented on this.

Forestry England’s response:

  • The primary access to Oversley Wood is from the public right of way running to the west of the woodland. There is a pedestrian bridge for this footpath over the A46 which is provided and maintained by National Highways (formerly Highways England). Whilst access from the west end of the wood has been long standing, Forestry England has undertaken improvements to the path surfaces to make access on foot easier.
  • For many years people visiting by car have done so via the public footpath leading from Trench Lane under the A46 to the east end of Oversley Wood. This track is not a council maintained road, and legal access for vehicles is limited to the adjoining landowners. The ‘car park’, as referred to by consultation respondents, is not and never was, intended to be a car park. It is more properly a turning area for vehicles accessing the private farmland as well as forestry vehicles and timber lorries accessing the wood.
  • For many years informal parking at the east end of the wood was tolerated. However, there has been a steady, if not rapid, increase in use which has increasingly caused difficulty through blockage of the access into the wood, and into the adjoining farmland. The dropping of litter and fly tipping in this location has also progressively worsened.
  • Ownership of the land used by the public to park is split between several parties, of which National Highways has ownership of the larger area impacted. Forestry England supports the move by National Highways to regularise the situation and bring the period of toleration of the informal parking here to an end. This follows steps by ourselves over recent years to better control the informal parking by our gateway which sadly had no material impact in improving the situation.
  • We agree that Oversley Wood is a pleasant wood to walk through and the opportunity to do so is recognised through our website: https://www.forestryengland.uk/oversley-wood.
  • However, Oversley Wood is not considered by Forestry England to be a visitor destination, and we do not promote it as a place to visit by car.
  • As such, Forestry England currently have no plans to develop a car park at this location. Our nearest site where we are investing in and expanding our visitor facilities is Wyre Forest near Bewdley.

 

There were also comments about parking and anti-social behaviour at Hay Wood – notably the huge number of dog poo bags which are left at the entrance to the wood and the fact that visitors park on the verges and in the gateway, damaging the roadside vegetation and blocking the entrance.

Forestry England’s response: We do not have the staff resource to empty bins regularly in Hay Wood, and so in unstaffed woodlands like this one we ask that all visitors take their litter home with them, including dog waste. It is disappointing to see that some people are not doing this. We are looking at ways we can better communicate with our visitors on the importance of both taking litter home and parking sensibly. We have recently installed new signage in Hay Wood, and we also have a new Community Ranger in post, who will be starting to liaise with local people and groups. Ideally, we would like to set up a volunteer group for Hay Wood, as we have in other local woodlands.

 

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.