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

  • Yorkshire District Deer Park Forest Plan

    Forestry England's Yorkshire District is consulting on a newly revised forest plan for Deer Park Wood. The long term vision for Deer Park woods is to continue the gradual increase of native broadleaf cover, manage veteran trees and their surrounding habitat to improve or maintain their...

    Closes 30 June 2023

Closed Consultations

  • Salcey Forests Plan Consultation

    The Salcey and Yardley Chase Forest Plan sets out the long term management objectives for Salcey Forest and eight outlying woodlands collectively known as Yardley Chase Woods. The forest plan area covers 1,069 hectares A forest plan defines the long term vision for a woodland or a...

    Closed 9 June 2023

  • Lowther Park Forest Plan 2023

    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...

    Closed 17 April 2023

  • Birklands Forest Plan 2023

    We would like to invite feedback on the proposed Birklands Forest Plan. The Birklands Forest Plan area is 587ha and situated in North Nottinghamshire, between the villages of Market Warsop and Edwinstowe, approximately 9km NE of Mansfield centre. Forest plans...

    Closed 15 April 2023

  • Forestry England Horse Riding Permits Survey

    We, Forestry England, provide access to the nation’s forests to the public, this includes providing suitable and safe access to those who enjoy recreational riding. We support riding access and absolutely recognise the importance of providing safe off-road riding. It is for this reason that we have...

    Closed 9 April 2023

  • Surrey Hills Forest Plan 2023-2033

    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...

    Closed 2 March 2023

We Asked, You Said, We Did

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

We asked

Consultation for the Surrey Hills Forest Plan was open for six weeks from late January to the beginning of March 2023. We emailed a group of consultees and put posters up at entrances to our Surrey Hills woods, directing people to this online survey.

You said

There were 31 responses to the Surrey Hills Forest Plan survey. 26 respondents answered question 1 (do you agree that the plan achieves an appropriate balance of social, economic, and environmental objectives for the woodland?). Of these 26 respondents, 16 answered yes to question 1, while 15 answered no.

The majority of those who disagreed with question 1 feel that Forestry England need to consider the needs of mountain bikers more, although most recognised the importance of the woodlands to other groups such as horse-riders and walkers. Other replies expressed views on the use of native tree species (both for and against), the potential for conflicting use of the woods by different user groups, and on their opinion that the plan needed to talk more about biodiversity management.

Of the 31 responses to question 2 (how well does the plan address your needs and interests or those of your organisation?), roughly two thirds of respondents answered OK, Well or Very Well, while the remainder answered Poor or Very Poor. Although generally positive, the majority of respondents still have concerns about representation of the views of mountain bikers, and conflicts between user groups similar to the answers to question 1.

We did

Forestry England’s response:
Our Forest Plans are strategic documents, and not intended to deal with site-specific recreation management issues (other than to show our awareness of them where necessary). Our Land Management and Recreation Teams will continue to engage with different user-groups about how we manage our woods for their benefit.

In areas of Planted Ancient Woodland with non-native trees, we will continue to gradually restore to native species as dictated by Government policy, and by the need to make our woods more resilient to climate change.

We asked

For your responses and feedback to the draft 2023 Grizedale Forest Plan. Parish councils were notified for comment and shared the plan amongst residents, and posters were placed in car parks, forest entrances and the visitor’s centre.

You said

Our consultation received 22 responses from members of the public raising a wide range of topics. Positive comments included praise for the quick clean-up of key routes following storm Arwen, and appreciation for the forest environment we manage. Constructive criticism and negative comments were mostly regarding recreation infrastructure; however some forest management concerns were also raised.  

We did

Comments regarding recreation infrastructure in the forest.

Forest plans don’t directly address recreation – they are land management documents for long-term forest management and resilience.

Many comments from mountain bikers regarding condition of existing infrastructure, potential for provision of more trails and working with other groups, and the bike shop.

Comments relating to cycling infrastructure have been passed to the relevant recreation staff. The North Face trail has been closed following the winter storms and plans are being made to reinstate and enhance this offer in 2023-24, taking into account the views of customers and our onsite bike hire provider.

Some comments drawing attention to the omission of horse riders from the plan

The forest plan has been updated to include reference to horse riders as well as walkers and cyclists. Horse riders should be reassured that Grizedale will continue to offer over 80km of roads and paths, and 32km of bridleway open for use by horse riders. For more information on horse riding in Grizedale, please see the following webpage:

Comments about potential for improved provision for motorsport and vehicle users on unsurfaced county roads (UCRs).

Motorsport events in the forest are managed through a national agreement between Forestry England and Motorsport UK. Please contact your relevant Motorsport UK club if you have an idea for additional events or improvements for motorsport in the forest in the future.

UCRs present in the forest are managed by the local highway’s authority and concerns about their condition or potential changes to these roads should be directed to Cumbria County Council, or Westmorland and Furness Council from 1st April 2023.

Concern about damage to potentially rare roadside vegetation

We welcome any information members of the public may have about interesting flora or fauna in the forest. If you have spotted a species of interest, we would encourage you to record this find using the iNaturalist application as part of our ‘Forest Find’ project, this way the species found can be recorded and protected as appropriate. For more information on the Forest Find project, see the following webpage:

Concerns about Forestry England’s deer management and squirrel management strategies

Deer numbers can become too large for their habitat to support them. Grazing by large populations of deer reduces plants and animal diversity in the forest which can in turn affect soils and release carbon. Deer can also damage or kill young trees by damaging bark and lower branches, preventing forests from regenerating.

We manage deer populations to look after our forests sustainably. Our highly skilled wildlife rangers replace the role of Britain’s missing predators by sensitively and humanely controlling deer populations in woods. Our expert staff use trained working dogs to track and find deer.

For more information on Forestry England's deer policy, please see the following webpage:

Similarly grey squirrels represent a risk to restocking operations, and also have a significant impact on woodland biodiversity, and in particular the native red squirrel. As such Forestry England staff work with Red Squirrels Northern England to humanely control the population of grey squirrel in the forest.

Concerns about suspected trail hunting

Forestry England suspended trail hunting in the nation’s forests in 2020, and this activity is currently under review.  

If you suspect unauthorised hunting is taking place in the forest or on land we manage, please visit the following webpage:

Concerns about the use of chemicals in the forest

At Grizedale forest we make use of fallow periods between felling and restock to minimise the need for use of insecticides, however in some instances the targeted application of pesticides is necessary to ensure successful planting takes place.  

The use of chemicals in forestry settings is closely regulated. Forestry England operations are planned using the principles set out in the UK Forestry Standard, and are certified against the UK Woodland Assurance Standard by an independent auditor. For more information about how we apply chemicals, please see section 6.7 of the UK Forestry Standard, and Section 3.4 of the UK Woodland Assurance Standard.  

We asked

The external consultation for the Long Mynd Forest Plan was open for six weeks in January / February 2023. Posters were put up at six points where public rights of way enter the forest, directing people to an online survey. In addition, emails were sent specifically to organisations and groups who we felt have an interest in how the site is managed eg parish councils, the Commoners Association and the local mountain biking shop.

You said

Six of the 19 respondents to the survey describe themselves as neighbours / forest users. Seven responses were received from members of the Long Mynd and District Bridleways Association. The other respondents were Historic England, Shropshire Council's Historic Environment Team, Natural England, the National Trust and the Shopshire Hills AONB.

We did

Feedback from forest users was generally positive:

  • “Looks well thought through to me – good balance of objectives”
  • “Thank you for this amazing forest”

although there was disappointment that the plan does not say much about mountain biking.

Forestry England comment:

  • Our Forest Plans don’t directly address recreation – they are about land management for long-term forest protection and resilience. We will make sure that the scope of Forest Plans is explained more clearly within the plan itself in future.

One respondent was concerned about litter and asked what we can do to prevent it.

Forestry England comment:

  • We don’t see too much litter at Long Mynd and are reluctant to put up posters which can detract from the sense of remoteness that makes this forest so special. Unfortunately, we just have to rely on forest users being respectful and taking their litter home.

And someone else asked us to “stop cutting down trees”.

Forestry England comment:

  • Cutting down trees is part of the cycle of sustainable forest management at Long Mynd. We plant them, look after them, and then cut them down to provide timber. It can look quite dramatic when an area has been cleared of trees, but the next stage is to restock and begin to grow the next generation of trees. For more information, please have a look at our website


The responses from the Long Mynd and District Bridleways Association expressed their concerns that they hadn’t been consulted directly and therefore had not had time to formulate a response.

Forestry England comment:

  • We thought that we had contacted all the relevant local groups and apologise for omitting the Bridleways Association. If you would like to discuss the plan, please feel free to email us.


Historic England and the Shropshire Council Historic Environment Team were pleased to see the inclusion of a scheduled monument plan for the bronze age bowl barrow, but pointed out that unscheduled historic features should be protected too.

Forestry England comment:

  • We mark all historic features that we are aware of on our maps so that they are protected during forest operations. This should’ve been stated in the plan and has now been added to the final version.


Natural England, the National Trust and the Shropshire Hills AONB recognise the challenge of balancing competing land uses – timber production, recreation, biodiversity – and appreciate that our Forest Plan places the creation of dynamic habitat high up on our agenda.

However, they would have liked us to create a greater amount of dynamic habitat to act as a buffer between the forest and the neighbouring heathland SSSI, and would like us to move away from a forest dominated by conifers managed by clearfelling, towards greater habitat diversity and variety of management systems, in order to protect soils and watercourses.

Forestry England comments:

  • We need to write a plan that is realistic and achievable. In addition to the creation of 1.89ha of new dynamic habitat, we will (in the next few years) be restoring an area (2.49ha) on the western side of the site which was open and has become dominated by trees – this will add to the dynamic habitat, as will the 10% of ‘unstocked’ space that is recommended in all of our planting areas.
  • We are, of course, aware of the importance of the neighbouring SSSI, which is why we have committed to further extending the buffer on the western edges of the forest over the coming decades.
  • We have recently restocked the area in the northern part of the site with conifers, but with a broadleaf strip along the edge of the streams / SSSI.
  • Sustainable forest management is a long-term business – we cannot transform conifer forest to broadleaf / open / heathland overnight, but as trees reach economic maturity, we will fell them and look at each area individually to ensure that what replaces them delivers for timber production, jobs, carbon sequestration, biodiversity and people.
  • With regard to how forests impact on streams and soils, Forestry England is UKWAS certified and we manage all operations to UKWAS and UKFS best practice. Each operation goes through a site planning process before it is approved, meaning that the constraints and opportunities for each individual location are considered carefully.
  • In the past, Long Mynd has been managed predominantly as no-thin conifer plantation. In future, we are moving towards thinning many more of the stands on the site, which will create a more open forest structure, possibly generating opportunities for alternatives to clearfell in the future, once we see how the thinned stands respond to wind and storms.

Forestry England –

February 2023