Warwickshire Woodlands Forest Plan

Closed 31 Mar 2024

Opened 19 Feb 2024

Feedback updated 25 Apr 2024

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.



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 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, which is available to download below in PDF format.


Why your views matter

As part of the forest planning process, we carry out consultation with internal and external stakeholders, to ensure that the objectives of the plan are balanced appropriately, and to meet the requirements of the UK Woodland Assurance Standard, through which our woodlands are accredited.

This online consultation will be available until Sunday 31st March 2024.

We will summarise the feedback and our responses by the end of April in the 'We asked, You said, We did' area. Your comments will be anonymous - you can choose to leave your name, but we won't include it in our summary.


What happens next

Once this online stakeholder engagement has closed, we will examine the feedback and where appropriate, will incorporate suggestions into the Forest Plan. We will summarise the feedback on the 'We asked, You said, We did' page.

We will then submit the Forest Plan to the regulatory arm of the Forestry Commission for approval.


  • Local community member
  • Forest visitor
  • Forestry Commission agent / contractor / partner
  • Government department / agency or unitary authority
  • Non-Governmental Organisation / charity


  • Forest design plans