We Asked, You Said, We Did

Below are some of the issues we have recently consulted on and their 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.


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.

We asked

The external consultation for the Dymock Forest Plan was open for five weeks in June / July 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 eg parish councils, local interest groups.

You said

The majority of the 35 respondents to the survey describe themselves as forest users and neighbours, but there were also comments from Natural England, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT), a few volunteers and some of the supporters of DyFRA – Dymock Forest Rural Action.

We did

97% of 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:


“Wonderful to see the wood so well looked after,” and “it’s very heartening to know how thoughtfully this precious, beautiful ancient woodland is being managed”.

Forestry England’s response:

    • Thank you – it’s always good to know that people appreciate our hard work!


“Very thorough woodland management plan… many aspects considered with clear objectives” (comment from Natural England), and “the plan is clear, well-designed and gives all the key information required”.

Forestry England’s response:

    • Thanks again. A great deal of time has been spent trying to balance the functions of the woodlands, so that they deliver for people, nature and, where appropriate, economy, now and into the future.


Some respondents expressed concern about overnight parking, flytipping and motorbikes.

Forestry England’s response:

  • We are aware of occasional issues of antisocial behaviour and are happy to put up temporary signs in the worst affected areas to try to discourage this. Please do get in touch to report issues so that we know where notices should be placed.


Some people asked questions about the weed in the lake, and made valid comments about the potential for watercourses to have a role in natural flood management.

Forestry England’s response:

  • We removed invasive weed from the lake in 2018, which was quite a complex and potentially damaging operation, so we will keep a close eye on the situation, but won’t undertake this again unless absolutely necessary.
  • Regarding our treatment of watercourses, we will gradually clear mature trees from the banks, to encourage regeneration of riparian species such as willow. We will leave woody debris in streams (where it is safe and appropriate to do so) to slow the flow and to encourage the development of wet woodland. This has already been done in the Orchid Reserve.


GWT and DyFRA highlighted the need for connectivity in the landscape, asking whether we could promote a land acquisition policy to join up fragments of woodland in the area.

Forestry England’s response:

  • While we wholly recognise the importance of connectivity in the landscape, we are limited in what we can do to influence planting of trees or hedges or other wildlife corridors to connect pieces of land that we do not own or manage. However, we are happy to consider collaborations if we are approached with proposals for landscape-scale projects.


Other less common questions and comments have been answered individually where an email address was provided.

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: https://www.forestryengland.uk/forest-find

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: https://www.forestryengland.uk/article/managing-deer-the-nations-forests

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: https://www.forestryengland.uk/trail-hunting

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 www.forestryengland.uk.


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 – westenglandplanning@forestryengland.uk

February 2023

We asked

The external consultation for the Chase and Penyard Forest Plan was open for six weeks in November / December 2022. Posters were put up at entrances to both woods, directing people to an online survey.

You said

The majority of the 23 respondents to the survey describe themselves as walkers, mountain bikers and neighbours, but there were also comments from Historic England and the Gloucestershire Raptor Monitoring Group.

All 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:

  • “Visitors are bowled over by [the woods’] accessibility.”
  • “These are some of the best woods in the country.”
  • “The report is pleasingly thorough.”

We did

Some respondents expressed concern about the increasing number of mountain bikers, while other believe that there should be designated mountain biking areas in both woods, and asked why mountain biking is not covered in more detail in the forest plan.

Forestry England’s response:

  • Our forest plans don’t directly address recreation – they are more about land management for long-term forest management and resilience.
  • Our ‘Unauthorised Trails Guidance’ is that “cycling can be tolerated on paths, tracks and trails (natural or desire lines) away from the authorised network so long as Forestry England determine there is no significant wildlife disturbance or damage to historic features and there is no significant danger posed to other forest users or those using them.” We appeal to riders to act responsibly.


Other concerns included:

  • “Environmental objectives should be given a higher priority in these woods.”

Forestry England’s response:

    • Protection and enhancement of habitats is a high priority for us. We are excited about the proposal to create glades along the ridesides in Chase Wood and to carry out sweet chestnut coppicing in Penyard, both of which will benefit wildlife.


  • “Plan may eventually produce Chase too dominated by oak.”

Forestry England’s response:

    • This was something we discussed when writing the plan. Over time, as the oaks are thinned, gaps will be created, into which we can plant more varied species mixtures in order to diversify and increase resilience.

We asked

The external consultation for the Bristol Woods forest plan was open for five weeks in April / May 2022. Posters at the main entrances to each of the publicly accessible woods directed people to an online survey.

You said

The majority of the 87 respondents to the survey were recreational users of the woods. There was also useful feedback from national and local organisations including Natural England, Historic England and Abbots Leigh Wildlife Group.

Positive comments included:

“I feel the plan addresses natural capital regeneration, species diversity and climate change mitigation very well.”

“It seems to me that the plan is excellent and balances the priorities of biodiversity, timber production and amenity.”

Some concerns were raised - these are listed below.

We did

The actions relating to Leigh Court registered park and garden are a bit vague and it isn’t clear how they have been decided.

Forestry England’s response:

  • A conservation statement for Leigh Court will be produced within the first year of the forest plan. In the meantime, actions are based on discussions with the Forestry England Historic Environment Team and assessments of past management objectives.


People / organisations with an interest in biodiversity provided some really useful feedback:

Forestry England’s response:

  • According to our records, West Tanpit Wood is not recorded as ancient woodland. However, we will investigate the suggestion that it is, and ensure that forest operations and future planting are adjusted if needed. Also, while it may appear that there is a lot of felling due, it is spread over at least 3 decades, and is mostly non-native larch which is potentially at risk of infection from Phytophthora ramorum.
  • Important species and habitats, including the stream in West Tanpit, Tilia cordata in Leigh Woods, and butterflies and other insects will be mentioned more prominently in the plan and the relevant comments from the online survey passed to our ecologist.


There were some questions about pests and diseases.

Forestry England’s response:

  • We will protect coppice regrowth from deer damage wherever possible using temporary fencing.
  • Ash dieback remains a challenge and will require some further felling eg in Ashton Hill, but we hope that by replacing the ash with more diverse mixtures, we will increase the resilience of the Bristol Woods for the future.


There were several comments from mountain bikers:

Forestry England’s response:

  • Forestry England has supported mountain biking for many years. Unfortunately, we cannot allow bike trails everywhere, especially in the fragile habitats of the Leigh Woods SSSI and surrounding areas, where native broadleaves will be planted to replace recently cleared conifers. The local Forestry England team will continue to work closely with Ride Bristol as representatives of the cycling community.


Other comments and suggestions, including offers from potential volunteers have been passed onto the local beat team, who will contact individuals and groups as and when appropriate.

We asked

For feedback on our plans to fell larch trees in Ennerdale in response to Phytophthora Ramorum.

You said

Various concerns were raised about the plans including timber transport, future production, access during the operations and communications plans.

We did

Questions were collated and a response document is viewable on the Wild Ennerdale website.

Link to response document.

We asked

The external consultation for Friston was open for six weeks in October / November 2021. Posters were put up at entrances, directing people to an online survey and providing contact details for any further queries.

You said

There were 21 responses in total via the online consultation in addition to several responses from statutory and non-statutory organisations. Overall, the plan was met favourably, with 57% classing it as well or very well addressing their needs. Less than 5% considered it to poorly meet their needs. The primary interests of respondents focussed on woodland ecology and the balance of people and nature.

We did

The responses will be further considered and factored into the plan where possible. Several of the specific suggestions relating to balancing human use of the forest go beyond what the forest plan is designed for; however, these will nonetheless be considered a priority area for discussion and action over the coming months and years. Forestry England is committed to ensuring the sustainable use of the nation's forests and recognises that this often requires active management. Based off the feedback provided from this consultation the management will be reviewed.

This forest plan has now been submitted to the Forestry Commission for further scrutiny and approval.

We asked

The external consultation for Rendlesham and Tunstall was open for 30 days from 27th September 2021-26th October 2021. The public were directed to an online consultation via posters put up across both woodlands, letters posted through the doors of forest residents and social media posts. We directly emailed 35 stakeholders including parish councils to inform them of the consultation. 

The consultation also provided contact details for further queries to be made.

You said

There were 117 responses to the consultation with 98 of those being through the online questionnaire. Overall, the plan was met favourably, with 66% classing it as well or very well addressing their needs.The majority of respondees also felt the plan acheived a balance of social, economic and environmental objectives. The primary interests of the respondants focused on biodiversity and woodland ecology, forest protection and climate change.

The key concerns raised included the following:

  • The main silvicultural management system for the plan area will be through clear fell operations and some belived this meant large areas of woodland would be removed and replaced with heathland.
  • Felling trees reduces carbon sequestration contributing to climate change. Planting more trees was favoured over removal, but where trees are removed consideration for more sensitive management methods was requested.
  • Unclear as to when coupes will be restocked following felling operations.
  • Dominance of conifer as a species in the woodland. Requests to remove conifer and plant more broadleaf were recieved. 
  • Consultation period is too short, questions are ambiguous and face to face meetings should be carried out.
  • Improvement and development of recreation facilities is needed but not covered in the plan. Particular reference to cycle trails, walking trails and play equipment was made. Also requests for better horse box parking facilities in Tunstall.

We did

The responses have been considered and factored into the plan where possible. The key concerns raised above have been addressed in the following way:

  • The plan does not propose to clear fell large areas of woodland and replace it with heathland. The plan area totals 2,514ha and shows over the 10 year approval period that 148ha of conifer woodland will be felled, 64ha in Tunstall and 84ha in Rendlesham. The majority of these areas will be fully restocked after 2 years as detailed in the felling and restock maps within the plan.
  • Further information has been added to the plan on the forest resilience page to explain how using renewable resources such as timber can continue to sequester carbon and help tackle climate change.
  • The plan does state felled areas will be restocked after 2 years but this was previously only in the monioritng table of the plan. This information has now been added on an additional page within the main text.
  • The plan states the use of conifer as a species and clear felling is determined by the SSSI and SPA designation of both woodlands for the Woodlark and Nightjar. However, further information on the importance of conifer in productive forestry has been added to the finance section of the plan.
  • The online consultation followed national policy and provided a 30 day period for comments to be made. A few respondees had strong views the questions were ambiguous. These concerns have been raised with the national team who have contacted all other districts to determine whether this has been raised in any other forest plan consultations across the country. It concluded no other consultation raised these concerns. However, the national team will review the questions used and consider changes.
  • There are 319 parish councils across the East Forest District making face to face meetings impractical. However, due to a number of concerns raised a face to face meeting was held in Tunstall on 6th December 2021, providing the community with the chance to ask questions.
  • Recreation improvements/developments are outside the scope of the forest plan but the comments recieved will be passed to the recreation team for consideration.

This plan has now been sent to Forest Services, the regulatory arm of the Forestry Commission, for further consultation before approval. Parish Councils will be informed once the plan is on the public register for comment.

We asked

The external consultation for the Frith and Conigree forest plan was open for five weeks in April / May 2021. Posters were put up at entrances to both woods, directing people to an online survey.

You said

There were 90 responses to the survey, mostly from walkers / forest users and neighbours, with comments from a footpath officer and a Scout leader, and representatives of the Conigree freeholder, Malvern Hills AONB, Ledbury Town Council and Sustainable Ledbury.

82% of respondents said that the forest plan addresses their needs and interests (or those of their organisation) ‘very well’ or ‘well’, with plenty of positive feedback.

We did

More detail about the responses is provided in the results section of the consultation below.

We asked

Members of the public were asked to comment on the proposal of a new wildflower meadow at Pages Wood. This consultation was shared on multiple Facebook pages and local Facebook groups, and notices were displayed on site at Pages Wood.

You said

There were 332 responses to the survey: 89% within 20 minutes travelling distance from Pages Wood (with the majority of people walking or cycling to the site). We have considered everyone's comments and nearly all the responses were very positive for more wildflowers at Pages Wood. We also took this opportunity to ask for feedback on the facilities at Pages Wood, all of which were voted ‘OK’ by the majority of respondents, except the sculptures and woodland trails which were voted as ‘good’ by the majority of respondents. 

We did

Following the overwhelmingly positive response to the wildflower meadow at Pages Wood, Forestry England will proceed with plans and the necessary surveys to carry this out. Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete this survey.

We asked

Members of the public and stakeholders were invited to the consultation of the draft proposals for the High Stand Forest Plan 2021-2031, to leave feedback to ensure that the plans objectives and proposals were considered and balanced. This was carried out via emails and notices displayed in the forest. 

You said

There were a handful of responses to the consultation from members of the public, with most supporting the forest management objectives. The main points and concerns raised include the following:

  • Continued focus on High Stand as a wildlife habitat
  • Continued focus on quiet community use is welcomed
  • More to be done to reduce antisocial behaviour around car park

We did

Comments and feedback were incorporated into the Forest Plan where necessary.

High Stand is valued by the local community for its relatively low visitor numbers and quiet community feel, this is something this Forest Plan aims to continue with no objectives to increase visitor numbers. Many members of public identified the wide range of species who call High Stand home and recognise the role the forest plays in providing these habitats. This Forest Plan seeks to continue the management principles which have allowed these habitats to flourish in the past, including management of trackside verges for butterflies and moths. This has been made a clear in the Forest Plan following feedback.

Forest Plans primarily focus on woodland management. The proposals to address antisocial behaviour in the High Stand plan focus on woodland management solutions to these issues, such as thinning the area around the car park to increase visibility from the public road. Additional suggestions such as the use of cameras and height barriers have been passed onto the appropriate team for consideration.

This forest plan has now been submitted to the Forestry Commission for approval.

We asked

Forestry England manages Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest - Park Lane is a section of public highway, private road and forest track that transects the forest. Over recent years the displaced parking has become unsustainable and has created incidents of unsafe parking, legitimate road users have had their access blocked, including the emergency services. We consulted residents and neighbours on Park Lane and presented three options to address the current situation for a wider consultation.

You said

There were 386 responses to the survey; 8% were from residents or local businesses on Park Lane, 43% were from residents of Hawkhurst Parish, 26% of Cranbrook & Sissinghurst and 6% of Goudhurst. The remaining 17% were from none of the above. The most popular option was number 3 - to regulate parking, potentially with a locally administrated pass. 61% of respondents chose this option and a further 30% said that they would support this option even though it was not their first choice – a combined total of 91%. Furthermore, 59% said that this option was fair to all user groups. 

We did

Following this survey, with a good representation from each parish as well as different user groups, Forestry England will move ahead with plans to regulate parking.

Forestry England Park Lane parking consultation - full results

We asked

Members of the public and stakeholders were invited to the consultation of the draft proposals for the Broughton Moor Forest Plan 2020-2030, to leave feedback to ensure that the plans objectives and proposals were considered and balanced. This was carried out via emails and notices displayed at forest entrances. 

You said

There were a handful of responses to the consultation from members of the public, with most supporting the main forest management objectives. The main concerns raised include the following:

-The impact of larch felling in Broughton Moor 

-Demand for mountain biking facilities in Broughton Moor

-Questions around Public Right of Way maintenance

-Concerns around illegal motorbike access

We did

Comments and feedback were incorporated into the Forest Plan where necessary.

The concern around the impact of larch felling in Broughton Moor is understandable given the prominence of this species in areas of the forest, particularly around The Hawk. The issuing of a statutory plant health notice and the ongoing threat to the larch trees in the area necessities that we act now, to reduce the risk to other trees in the area. In addition, the planned restocking containing a higher proportion of broadleaves when compared to the previous plan aims to reduce the landscape impact in the long term that losing the larch will cause.

Creation of cycle trails is outside of the scope of this forest management plan, however the feedback for additional cycling provision has been passed onto the recreation team for their consideration. Grizedale is Forestry England’s hub for mountain biking and supports numerous trails. There are no formal cycle paths or trails in Broughton Moor.

We remain committed to monitoring illegal motorbike activity in Broughton Moor and will continue to liaise with the police regarding this matter.

The Public Rights of Way within Broughton Moor are the responsibility of the National Park authority to maintain, and these comments have been passed onto the appropriate staff there.

This forest plan has now been submitted to the Forestry Commission for approval.

We asked

We asked people to provide feedback on proposed plans for some development work at Tyler's Wood. Thank you for your responses.

You said

There was a positive response to the consultation. The majority of respondents supported the development of more wildflowers, pathways, trees, a pond and additional seating. There was a strong interest in ensuring our forest wildlife continues to thrive and that the benefits of our forests will continue for generations to come. The majority of respondents stay up to date with our sites through the Facebook page (Thames Chase Woodlands - Forestry England) and notice boards on the site. We will continue to use these platforms and keep them up to date. There was some interest in volunteering on this project. We will continue to review Covid-19 guidance and advertise for volunteers if and when we feel it is safe to do so.

We did

Comments and feedback have been reviewed and incorporated into the development plan for Tyler's Wood. Thank you for taking the time to complete this questionnaire.

We asked

We asked people to leave feedback on the newly drafted Forest Plan for Haugh Woods.  Thank you for your responses.

This forms part of our consultation with stakeholders, that helps to ensure that we achieve an appropriate balance when managing the woodlands.


You said

Overall there was positive support for the land management proposals within the new Forest Plan. 

There was concern over potential conflicts in use between walkers and mountain bikers and the impacts that deer and grey squirrel may have on broadleaf regeneration.




We did

Comments have been shared with the Forestry England beat forester, ecologist and recreation teams.  

The Forest Plan has now been submitted to the Forestry Commission for approval.