Managing Forests

The estate is made up of some 250,000 hectares of woodland and other natural environments across England – roughly equivalent to 350,000 football pitches, or the area of London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds combined!

Forests have natural cycles of seasonal change that take place alongside much longer cycles of growth and regeneration that span many lifetimes. Many of the natural environments we care for are ancient or native woodlands and it is vital we look after them for generations to come.

Our professional approach to sustainable forest management allows us to keep our public forests and woodlands as special places for nature, which people can enjoy and businesses can thrive in.

All our woodlands are managed to the UK Woodland Assurance Standard. We were the first state forest service to gain Forestry Stewardship Council® (FSC®) accreditation and our timber is certified under Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). .

To find out more about our plans for your local woods, take a look at our individual forest plans.


The public forest estate is the most extensive resource for outdoor recreation in the country with many of our finest national parks to the edges of our largest cities. We get around 226 million visits each year.

We have a long history of welcoming visits from the public, and we continue to make our woodlands accessible to people on bike, horseback and on foot.

Providing access for recreational activities also helps us to support businesses and contribute to local economies throughout England.

Find out more about how we manage our forests for people and communities.


The public forest estate hosts many different habitats for wildlife including ancient woodlands, heathland, bogs, moors and fens.

Each of these is carefully managed and provides homes for wildlife that contributes to healthy woodland ecosystems that ensure our forests continue to thrive.

Find out more about how we manage our forests for nature.


We generate revenue by harvesting and selling timber, and by working with commercial partners to offer new ways to experience and enjoy our woodlands and develop business activities. This provides us with opportunities to support local businesses and with essential income to support our learning programmes, nature conservation and other activities.

Find out more about how we support local businesses and generate revenue.