Boltby Forest Plan

Boltby Forest Plan


Boltby Forest is an area of 632.1 hectares and is part of a network of forests managed by Forest Enterprise (FE), Yorkshire Forest District, located within the Cleveland Beat. The forest itself sits in the south-west corner of the North York Moors and was initially acquired by the Forestry Commission between 1928 and 1974. The Forestry Commission started establishing a forest over the majority of the land which was previously managed as rough pasture and mooreland. The forest is a freehold property.

Boltby is a mixed woodland with Sitka spruce being the dominant species and evergreen conifers overall making up 54% of the woodland. Deciduous larch species and broadleaves make up 26% of the woodland. Open Ground accounts for 15% of the land at Boltby, comprised of land currently felled awaiting regeneration, permanent open space and a small proportion of tenanted agricultural land. At the start of the previous plan (2001), the forest was largely coniferous in nature with 74% conifer planting, 15% broadleaf species and 11% temporary and permanent open space. Ancient woodland, particularly conifer PAWS are important at Boltby, accounting for 13% of the woodland area.

The forest is prominent within the local landscape, particularly when viewed from nearby settlements such as Boltby and Thirlby. The Cleveland Way runs along the escarpment top and skirts along parts of the upper margins of the main forest block and Southwoods.

There is no formal provision for recreation across the block although it is dedicated as Open Access land through the Countryside Rights of Way Act (2000). This is a popular forest for residents of nearby settlements for recreational walking and dog walking with visitors seen on most days. As well as this the Forest District hosts a number of car and motorbike rallies throughout the calendar year during which a number of stages utilise Boltby Forest.

Boltby Forest is important for a wide range of flora, fauna and bio-diverse habitats. Statutory sites within the forest include Lake Gormire Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), the only natural lake in the Park.


This plan aims to deliver an increase in native broadleaf coverage throughout the woodland and a slight reduction in coniferous coverage to improve the matrix of habitats for wildlife. The objectives of the plan are:


  • Maintain and improve the cultural and heritage value of these woods, to be measured by Natural England, Historic England, Non-Government Organisations and FC systems accordingly.
  • Improve the resilience and adaptation to climate change, pests and diseases of the natural environment.


  • Encourage communities to become involved across these woods, its management and direction through consultation in planning and participation in volunteering.


  • Maintain the land within our stewardship under UKWAS certification, to be measured by independent surveillance audits.
  • Improve the economic resilience of these woods from a more diverse range of site appropriate conifer and broadleaf species.

What we’ll do

The current plan outlines management proposals including felling and restocking over several decades, with felling licence approval for operations up until 2025.

The planned areas of future habitat and forest coverage are illustrated in the table below:

FellingArea - hectares% of total areaProjected volume (m3)
2016 - 2021 Clearfell21.03.36900
2022 - 2025 Clearfell21.03.36075
Continuous Cover*11.51.83680
Natural Reserve22.53.6n/a

In addition to these defined operations, ongoing thinning and selective felling of both conifers and broadleaves will be carried out in the plan area at five to ten year intervals.

We will maintain designated sites (Scheduled Ancient Monuments) in favourable condition and will increase the diversity of tree species and age structure that will maintain and improve favourable habitats for target species and identified habitats. This is particularly beneficial for the range of habitats and species recorded at Boltby.

We will continue to sustainably harvest timber from clearfell, group felling and thinnings, and where appropriate develop broadleaf stands to increase their contribution to timber production. The continuing process of felling and restocking is helping to create a more varied forest structure and species composition which is evident when viewed externally from public rights of way and internally from forest roads and rides.

Final breakdown for chart:

Habitat type (based on principal species established)

Area (ha) 


Area (ha)


% age of total area


% age of total area


Conifer 388.17265.906142
Temporal and permanent open ground (inc. felled) 124.4088.902014