Bransdale Forest Plan

Bransdale Forest Plan

Bransdale Forest is part of a network of forests managed by Forest Enterprise (FE) and Yorkshire Forest District, located within the Cleveland Beat. It is situated at the head of Bransdale valley within the North York Moors National Park, approximately 15 km north of Helmsley.

Species composition has changed significantly over the last 11 years, with increasing areas of open ground and reducing proportions of coniferous forest as part of the ongoing conversion from secondary plantation conifer woodland to mixed broadleaf woodland, open woodland and wooded heath. The new plan will continue this process of converting secondary plantation conifer woodland to a mixed broadleaf woodland, open woodland and wooded heath.


The main objectives for the Bransdale Forest Plan are:


  • Maintain and improve the ecological, cultural and heritage value of these woods.
  • Improve the resilience of the natural environment and realise the potential of these woods for nature and wildlife.


  • Encourage communities to become involved across these woods, its management and direction through consultation in planning and participation in volunteering.
  • Maintain and improve the forests contribution to the surrounding landscape character by increasing species and structural diversity.


  • Maintain the land within our stewardship under UKWAS certification.

What we will do

The plan details management operations including approved felling and restocking for the 10 years through until 2029, with outline proposals for a 50 year period.

Active harvesting programmes will continue across mature conifer stands unless identified as being retained for landscape or environmental reasons.

Mixed broadleaf woodland will be used to describe those areas where a range of species will be regenerated, where broadleaf species will comprise at least 60% of the woodland component mix. Conifer species will be accepted where this does not compromise meeting the plan objectives. Through this plan, we will extend the area of successional habitat to a greater proportion of felled sites and these will now be described as either ‘open woodland’, with a target composition of 50% open ground, 30% broadleaf and 20% conifer tree species, or ‘wooded heath’, with a target composition ranging between 20 and 30% tree cover.

It is proposed to manage this mosaic of successional habitat so as to maintain a mixed species composition and this will be achieved through a combination of natural regeneration and enrichment planting. Where conifer regeneration threatens to significantly exceed the target composition, these will be removed where they impact negatively on the landscape and biodiversity.

The planned areas of clearfelling, restocking and permanent open space creation during the ten years to 2029 are summarised in the table.

Bransdale Forest Plan table 1

The current proportions of open space, conifer and broadleaf woodland and projected in 50 years’ time are shown in the table below.

Bransdale Forest Plan table 2