Guisborough Forest Plan

Guisborough Forest Plan

Guisborough Forest Plan

Guisborough Forest is part of a network of forests managed by Forestry England (FE), Yorkshire Forest District, located within the Cleveland Beat. It is situated adjacent the market town of Guisborough on the northern fringe of the North York Moors National Park.

Species composition has changed significantly over the last 12 years. This has been particularly influenced by the planned felling across the visually prominent upper slopes at Hanging Stone Wood, Highcliff Wood, Belmanbank Gate and adjacent Westworth Wood creating open woodland and wooded heath. In addition, conifer plantation ancient woodland sites have started the process of restoration to site-native broadleaf woodland. The new plan will continue the process of landscape-scale improvements and developing mixed species woodland.


The main objectives of the plan are:


  • Maintain and improve the woodlands contribution to the landscape character within the North York Moors National Park ‘Upland Fringe – Cleveland Foothills character area’. To be measured by fixed-point photography.
  • Gain insight of woodland users and encourage engagement with these and partner organisations to shape the future management and direction of the woodland and its facilities. To be measured through surveys.
  • Work with and provide volunteering opportunities that derive benefits to both the participants and the woodland. To be measured through FC systems.


  • Improve the resilience of the natural environment to pests, diseases and wildfires and realise the potential of these woods for nature and wildlife, to be measured by FC systems accordingly.
  • Improve and maintain the cultural and heritage value of these woods, to be measured by Historic England, NYMNP Authority and FC systems accordingly.


  • 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, to be measured by FC systems accordingly.

What we will do

The plan details management operations including approved felling and restocking for the 10 years through until 2030, 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 conifer woodland will be used to describe those areas where a range of species will be established where conifer species will comprise up to 60% of the woodland component.

Ancient woodland sites planned for conversion to broadleaf woodland and mixed broadleaf woodland will be used to describe those areas where a range of species will be regenerated, will comprise at least 80% native broadleaf species in the former and between 50 to 80% native broadleaf species in the latter of the woodland component mix. Conifer species will be accepted where this does not compromise meeting the plan objectives.

Through this plan we will continue to develop a mosaic of successional habitat adjacent the North York Moors SSSI/SAC/SPA, creating an ecotone of wooded heath combining elements of heathland flora, with broadleaf and conifer tree cover.

The planned areas of clearfelling, regeneration felling and restocking during the ten years to 2030 are summarised in the table.













Lower Impact Silvicultural Systems regeneration felling




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


Habitat type -

(based on principal species established)

Area – hectares


  2020          2070

% age of total area


     2020         2070




 215.3         196.3


       45               41




 137.6          224.8


       29               47


Open/wooded heath


Recently felled, burnt, awaiting regeneration etc


  39.8             57.1 


  85.5               -


         8               12


       18                 -