Stainburn Forest Plan

Stainburn Forest Plan


Stainburn is an area of 215.4 hectares of primarily coniferous woodland with some broadleaf coverage situated in North Yorkshire. The woodland is situated approximately 8 kilometres north-west of Harrogate on the boundary of and partly within Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The majority of land was acquired by the Forestry Commission in the 1950’s and shortly afterwards started establishing the forest, previously managed as rough pasture and moorland. This is a freehold property.

The forest is situated in the ‘Stainburn Moor, Lindley Moor and Sandwith Moor’ landscape character areaand is planted on a gritstone outcrop adjacent to Little Alms Cliff. The forest gently slopes southwards across the moorland sections of the forest, whereas Norwood Edge and Warren Plantation fall more steeply toward the south and south-west.

At the start of the previous plan, in 2002, the forest was largely coniferous than it is now, and plans to become. Consequently the increase in species and structural diversity is having a positive impact on the forests contribution across the landscape. The forest is also popular with visitors who use it frequently for recreational walking and dog walking, mountain bike riding across formal trails, as well as horse riders making regular use of the bridleways.


The long term vision for Stainburn Forest is to maintain the natural and cultural heritage sites, consider the selection for alternative main tree species to boost resilience and diversity of the forest.


  • Encourage communities to become involved across these woods, its management and direction through consultation in planning and participation in volunteering.
  • Maintain and improve the woodlands contribution to the wooded character within the Harrogate Borough Council “Stainburn Moor, Lindley Moor and Sandwith Moor character area”.


  • Improve the resilience of the natural environment and realise the potential of these woods for nature and wildlife, to be measured by Non-Government Organisations 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 the Production Forecast and Sales Recording Package.

What we’ll do

The Stainburn Forest Plan outlines management proposals including felling and restocking for 10 years from 2016 to 2025.

The planned areas of conifer, broadleaf and permanent open space creation during the ten years to 2025 are summarised in the table below.

Habitat type -

(based on principal species established)

Area – hectares



% age of total area









Temporal and permanent open ground (inc. felled)



In addition to these defined operations, selective thinning and group felling will be carried out on a small scale at five and ten year periods.

We will protect and, where appropriate, enhance all known sites of archaeological and ecological importance and all sites, regardless of their designation, will receive the same level of care during the planning and execution of forest operations. The operation planning system will ensure they are recognised and the proper measures for their protection are in place before work begins.

The areas of small group felling carried out as part of the CCF silvicultural systems will be replanted to diversify species and age structure and to continue to provide a sustainable timber resource, whilst mindful of the projected impacts of climate change.

The development of future areas of broadleaf woodland will look to create a robust network of habitats linking conifer and broadleaf woodland with internal and external heath communities and riparian corridors. Natural regeneration will be the preferred method of establishment with the expectation that birch and willow species predominate.

This table illustrates how the plan will progress:


Area - hectares

% of total area

Projected volume (m3)

2016 – 2021 Clearfell




2022 – 2025 Clearfell