The National Forest is an environmental project in the Midlands run by The National Forest Company. It is not a single, consistent forest but a forestry project, and the National Forest Company is a facilitator rather than the owner of all the areas its vision encompasses.
In the course of the project some 200 square miles of northern Leicestershire, southern Derbyshire and south-eastern Staffordshire are being planted, in an attempt to blend ancient woodland with new plantings to create a new national forest.
The National Forest Company
The National Forest Company is a not-for-profit organisation established in April 1995 as a company limited by guarantee. It is supported by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), with the aim of converting one third of the land within the boundaries of the National Forest (33,000 acres) to woodland, by encouraging landowners to alter their land use. It is described as "a forest in the making" and it is hoped to increase tourism and forestry-related jobs in the area.
Around 8 million trees have been planted, tripling the woodland cover from 6% to around 18%.
Approximately 85% of the trees planted are native broadleaf species with some of the most commonly planted species are: oak, ash, poplar, Corsican and Scots pine.
The transformation of the landscape is beginning to take effect as the first tiny whips to be planted in the early 1990s are growing into substantial trees.
At the centre of the National Forest, is Conkers, a visitor centre located just outside the village of Moira, Leicestershire. There is also a visitor centre with wildlife walks and playgrounds at Rosliston.
Attractions in and around the conceptual Forest include: