Large area bought up for new woodland under Great Northumberland Forest project

A significant plot in the county has recently been bought for a new woodland, as part of the Great Northumberland Forest project.

By Ben O'Connell
Friday, 1st May 2020, 12:15 pm
Updated Monday, 4th May 2020, 7:44 pm
Monkridge Forest
Monkridge Forest

Forestry England’s North District has announced that it has purchased 100 hectares at Monkridge, West Woodburn, saying that it ‘offered an unmissable opportunity’.

Last autumn, the Government unveiled proposals to create the Great Northumberland Forest, with the first stage of this ambition to increase woodland cover being three new public forests covering up to 500 hectares.

Buying this land means Forestry England will create the second of these, just eight miles from North District’s office in the county.

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Jim Lee, area land agent for Forestry England’s North England Forest District, said: “This is the first significant area of land we have bought to plant trees in over 20 years and marks a symbolic return, 100 years on, to our first purpose of woodland creation.”

Preparations to make the plan a reality are underway, which includes maintating, and enhancing where possible, historical features and areas of priority habitat on the site. It is hoped that work to prepare the ground will start this autumn/winter (circumstances permitting).

The organisation has already started planting Rushy Knowe, a new 145-hectare woodland on land it already managed on the shore of Kielder Water.

However, with limited suitable land for new woodlands, it needs to buy more. The deal for Monkridge was completed on April 10, following screening by Forest Services (part of the Forestry Commission) under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regulations – the equivalent of planning permission for creating a new woodland.

Forest Services worked closely with the previous owner and their agent to develop a plan for the new woodland so that it met all the requirements of the UK Forestry Standard and will provide benefits for nature, people and the economy.

Its woodland creation officer, Phil Wilson, said: “The planning for this new forest was funded through our Woodland Creation Planning Grant.

“We have all worked hard to develop a good plan for a productive and diverse forest that recognises the interesting features of the site and fits well in the landscape, taking account of the views of a range of interested parties.”