Working with the Community Forests to plan your woodland creation project

The Community Forests provide experienced and enthusiastic teams of forest professionals, who bring the right skills, understanding and flexibility to all the projects they support. Most landowners want reassurance that the planting scheme or woodland that they want to create will work for them and it is the role of the Community Forests to ensure that it will.

As an expert partner we are there to work with landowners to create the very best scheme that has the greatest chance of long-term success. But the key word there is ‘partner’ – and it requires the landowner to be as invested in the project as the Community Forests are. In return for this commitment from landowners, we offer high levels of support at every stage of the scheme – planning, design and execution.

There is a wide range of factors that need to be considered when planning a scheme, and with years of experience in the sector your local Community Forest teams understand these considerations and can guide a project through each stage. For example, we may need to engage with statutory bodies, such as Natural England on issues around designated sites, priority habitats and species or the presence of peat on site. There may also be bird or habitat surveys required, special processes to consider archaeological features on the site. Or there may be engagement issues with neighbours to address. It’s around these issues that the Community Forest teams become invaluable to their landowner partners – supporting through every step of these, sometimes-complex processes, and ensuring there are no elements missed that could compromise the long-term success of the planting.

Timescales can vary significantly from scheme to scheme and it’s not always dictated by the size – small doesn’t necessarily mean easy. If the landowner is unclear or needs a lot of support; or there are specific site issues to address, even the smallest site can take several months to bring to completion. On the other hand, a very large, but fairly simple scheme can be completed in a matter of weeks. As a rule of thumb, the Community Forests work to between one and six months from enquiry to completion, but some projects can take longer.

Without doubt, one of the biggest strengths of the Community Forest approach is that they make the process considerably easier for landowners than other grant schemes. We take a lot of the red tape away and can do all the liaison with third parties on behalf of the landowner – which is invaluable for anyone who is time poor or lacking the experience of woodland creation.

Working with us, landowners only have two documents to sign – the grant offer acceptance and the landowner agreement. That’s it. Landowners don’t have to go through a long, convoluted application process, which is why so many find working with us straightforward.

To find out how the Community Forests can support you to bring trees to your land, contact: