The idea of a new multi-purpose forest for the nation was first suggested in 1987 . The aim was to create a large scale, attractive Forest in lowland Britain. Economic regeneration would come from restoring mining sites but in the long term many other benefits would also be achieved. The future of agriculture would be supported through opportunities for rural diversification .
The National Forest is taking root in the heart of England across parts of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire. It is transforming the landscape, aiming to link two ancient Forests - Charnwood on its Eastern fringe and Needwood Forest to its West. Within its boundary are miles of rolling farmland and a former coalfield which was in desperate need of regeneration. Forest towns and villages include Burton upon Trent (famous for brewing), Coalville and Swadlincote (coal mining industry) and the historic town of Ashby de la Zouch.
The area was one of the country’s least wooded regions. The aim is to increase woodland cover to about a third of all the land within its boundary . Woodland cover has increased from around 6% in 1991 to more than 17% in 2007 . m
Over 6 million trees planted Woodland cover up - 6% to 16% Over 80,000 people took part in Forest-related events 160,000 children involved in environmental education visits 20 new tourist attractions opened Tourism related jobs up to 66% Spending in the area up by 88% 47 miles of new hedgerows planted Over 60 new bluebell sites created 10 new otter halts 600 jobs created or protected The first 10 years