In the heart of London’s Green Belt, Heartwood Forest creates “England’s largest continuous new native forest”. It takes intensively farmed arable land out of production in order to deliver a richly biodiverse land that is perhaps closer to the dreams of early supporters of the Green Belt than the reality of what was delivered. It is owned and managed by the Woodland Trust and is being created with help from thousands of community volunteers who are planting more than 600,000 trees. Already rare butterflies and bluebells thrive.
With the first purchase only in 2008, the total land area now extends to 345 ha (858 acres). It was/is predominantly fields but the site also contains approximately 18 ha (44 acres) of Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland (ASNW) split into four fragmented blocks. Prior to acquisition public access was limited to the bridleway which runs through the site and paths within Langley ASNW.
Project credits: The Woodland Trust
All images courtesy of the Woodland Trust