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A Vision of Woodland For All

July 4, 2012

A vision of woodland for all

Ramblers celebrates report on future of forests

Public forests should be protected and the nation should aspire to woodland access for all – according to today’s (4 July) Independent Panel report on Forestry which has been welcomed by Britain’s Walking Charity.

The Ramblers has continually campaigned not only for the protection of public forests but for increased access to all woodland; to bring the benefits of woodland access for recreation, health and well-being to people across England. The Ramblers vision of a future where access to both private and public woodland is the norm has been taken onboard by the Panel. Their report outlines an aspiration for a future where all people can access a local wood; a future where the Public Forest Estate is protected and access to the 82% of England’s woodland not in public ownership is increased.

The Independent Panel on Forestry was set up last year in response to the huge public outcry over the proposed sale of public woodland.

The Ramblers is urging the Government to once and for all abandon the sell-off of the Public Forest Estate, to take forward the Panel’s proposals and set a firm target for increasing access to non-public woodland – so that the dream of all people being able to go for a local walk in the woods can be realised. Today the baton has been firmly handed back to Government to put targets and measures in place which will achieve the Panel’s vision. The Ramblers will continue to work to help the aspirations of this report to become a reality and we call on the Government to move forward as soon as possible.

Benedict Southworth, Ramblers Chief Executive, said: “Today’s announcement will be good news for the thousands of walkers and woodland lovers who protested against the proposed sale of public woodland last year.

“An Independent Panel, which included representatives from landowners and industry, has told us something that we all knew in our hearts to be true: all English people should have access to a walk in the woods.

“The aspiration of the report is one which not only sees the continuation of a strong Public Forest Estate but a future where every person has access to a local woodland – something which the Ramblers has campaigned passionately for.

“We will continue to work to help make this aspiration a reality and urge the Government to put concrete measures in place to move this vision forward.”

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