Strategic decision making for England’s largest land manager
Welcoming over 230 million visitors a year to its 600,000 acres of woodland, Forestry England must balance its responsibilities for visitor access and recreation, commercial forestry and the protection and enhancement of the nation’s forests. This requires strategic decision-making at a national level that considers the demands from a multitude of stakeholders for green infrastructure, woodland management, recreation, access, income generation from forest-based enterprises and sustainable timber production.
Rural Solutions worked with Forestry England to review the contribution of certain recreational land use arrangements against the organisation’s objectives, to help shape future land use strategies, operational and management arrangements.
To assess the issues and opportunities associated with two key activities on the Forestry England estate; motorsports and camping, and to inform future decision-making on the nature, scale and operating model for these activities.
Both projects took an evidence-based approach, gathering and analysing operational data relating to users, events, bookings, operators, stakeholders, communities and market supply and demand economics to assess challenges and opportunities.
For motorsports, Rural Solutions undertook a comprehensive stakeholder consultation process which included national sporting governing bodies, communities, National Park authorities, event organisers and participants to gain insight into actual, and perceived impacts of motorsports activities in the forests.
Following a detailed appraisal of the current camping operations on Forestry England sites, we then managed the process to take the exciting new opportunity to manage the 13 Forestry England Camping sites (formerly managed by Camping In The Forest) to market. A tender process sought to find new operators and a financially sustainable operating model that encourages investment into the sites to improve the offer and outcomes for Forestry England.
The motorsports appraisal informed the design of a decision-making framework which now provides Forestry England with a governance structure to ensure only the right events, in the right places, at the right times, are permitted on the forestry estate.
New operators have been found for 11 of the 13 campsites and are due to open sites once again in Spring 2023
Camping, glamping, lodges and more
Experiential tourist accommodation in fantastic locations from tents and touring to treehouses.