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Derbyshire’s Heartwood Community Forest set to flourish

Published: 29 November 2023

Derbyshire’s Heartwood Community Forest has officially set down roots with the first tree being planted as part of the government-funded initiative to improve access to nature by providing more green space in areas of the county with fewer woodlands.

Councillor Carolyn Renwick plants the first tree in Glapwell as part of Derbyshire
Councillor Carolyn Renwick, our Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Environment, plants the first tree in Glapwell as part of Derbyshire’s Heartwood Community Forest with, from left, our countryside officers Mark Hudson, Richard Bonner and Gemma Gregory.

Councillor Carolyn Renwick, our Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Environment, planted an oak tree on our countryside site on former colliery land in Glapwell, to mark the start of the forest’s creation along the eastern and southern fringes of the county. 

It follows our successful bid to develop one of 2 new Community Forests – the other being created in Tees Valley – to join the existing network of 13 England’s Community Forests. 

England’s Community Forests are located in and around large towns and cities, providing urban, economic and social regeneration, championing green infrastructure and creating high-quality environments for millions of people.  

So-called because of its location at the heart of England, Derbyshire’s Heartwood Community Forest will occupy a central position between the National Forest to the south and the Greenwood Community Forest in Nottinghamshire, providing the missing link to join up these 2 woodland areas. 

Trees will be planted on pockets of available land stretching over a geographic area of approximately 289 square miles within communities along the eastern border of the county and areas in the south of the county including: 

  • Amber Valley - Alfreton, Somercotes, Heanor, Ripley, Codnor
  • North East Derbyshire – Aston, Clay Cross, Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh, Sutton, Wingerworth, Shirland. 
  • Bolsover – Barlborough, Clowne, Bolsover, Shirebrook, Pleasley, South Normanton, Pinxton, Tibshelf, Glapwell. 
  • Chesterfield - Birdholme, Boythorpe, Brampton, Brimington, Chesterfield, Loundsley Green and Newbold, Staveley, Whittington
  • Erewash - Breadsall, West Hallam, Breaston, Horsley, Ilkeston, Long Eaton, Sandiacre. 
  • South Derbyshire - Etwall and Repton, Hilton, Melbourne, Sawley.
  • Derby. 

The project aims to plant 300,000 trees on publicly accessible land by March 2025, supporting our ambition to help facilitate the planting of a million trees by 2030.

Councillor Renwick said:

“Derbyshire is well-known for being home to the rural villages and rolling hills of the Peak District, but our county is also characterised by communities in former coalfields and industrial heartlands.

“Derbyshire’s Heartwood Community Forest will bring together these urban areas, where more than three-quarters of the county’s population of 797,000 people live, helping to provide more green space for residents on their doorstep, boosting biodiversity, improving air quality and access to nature – which we know boosts people’s health and wellbeing.

“We’re very pleased that Derbyshire has been chosen to create a Community Forest, which will also add value to Derbyshire’s tourism and visitor economy and bring the potential for the growth of new businesses and jobs in the area through nature-led regeneration of industrial landscapes.

“The next stage is to link up with local landowners to look at where we can start planting and encourage groups and individuals to take ownership and get involved in creating woodland havens in their communities to create a positive legacy for generations to come.”

Tree planting in Derbyshire’s Heartwood Community Forest will be supported by the England’s Community Forests Trees for Climate fund, part of the Government’s Nature for Climate programme. £50,000 has been awarded to fund initial development work for the new Community Forest.  

The forest will be established in 3 phases with the third phase centred around establishing a new Community Forest Charitable Trust from April 2025 onwards to manage and maintain the Community Forest in the future.  

Forestry Minister Rebecca Pow said:

“Derbyshire Heartwood Community Forest promises to be a tremendous community asset for the county. Woodlands and trees are the beating heart of so many communities – absolutely essential to supporting our health and wellbeing, alongside being home to some our most unique wildlife.

“The nation’s network of Community Forests play a really important role in contributing to our ambitions to increase tree planting across the country to meeting net zero ambitions, as well as increasing biodiversity. I look forward to seeing the progress as Derbyshire Heartwood Community Forest starts to take shape and become a woodland for generations to enjoy long into the future.”

Paul Nolan, Chair, England’s Community Forests, says: 

“It’s fantastic that we have 2 new Community Forests joining our growing partnership, bringing the total number of Community Forests up to 15. Both Derbyshire’s Heartwood Community Forest and Trees on Tees will receive key support from the government’s Nature for Climate fund through the Trees for Climate programme, helping to introduce more trees to areas most in need.

"Communities in both areas will be both part of the transformation and benefit from the creation of the forests, improving the local environment and connecting more people to nature.”

If you are a local landowner with land available to plant trees in Derbyshire’s Heartwood Community Forest area then the county council would like to hear from you, email for more information. 

Find out more about Derbyshire’s Heartwood Forest.

Find out more about England’s Community Forests.