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Forest of Burnley

Aims, Achievements and Partners 

Prior to 1997 only 3% of Burnley supported woodland cover, compared to an average of 8% in England and 23% in Europe. The Forest of Burnley was therefore established to:

  1. Create 500 hectares (over 1,200 acres) of new woodland to double the woodland cover of the District
  2. Restore 200 hectares (500 acres) of existing woodland
  3. Plant an urban arboretum comprising 2,000 specimen trees
  4. Establish an arts and education programme to encourage people to appreciate trees and understand their importance in and around the town of Burnley over a five year period between 1997-2001

Aims and Funding

Funded by a lottery grant from the Millennium Commission and Forestry Commission grants, with additional sponsorship from local businesses and donations from local groups and individuals the project aims to double woodland cover in Burnley and create a legacy of thriving woodlands and urban trees for ours and future generations to enjoy.

The project also developed arts and education linked to the Forest through various events such as 9 annual woodland festivals, the creation of a sculpture trails and the involvement of local school children in tree planting. Over 6,000 pupils have been involved, with most of Burnley's 6 to 11 year olds between 1997 and 2001 having had a tree planting experience.


The Forest of Burnley has brought 200 hectares of existing woodland into management; planted 2,700 arboretum trees; created over 430 hectares of new, mostly native, with 1.1 million new trees and open land to accommodate paths, rides, wild flower areas and wetland. 32 kilometres of new path and bridleway have been created and existing paths repaired in co-operation with Elwood, Lancashire County Council and United Utilities.


Forest of Burnley is a partner in the Elwood (East Lancashire woodlands) organisation which is continuing to fund similar work throughout Burnley and East Lancashire. (Tel: 01282  430433).

In 2004 we created a Wayside Arts trail for walkers between Towneley and Crown Point/ Dunnockshaw woodlands in conjunction with Mid Pennine Arts and United utilities, as part of the Land and Panoptican projects. The Singing Ringing Tree Panopticon sculture (2006) is on the Trail near Crown Point. We have published a series of 12 guided walks around Forest of Burnley sites in the Burnley Express, and have produced walking leaflets for Theiveley, Towneley, Padiham and Rowley in addition to the Towneley Sculpture Trail.

We are assisted regularly with planting/ woodland maintenance work parties by Trees for Burnley Volunteers, and Myerscough and Burnley Colleges and other students.

To become involved as a volunteer or for information leaflets, please contact Keith Wilson, Forest of Burnley woodlands officer.

Forest of Burnley: The Future

We are committed to maintain and nurture the schemes for years to come and the help of volunteers will be vital. If you would like to become more involved please contact the Forest of Burnley or Trees for Burnley, our local volunteer group.

A partnership called Elwood (East Lancashire Woodlands) has been launched to carry on the work of the Forest of Burnley and others right across East Lancashire. Elwood has already started tapping into funding to assist the Forest of Burnley in the future and other woodland projects in East Lancashire.

Tree Warden scheme

Tree wardens are a national force of local volunteers dedicated to their communities' trees.

The tree warden scheme gives people who feel that trees matter an opportunity to:

  • Champion their local trees and woods

  • Play an active role in protecting and improving them

  • Get together with others for training and practical activities

Forest of Burnley are hoping to expand the network of tree wardens. 

If you are interested please ring Keith Wilson

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