In the late 1980s, the concept of creating a new forest for the UK was conceived. An area of 200 square miles covering parts of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire was selected as the location for The National Forest, having a history of industrial decline and huge opportunities for environmental, economic and social regeneration.
In 1995, the National Forest Company was established by government to lead the creation of The National Forest though a combination of partnership development, grants to landowners, restoration of former industrial sites and community engagement. More than eight and a half million trees later, and starting from a relatively low woodland cover of 6%, forest cover has now reached more than 20% of the land area. The eventual aim is to achieve around one third forest cover throughout the whole forest area.