Forest of Avon Community Forest

Forest of Avon Community Forest

The Forest of Avon is part of a national programme of Community Forests across England. So far, well over a million trees have been planted in and around Bristol and many woodlands & access networks have been improved. 


Inspired by Amsterdam's Bos Park and the German stadtwalder, the first three Community Forests were established in 1989. Pioneering work was undertaken to bring together a wide-range of interests in partnerships to agree comprehensive land-use plans, guiding strategic tree planting, whilst conserving & enhancing the wider natural environment (all with a strong community dimension and focused on delivering public benefit). Whilst titles for strategic land use planning to deliver public benefits have and will continue to change, they are essentially reworking Community Forest principles. 

The coherent & strategic planning of the Forest of Avon and the long-term partnership work to create it, have delivered significant public benefits to the Bristol & Avon area. It is encouraging that Defra is increasingly recognising the role of the Community Forests, which may underpin this successful programme in to the long-term.

The Forest of Avon Plan

The Forest of Avon was established in 1992. The Forest’s creation is guided by an detailed Forest Plan, which sets out strategies for the Forest’s creation over 221 square miles of land in and around Bristol. The Forest Plan was approved by a partnership of the Forestry Commission, the Countryside Agency (now Natural England) and the four West of England authorities in in 1995 and an updated version in 2002.

In 2005, all of the West of England authorities and Parish Councils which would be ‘affected’ agreed to formally extending the Forest of Avon’s boundary to all of Avon outside the Area’s of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The detailed strategy does not include this additional area, but Community Forest principles of strategic (and coherent)  landscape enhancement, community involvement and partnership working can be applied to it. The Forest of Avon Trust can advise on this.

For advice on how the Forest of Avon Community Forest can provide a framework for sustainable development in the west of England sub-region (Avon), please contact Jon Clark (CMLI MRTPI) here.

 The Forest Plan can be accessed in the document viewer below:

Planning Policy Guidance

If you would like to discuss how you may be able to contribute to the creation of the Forest of Avon, please contact Chartered Town Planner and Landscape Architect: Jon Clark

In 2005, the Forest of Avon was formally extended to cover the whole of Avon outside The Cotswolds and Mendips AONBs. Whilst the formal Forest Partnership ended in 2009, the Forest of Avon Trust (an independent charity) was formed to campaign for the strategic principles of the Community Forest and to deliver practical action.

The Forest Plan still has considerable relevance to the Avon area, being conceived, approved and delivered by a broad partnership of organisations and encompassing all aspects of the conservation and enhancement of Avon’s (the West of England’s) countryside.

In 2005, the four Avon (West of England) authorities adopted the following policy guidance:

Highly relevant today, this sets the context for S106/ CIL agreements to create the Forest

Support our Work to Create the Forest of Avon Community Forest