The National Forest is an environmental project in central England run by The National Forest Company. From the 1990s, 200 square miles (520 km2) of north Leicestershire, south Derbyshire and southeast Staffordshire have been planted in an attempt to blend ancient woodland with newly planted areas to create a new national forest. It stretches from the western outskirts of Leicester in the east to Burton upon Trent in the west, and is planned to link the ancient forests of Needwood and Charnwood.
The National Forest Company is a not-for-profit organisation established in April 1995 as a company limited by guarantee. It is supported by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), with the aim of converting one third of the land within the boundaries of the National Forest (135 km2, 33,000 acres) to woodland, by encouraging landowners to alter their land use. It is described as "a forest in the making" and it is hoped to increase tourism and forestry-related jobs in the area.
Around 8.5 million trees have been planted, more than tripling the woodland cover from 6% to 20%.
The transformation of the landscape is beginning to take effect as the first tiny whips planted in the early 1990s are growing into substantial trees.
At the centre of the National Forest, is Conkers, a visitor centre located just outside the village of Moira, Leicestershire. There is also a visitor centre with wildlife walks and playgrounds at Rosliston.
Other attractions include: