100 years ago, many of the forests we see in England today simply didn’t exist.

The nation’s tree cover had steadily declined since the Middle-Ages and the strain of the First World War left our woodlands in a state in disrepair.

An urgent solution was needed, which arrived in the shape of the Forestry Act, passed on 1st September 1919, and the creation of the Forestry Commission.

100 years on and the Commission has more than doubled England’s forest cover, planting more than two million acres of forest.

Over the past century, it has evolved from focusing on production to protecting wildlife, and encouraging public access and recreation.

Today, the Commission is committed to expanding and enhancing England’s forests for people and wildlife. It is planting a range of species to create forests that are resilient to climate change and tree disease.

To celebrate the milestone, the Commission has released a collection of photos from its archives to tell the story of forestry in this country, from 1919-2019.

The images can be seen and downloaded here

PK Khaira-Creswell, Director of the Forestry Commission centenary said, “While we look back over the last 100 years, we are also focused on the future. It is our job to ensure the nation’s forests are resilient to climate change and tree disease, and continue to provide sustainable timber, homes for wildlife and space for recreation.”