A HUGE new woodland with 150,000 new trees is set to be planted as part of the Lower Thames Crossing Plans.

The forest, the size of 135 football pitches, will be built near the M25 in Great Warley, Brentwood, and will provide vital habitat for native species, from mammals to invertebrates and birds to fungi.

The forest could also include facilities such as a cafe, education centre, and a community orchard.

New public paths may link to a footbridge across the M25 to create an uninterrupted walking and cycling route between other nearby woodlands, such as Folkes Lane Woodland, Thorndon Country Park and the wider area of the Thames Chase Community Forest. 

The Lower Thames Crossing is a proposed road crossing of the Thames estuary close to the Dartford Crossing.


Forestry England will carry out a consultation later this year to seek the public’s feedback on plans for the site. 

The new woodland is part of Highways England’s commitment to increase biodiversity along England’s Strategic Road Network by 2050, and will go ahead regardless of consent being granted for the Lower Thames Crossing.

Highways England has today (Wednesday 2 June) announced a new woodland the size of 135 football pitches will be planted in partnership with Forestry England, alongside the route of the proposed Lower Thames Crossing.

Mike Seddon, Chief Executive of Forestry England said: “We know how important high-quality, local greenspace is to people as well as the country’s ambition to plant new woods and forests.

"We have been creating and managing community woodlands for decades and are excited to be working with Highways England and looking forward to hearing from the local community. This will become a great addition to the nation’s woodlands.” 

Matt Palmer, Executive Director for the Lower Thames Crossing said: "The Lower Thames Crossing is the most ambitious road scheme in a generation, because as well as improving your journey and supporting 22,000 jobs, it will enhance the natural environment and leave a positive green legacy for our neighbours. 

“The plans for Hole Farm community woodland are part of our commitments to increase biodiversity alongside our major routes and I look forward to working with Forestry England to create a green space for the whole local community to enjoy for generations.” 

Chris Hossack, the Leader of Brentwood Borough Council said:  

“Brentwood Borough Council is excited to support the Lower Thames Crossing in the establishment and provision of a new country park and the planting of 150,000 trees within the borough.

"This major acquisition will provide improvements in biodiversity, carbon capture and air quality while extending the outdoor leisure, recreational and educational provisions in Brentwood.

"This opportunity is great news for Brentwood but also provides a major boost to the greening plans for the South Essex Region.”

The site will be managed by Forestry England, the country’s largest land manager, on behalf of Highways England.