Woodland Trust plans to grow the largest continuous native forest in England are a step closer as they plan to buy an 850-acre site in Hertfordshire.

The Woodland Trust will plant more than 600,000 on the site near Sandridge, St Albans, and it will take shape in about 12 years.

England has lost half its ancient woodland since the 1930s.

The forest will cost £8.5 million for the first five years, including site purchase, planting and maintenance. It is located in Hertfordshire, within the London Greenbelt, a Biodiversity Priority Area and within the Chilterns ancient woodland concentration.

Sue Holden, Woodland Trust chief executive, said: ‘Our plans for the new forest at Sandridge … offer an unmissable opportunity to plant such a huge number of trees and benefit so many people.

‘We estimate that two million people live within 15 miles of Sandridge alone. Our new wood will provide a large and accessible space for people at a time when there is huge pressure to develop and build on land in the south east.’

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