Is Woodland Still For Sale?

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The government did a political U-turn this week in regards to selling off forestry, they have put a temporary halt on the idea and the environment secretary Caroline Spelman admitted that she was very surprised at the scale of the opposition to the plan.  Instead this autumn there will be an independent panel meeting to discuss forestry policy and then report back.  However this action does not mean that you cannot buy woodland at the moment and if anything there seems to be more interest at the moment due to it being in the spotlight. 

People buy woodland for different reasons, sometimes it is a group of villagers who buy woodland together as they are scared of a private developer coming in and doing something with it.  Most people buy woodland because they enjoy it and so when a leaked report late last year stated that forestry may be sold off by the Forestry Commission more than half a million people signed an online petition even though they may not have set foot in one for years.  Celebrities got involved which added more fuel to the fire.

Angus Hanton is a man who appreciates woods ever since his family bought one when he was 13 years old.  They bought about 60 acres and his love of the woodland began.  He set up a company that specialises in selling woods and sells around 100 parcels of woodland every year.  Normally they are around seven acres in size and costs around £35,000.  However he admits that in the last three or four years prices have risen by about 50%.  The company says that it manages to conserve and manage woodland by selling it this way.  January saw the company double its expected sales.  Usually the company buys land from the Forestry Commission and splits it up into smaller plots and sells to families who use the woodland as a hobby.  Camping is quite popular. 

There is no stamp duty on woodland bought for £150,000 or less and there is no council tax or business rates.  Planning permission is always difficult to obtain on woodland so if that is your intention when looking at woodland then you may be in for a disappointment.  Tents can be erected on woodland but caravans cannot stay in one place for more than 28 days in a year. If you are thinking of making a living off any woodland you buy it is worth knowing that firewood sells for about £70 per ton but it has to be chopped and delivered for this.  So woodland can be an investment long term but mainly it is a hobby for families to enjoy.


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