A LARGE area of land has been purchased to form part of the Government's plans to create the Great Northumberland Forest.

Forestry England’s north district has bought 100 hectares at Monkridge, West Woodburn, to form part of the forest which will see woodland cover increase in Northumberland through three new public forests, covering up to 500 hectares.

This land will be part of Rushy Knowe forest, a new 145 hectare woodland on land Forest England already manages on the shore of Kielder Water.

The land at Monkridge, just eight miles from Kielder, had been screened by Forest Services under the Environmental Impact Assessment regulations - the equivalent of planning permission for creating a new woodland.

Jim Lee, Area land agent for Forestry England’s North England Forest District, said: “This is the first significant area of land we have bought to plant trees in over 20 years and marks a symbolic return, 100 years on, to our first purpose of woodland creation.”

The Government announced proposals in October to create the Great Northumberland Forest.