Where is the North East Community Forest?

The North East Community Forest was formally established on July 21 2021, after a successful expression of interest was made to both England Community Forests and the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

It is overseen by the North East Community Forest partnership, and a dedicated Forest Team, with Newcastle City Council acting as the accountable body, and employment and fund holding authority.


The North East Community Forest (NECF) covers 1,503 square kilometres of North East England, including the entire geographical boundaries of Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, and Sunderland, plus, the main urban areas of County Durham.

The entirety of Durham is not included because England Community Forests cover urban or peri-urban areas (that is, immediately adjacent to a city or urban area), while the county also includes large rural areas.

An interactive map of the NECF can be found here.

  • You can zoom in and out and move around the map
  • The magnifying glass icon in the top right is an address search
  • There is the option for an aerial photography view in the bottom left corner
  • In the top right corner is a layers button to switch on and off various useful layers
  • These layers are interactive and you can click on them for more information.

Community Forest (CF) projects and programmes can operate:

  • within an Community Forest's boundary
  • cross-boundary or next to a CF, where activity is delivered by a CF and delivery benefits the Forest Plan
  • outside of the CF boundary, where there are clear and demonstrable benefits to communities covered by the Forest Plan (this is on an exceptional basis only)

Previous forest strategies for England suggest a 10-mile area around Community Forests is used when assessing projects.

Within this 10-mile 'halo':

  • sites within 3 miles of CF boundary will only need simple, low levels of justification (for example same landownership, part of existing cross-boundary designation/vision);
  • sites between 3 and 6 miles from the CF boundary will need clear justification for the site being supported  (for example strategic CF partner landownership, CF preferred delivery mechanism), indicating the benefits to communities, nature, economy within the designated CF
  • sites beyond 6 miles will need significant justification, such as being large- scale (for example over 50 hectares) or a strategically important site, with Defra being notified at the outset