Windsor and Swinley Forests, which make up 50 per cent of the estate, evolved from one of the large royal hunting forests, but today have an important commercial, recreational and environmental role.
Historically the timber from these forests was used for ship construction and building; a concerned Queen Elizabeth I instructed that oak plantations be established on the estate by acorn sowing. Today the forest is managed under a multi-purpose policy, integrating the conservation of wildlife, timber production and public access. Wherever possible, major construction projects on the estate utilise our own home grown timber.
The forests are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council®.
Through selective felling and thinning, approximately 12,000 tonnes of timber will be produced every year from 2012-2016. This timber will be allocated to a number of uses, ranging from construction through to biofuel provision.
Public access and leisure
The use of our forest as an important recreational destination sees over 600,000 visits a year, mainly to The Look Out visitor centre near Bracknell.
For the best mountain biking trails, head over to Swinley Forest in Bracknell. The 24.2 kilometre network of trails have been designed to provide something for everyone, with a range of routes catering for cyclists of all abilities, from families cycling for fun to highly skilled riders. Please note that there are no mountain biking trails in Windsor Great Park.
Mountain biking routes in Swinley Forest (PDF, 0.99 MB)
This forest is also home to a 'Go Ape' high wire course.
Swinley forest in the south of the estate forms part of the Thames Valley Special Protection Area. This area is designated for its heath land habitats which support a rich population of ground nesting birds including nightjars and Dartford warblers.
The estate works closely with Natural England to protect this important habitat.