While the idea of an English forest may conjure visions of bucolic woods and glades extending as far as the eye can see, the Mersey Forest, located across Merseyside and Cheshire in the north of England, includes urban cores, suburban fringes, and converted industrial plots.
In the early 1990s, residents in the area, along with a collective of local governments, landowners, nonprofits, and environmental agencies, joined forces to counteract the effects of urban sprawl, abandoned manufacturing sites, and lack of easy access to nature in their area. This ambitious long-term plan for replanting trees and creating woodlands is just one of 13 designated Community Forests across the United Kingdom that are transforming the landscape and neighborhoods in and around the largest towns and cities.
The Mersey Forest is also a cornerstone of the Northern Forest initiative, which aims to establish at least 50 million trees by 2043 that will help reforest land from the Mersey River and Liverpool to the city of Hull on the North Sea. This green passage will improve quality of life for 13 million residents, foster biodiversity, and create bio corridors for wildlife like beavers and even wild lynx.