back Parkhurst Forest


Forestry Commission

The entrance to this wood can be found approximately 1 mile west, along the A3054 from Newport. OS Grid Reference: SZ 472 906

The attractive setting of the car park and adjacent picnic site is the start point of two themed trails, taking the walker along pleasant contrasting routes through the forest. There is a wayfaring course for the more energetic and a horse riding route open to permit holders.

Harvesting operations in Parkhurst Forest
The activity is part of ongoing forest management operations as set out in the Forestry Commissions Forest Design Plan. Michael Pittock, the Forestry Commission’s Isle of Wight Area Manager, said “Visitors will notice a lot of new activity in parts of the forest, but there’s no cause for alarm. The works will look quite dramatic at first and will include the thinning and felling of some areas of trees. Tree harvesting enables light to reach the forest floor and this stimulates the cycle of vegetation growth and forest regeneration. As non-native tree species are gradually removed through our ancient and native woodland restoration programme a combination of natural regeneration and restocking with site native broadleaves will maintain woodland cover. This is a working forest, and we are looking forward to seeing the benefits to wildlife and people that come with harvesting timber”.

One such species that will benefit from this active management is the nationally scarce Pearl Bordered Fritillary Butterfly which on the Isle of Wight is now solely restricted to Parkhurst Forest. Dr Dan Hoare, Senior Regional Officer for Butterfly Conservation, said: “It is great news for wildlife that the Forestry Commission is carrying out this work as part of its long-term plans at Parkhurst Forest. Harvesting trees is an important part of the cycle of woodland management, and it’s essential for the survival of the Pearl-bordered Fritillary on the Isle of Wight. This management will benefit a range of wildlife that uses these sunny rides and clearings within the wood, and the natural regeneration of flowers and native shrubs that follows tree-felling will provide different habitats over the next few years”.

People may be concerned about the impact the tree felling will have on the resident red squirrels. The operations may mean some red squirrels will have to move to other parts of the forest temporarily. The Forest Design Plan includes several areas designed as red squirrel feeding reserves and over the long term, conditions will be improved by the felling of dark areas of non native conifer trees as new food sources are created.

Dr Colin Pope the Senior Ecology Officer for the Isle of Wight Council said “This is excellent news for the biodiversity of Parkhurst Forest. In recent years there has been comparatively little in the way of felling in the southern part of the forest and the special plants and animals dependent upon open flowery and heathland conditions have suffered. Species such as pearl-bordered fritillary, grizzled skipper, nightjar and woodcock should benefit directly from this work whilst longer term, conditions will be improved for red squirrels”.

People will also benefit from the operations, as the area of recreational grassland will be increased around the car park to provide better facilities for people play and to have picnics. Signs will be erected when work is in progress. Access to areas where work is underway will be restricted but provided visitors observe the safety signs they will be able to continue to enjoy the forest as usual.