Woodland For Sale

Image showing woodland for sale in the UK

Sourcing Woodland For Sale

Even if you find woodland for sale, you should be aware that it is illegal to live on woodland in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. You can camp if you have permission from the owner of the land. This applies to Forestry Commission land and other public access land.

In Scotland the Land Reform Act of 2003 made it legal to temporarily live in the woods but you must respect land owners and the environment if you do so. Wild camping on woodland or in a forest area should only ever be for a limited time.

Even if you buy woodland for sale yourself you cannot automatically live on it unless you have planning permission for a legal dwelling. Local and national laws are complex regarding the siting of caravans, yurts, tents and other temporary structures.

Buying woodland for sale in the UK is usually undertaken as a property investment and not as somewhere to live.

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Image showing woodland for sale in the UK
People search for woodland for sale in the UK for various reasons, but not normally for building purposes. Photo © Christine Johnstone (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Why Do People Buy Woodland For Sale?

People purchase woodland for sale for a number of reasons. You can get a one acre patch of woodland for as little as £10,000 and use it for recreational purposes or simply sit on it and wait for the value to increase.

Some families invest in woodland and use it as a retreat from the stresses of life in the city. In fact, woodland for sale is on the increase in the UK and a relatively small area of woodland can be bought and used for picnics, sports and other relaxing pursuits.

Although you cannot build a permanent structure on woodland, you can have a tool shed and are allowed to camp for up to 28 days a year. If you have a log burner you can use the woodland as a source of fuel.

Is Wooded land A Good Property Investment?

Returns from commercial forestry can be as much as 8% a year but you must have a licence from the Forestry Commission in order to fell trees. There are tax breaks to be had for owners of wooded land but these mainly apply to commercial forestry operations where more than £40,000 has been invested.

Some woodland for sale that is a commercial operation may be classified as a business and as such is not subject to inheritance tax after two years of ownership. Wooded land for sale that is not used commercially still escapes inheritance tax after five years of ownership.

There is no capital gains tax on profits from commercially produced timber although there is a tax on the actual land. Annual returns for businesses that have invested higher sums have been 11% per annum over the last five years.

As the value of timber continues to rise, investing in woodland has proved to be a profitable enterprise.

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Photo of natural woodland for sale
There is a major difference between natural woodland and commercially planter forest. Photo © Roger Kidd (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Where Can I Find Woodland For Sale?

The best place to find woodland for sale is a specialist woodland sales company. There are several websites that provide this service which make buying and selling woodland a simple process.

Some sellers concentrate on land in a specific area of the UK, especially via land property auctions. Typical popular areas are property auctions in Wales and Yorkshire property auctions. Others cover all parts of the UK including Scotland where buying is subject to different laws to other parts of the country.

Buying woodland for sale in the UK is regarded as a longer term investment and not a property development opportunity.

How Much Is An Acre Of Woodland?

Prices for woodland for sale vary considerably and if you only want to buy one acre of land it is more expensive than buying a larger plot. You could expect to pay from between £10,000 to £15,000 when buying an individual acre depending on the location.

Conversely, if you can afford to buy a larger amount of land you could get a hundred acres for £600,000 which works out at £6,000 per acre.

Photo of commercial woodland for sale
Buying commercial woodland, or forest specifically planted for harvesting, is regarded as a longer term investment in the UK. Photo © P L Chadwick (cc-by-sa/2.0)

What you pay will depend upon a lot of factors. If the woodland for sale is close to utilities like water and electricity or if it has a legal barn or outbuilding already standing the cost will go up.

A lot of farmland advertised for sale has covenants attached i.e. restrictions on what you can and cannot do on the land. A covenant may prevent you from using the land for a particular type of business. If the land is near to housing there may also be restrictions.

Woodland FAQ

Can I Buy Woodland For Sale?

Woodland is for sale in many parts of the UK. The value of land in the UK is still rising and buying woodland is becoming very popular. For a relatively small amount you can buy your own woodland that can be used for recreational purposes.

Can I Build A House On Woodland?

You are not allowed to build any structure on woodland unless it is for the purposes of forestry. In this case the erection of a shed, outbuilding or shelter is allowed. You cannot build a permanent dwelling. A caravan is allowed as long as it is not intended for residential purposes.

Can People Claim The Right To Roam Over My Woodland?

If your wooded land is subject to the Countryside Rights Of Way Act 2000 the public are allowed to walk through your woodland. You can close the area if you are working the land, harvesting or engaging in a sporting event. Where there is no public footpath anyone walking across your land would be trespassing.

Tree Planting On Woodland

Buying a few acres of land in order to plant trees sounds like a good idea especially as the Woodland Trust encourages projects like this to aid ecology of the land. However, there are some practicalities to think about before you go ahead with your plans for a large area of woodland.

If you own the land you can plant trees otherwise you need written permission from the owner. Some land is not suitable for planting trees. Specifically, land that is inhabited by rare or protected species, wetland, heath-land and any land that has archaeological significance.

Land that has cables or underground pipes running through it must be avoided. Spacing trees is important and take into account how much maintenance will be required to keep the woodland in the best condition.

If a public footpath goes across the land you must not block off access. The best option is to contact the Forestry Commission for advice about tree planting but importantly think carefully about the land use before you begin your search for wooded land for sale anywhere in the UK.

Image showing forestry commission land in the UK
The Forestry Commission may be able to advise you when it comes to buying or using a particular piece of woodland in the UK. Photo © Jim Barton (cc-by-sa/2.0)

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Maintaining Woodland

No two wooded areas are alike. Although you may think that you can leave a wood alone and it will attract wildlife there are some simple things you can do to make your wood easy to keep up and more attractive to a variety of species.

Lowland woods benefit if old tracks and paths are kept open. This allows light to filter in and will help to encourage grasses and wildflowers as well as small creatures. Leave some of the dead wood that has fallen and this will boost insects which attract beautiful birds like woodpeckers.

Clear a space if you want to plant new saplings but remember to employ an expert if you want to fell some trees. Woodland will require thinning at some point so that the wood is not choked and light can aid the growth of new plants and trees. There is a host of information about how to maintain woodland on the Royal Forestry Society website.

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