Woodland For Sale

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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, however some people do buy a woodland for sale for living off grid in the UK.

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.

Photo showing woodland for sale with limited access
One of the issues when buying woodland for sale in the UK is often access to the property. Photo © Trevor Littlewood (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Is Buying Woodland 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.

Property Resources:

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

Where Can I Find A Small Woodland For Sale?

The best place to find a small 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.

Buying woodland for sale, even if it is a small woodland, 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.

Average Per Acre Price Of UK Woodland

Type of WoodlandAverage UK Price per Acre (£)
Woodland per acre£3,500
Woodland with cabin£5,000
Council woodland£1,500
Small woodland£3,000
Cheap woodland£1,000
Forest land per acre£2,500

Buying A Woodland

Before you consider buying a woodland for sale in the UK there are a few issues you should take account of before spending your money. The last thing you need is to buy a woodland and find out you cannot use it for the reasons you bought it.

Before buying a woodland in the UK:

  • Do your homework before you buy woodland: Even if it has no building, you should still have a survey done to make certain there are no unexpected surprises, such as access to your woodland or a real risk of flooding, subsidence or landslips.
  • Buying a woodland to live on: This is a very grey area and your right to live in a woodland you own will vary depending on what part of the UK you are in. Before buying a woodland to live on, such as in a caravan or a cabin, check with your local authority.
  • Growing vegetables or grazing animals: Again, make sure this is something you can actually do before buying a woodland. Your local council should be able to advise you on the usage rights of any piece of land for sale in the UK, including woodland.
  • Buying a woodland at auction: You can buy woodland in the UK at auction, but you still need to do your research before purchasing. The details will be in the property auction catalogue, so conduct your surveys, visit the property and talk to neighbours. Never buy a woodland on a whim at a property auction.
  • Cutting down trees: Before you buy a woodland you should check it’s usage rights and whether it is protected or not, or part of a national park. Do not cut down trees in your own woodland before checking if you are allowed to do so.
Image showing a woodland for sale in the UK
Before buying a woodland in the UK, check with your local authority that you can use it for the purpose you intend to. Some woodlands are protected or have other restrictions.

Woodland For Sale With Cabin

If you are specifically looking for a woodland for sale with a cabin located within the woodland, be careful. Just because there may be a cabin in the woodland, it does not mean you will have the right to live there permanently.

These laws vary greatly depending on your part of the UK. For example, you may be able to live in a cabin on your woodland in the UK for a period of the year, such as up to six months, and the cabin may be classed as a temporary building. However, this does not grant you permission to build, extend, renovate or move into the cabin in your woodland on a permanent basis.

In more rural parts of Scotland many people new to the area think that because there is a cabin in the woodland for sale, it means there is an existing building. While this may be the case, you need to check with your local authorities before you purchase a woodland for sale with a cabin on the land.

The safest form of action is not to make any assumptions, even if it is a very remote building or the area is very isolated. Talk with your local council before purchasing any wooded land even if there is a cabin there before you buy.

Photo of a woodland for sale with cabin on the land inside the trees
Looking for a woodland for sale with a cabin already located is less common in the UK but this can be a legal minefield. Speak to your local authorities before buying. Photo © Julian Paren (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Buying UK woodland for sale with a cabin on the property can come with certain drawbacks. Firstly, owning a property in a remote woodland area can mean that access to amenities and services can be limited, and maintenance costs for the cabin and surrounding land may be higher.

Secondly, owning a cabin in a woodland may also bring environmental responsibilities such as managing the surrounding land and ensuring that it remains sustainable. Lastly, UK woodland properties may be subject to specific laws and regulations, such as restrictions on tree cutting and use of the land, which can impact the property’s value and potential uses.

Potential buyers of woodland should research the property and surrounding area thoroughly and consult with legal and environmental experts to fully understand these potential drawbacks.

Photo of a mixed woodland for sale in England.
Finding a mixed woodland for sale is not just about buying property, its also about maintaining the woods. Photo © Andrew Tryon (cc-by-sa/2.0)

What does buying woodland in the UK entail?

Buying woodland in the UK involves identifying suitable properties, understanding any land restrictions or protections, and assessing access and management needs. It’s also important to consider the woodland’s ecological value and potential for conservation or recreation.

How can I find woodland for sale in the UK?

Woodland for sale in the UK can be found through specialised estate agents, online property portals, and woodland management organisations. Networking with local forestry groups and checking local listings can also be beneficial for uncovering available properties.

What are the typical costs associated with owning woodland in the UK?

Owning woodland in the UK involves initial purchase costs, potentially including stamp duty. Ongoing expenses include maintenance, insurance, and property taxes. There may also be costs for forestry management, especially if commercial activities are involved.

Can I build structures on woodland I purchase in the UK?

Building on purchased woodland in the UK is generally restricted. Planning permission is required for permanent structures. Temporary structures for forestry management are usually acceptable, but it’s important to consult local planning authorities for specific regulations.

What are the benefits of owning woodland in the UK?

Benefits of owning woodland in the UK include opportunities for conservation, recreation, and potentially income. It also offers a peaceful retreat and can contribute to environmental sustainability by preserving natural habitats.

Woodland With Planning Permission For Sale

Generally speaking, it is very unlikely you will find woodland with planning permission for sale. In most cases, wooded land is protected from most forms of development.

If you are actually wanting to live in your wooded land, it may be better to look for a woodland with a cabin, such as a log cabin or other existing structure. Most of the time building can only take place if there is a cleared area or an adjacent piece of land which is not wooded.

If your requirements are finding a piece of woodland with planning permission, we advise you to take advice before making any purchase of wooded land, even if it is for sale by auction. Never presume you will get planning permission for woodland as, most likely, you will not.

Before buying any wooded land, talk to your local planning authority and check the local bylaws that may affect any application you make. You should still do this even if you see an advertised woodland with planning permission.

Image of a UK woodland with planning permission for sale.
It may be possible to find woodland with planning permission for sale if there is an adjacent clear area of land. Photo © Mike Faherty (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Finding A Small Woodland For Sale

While many people like the idea of finding a small woodland for sale and taking the plunge to purchase it, you have to be pragmatic as to how you will use it. More importantly is what you are allowed to do with it.

There are some facts such as the location of the wooded land, the size and access to the land. Even the type of trees can affect the site and before beginning your search for a small woodland for sale you should investigate these matters.

Don’t make any assumptions about what you can do with the land and before purchasing any lots, even a small woodland, talk to your local authority to make sure you are not on course to breach local bylaws.

The ideal situation for many would be to find a small woodland with a cabin which could be lived in but, realistically, this is not very common in the UK and you will almost certainly not get permission to build any kind of structure in a small woodland. Again, speak to your local council before embarking on any purchase.

Image of a small woodland for sale in the UK
While it is entirely possible to buy a small woodland for sale in the UK, you may be restricted in what you can do with your wooded land. Photo © Trevor Littlewood (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Private Woodland For Sale Near Me

To find a private woodland for sale near you, the most effective approach is to engage with specialised estate agents who deal with rural properties such as private woodland. These agents possess the expertise and local networks essential for locating available private woodlands for sale.

You could also make a direct deal with a landowner in order to purchase a private woodland. This could be a country estate or local farmer who may be willing to sell you a woodland in a private deal where the land does not appear on the property market.

Photo of a private woodland for sale
You can find a private woodland for sale near you by making deal with a local landowner. Photo © Andrew Tryon (cc-by-sa/2.0)

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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