On August 13 Royal Mail will issue a set of six stamps entitled Forests, to mark the 100th anniversary of the Forestry Commission.

The Forestry Commission, a non-ministerial government department, was established in 1919 to manage and replenish the UK’s timber resources, which had been severely depleted during World War I. It bought so much former agricultural land that it became the largest landowner in Britain.

It was also responsible for the regulation of private forestry, and later diversified into scientific research, protecting biodiversity and providing recreational opportunities, in the form of hiking and biking trails.

Although the Commission is no longer responsible for Wales and Scotland, the stamps illustrate forests across the United Kingdom, with photographic views which aim to capture their character and variety. They are sites of industrial, ecological and recreational importance, contributing to biodiversity and flood prevention.

Designed by Up, the stamps were printed in litho by International Security Printers and are available in vertically se-tenant pairs.

1st class Glen Affric

A national nature reserve since 2002, Glen Affric is one of the Caledonian pine forests of the Highlands of Scotland. It is also noted for its alder, aspen, birch, rowan and willow, for rare plants and lichens, and as the haunt of elusive birds such as the capercaillie and black grouse.

1st class Westonbirt, The National Arboretum

Established in 1829 in the Cotswolds in Gloucesterhire, the National Arboretum is part working woodland, part botanical collection. Managed by the Forestry Commission since 1956, it has 18,000 trees and shrubs in 600 acres, including rare and exotic specimens which are labelled for the benefit of visitors.

£1.55 Sherwood Forest

A national nature reserve, Sherwood Forest is the surviving remnant of a much larger royal hunting forest, which according to the Domesday Book covered about a quarter of Nottinghamshire in Norman times, and extended into neighbouring countries. It has ancient oak trees, is an important site for invertebrates and fungi, and is closely linked to the legend of Robin Hood.

£1.55 Coed y Brenin

Welsh for ‘King’s Forest’, Coed y Brenin occupies 9,000 acres of the Snowdonia national park in Gwynedd. Now owned and operated by Natural Resources Wales, it has become an especially popular venue for mountain biking.

£1.60 Glenariff Forest

One of the nine glens of Antrim, and known as 'the Queen of the Glens', Glenariff has a 3,000-acre plantation of coniferous trees managed by the Northern Ireland Forest Service. It is renowned for its three waterfalls, linked by a walking trail.

£1.60 Kielder Forest

First planted in the 1920s, on what was previously open moorland the Kielder Forest in Northumberland is the largest man-made woodland in England, occupying 250 square miles, Surrounding the Kielder Water reservoir, it is dominated by conifers such as spruce and pine.

 

OTHER PRODUCTS

The presentation pack explores the evolution of British forests from Neolithic times to the present day, and the diversity of their flora and fauna.

A first day cover and stamp cards are available as usual.

 

PRICES

Set of 6 stamps   £7.70

Presentation pack   £8.50

Stamp cards   £2.70

First day cover   £9.85

 

VERDICT

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH   3/5

The Forestry Commission is rarely at the forefront of our minds, but does manage vast swathes of countryside

QUALITY OF DESIGN   3/5

It’s all about the quality of the photography, which is attractive and colourful

WOW FACTOR   2/5

Landscapes are notorious for not looking their best at stamp size, but the wide format should help