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Upper Wharfedale Photograph by Whitfield Benson

Woodland Opportunities Map

A tool to help farmers and land managers to identify potential sites for woodland creation

An introduction to the Woodland Opportunities Map

Objective D2 of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Management Plan is to support landowners to create at least a further 450 hectares of native woodland that enhances the National Park’s landscape by 2024. One way in which we can do this is through data sharing and providing tools to aid decision making. The Woodland Opportunities Map is one such tool.

The map has been created to indicate the suitability for woodland creation within the National Park. It’s aim is for users to be able to identify the areas where woodland may be suitable on their holdings. Also they can see how this would relate to the wider area. The mapping is underpinned by the various data used to assess some of the features and conditions when considering new woodland.

Woodland creation in this instance includes native woodland planting; natural recolonisation; wood pasture; scrub creation; and individual trees. Also it is important to note that although the map focusses on woodland there are other factors which are equally important. For example management for priority species or priority habitat creation. As a result it may be that woodland creation is part of a mosaic of habitats meeting multiple aims.


The map is intended to provide information only and therefore should not be used in isolation. There are many other factors which need to be considered when making land management decisions, many of which cannot be mapped. As a result, we have created a guidance document to be used alongside the map. This document provides information on some of the limitations and descriptions of each layer. It also suggests how best to use the map and provides links to some useful supporting documents too.

The Woodland Opportunities Map is indicative only. Therefore the full consultation process will still need to be carried out. A positive score does not guarantee woodland creation is suitable. However, the opposite is also true. A negative score does not mean woodland creation cannot proceed. This is explained further in the guidance document.

Click here to launch the map

The Woodland Opportunities Map layers


These three layers overlay the category layers. They represent the land where planting is not possible.

  • ‘Existing woodland’ is the known broadleaved woodland only. As a result not all woodland is mapped.
  • ‘Urban land’ includes large settlements, individual buildings and the road and rail network too.
  • ‘Open water & river’ includes lakes, ponds, reservoirs, canals and the river network.

The Woodland Opportunities Map is split into 3 categories.

  • ‘Category 1: No Planting’ are the areas which have constraints meaning woodland creation is highly unlikely.
  • ‘Category 2: Sensitive Sites’ have features which may suit woodland creation however would need detailed planning and consultation.
  • ‘Category 3: Opportunity Score’ are the areas for which woodland creation is highly likely. A scoring system is used to reflect the balance of constraints and opportunities at each site.

Each layer provides information on category type; the opportunity score (if applicable); and links to the guidance document too.


The map is viewed on our Re:Cover mapping site. Aside from the Woodland Opportunities Map there is also content on other habitats and local projects. For more details and guidance, please visit the Re:Cover – Habitat Network Map page.

We would like to highlight that the majority of land represented on this map is under private ownership. Therefore, inclusion of any area on the map implies no automatic right of access.  Members of the public interested in visiting these areas should follow Public Rights of Way and obey the relevant rules and regulations on Open Access land unless they have prior permission to access from the landowner.

Have a comment?

We hope you find the Woodland Opportunities Map useful however we are continually looking at ways to improve the mapping. So, if you notice something that doesn’t work quite right or have any ideas on how it can be improved, please email us at

And not forgetting…..

Our thanks go to Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for their advice with creating the map. Despite the differences between our maps these are compatible to view the larger picture beyond the National Park boundary.