The National School of Forestry

  • Explore the Lakes

    Our Ambleside campus offers an excellent base for exploring the beautiful lakes, mountains and fells of the Lake District - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • Excellent reputation

    Home to the National School of Forestry, we have a strong reputation for producing award-winning, professional graduates who now occupy some of the most senior positions in the forestry and woodland sector.

  • Hands on

    With our practical approach, you'll have plenty of opportunity to do hands on forestry

  • Career focused

    Our excellent links with the Royal Forestry Society, Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) and many other forestry organisations provide the opportunity to develop your professional networks

  • Accredited courses

    Our courses are accredited by the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF), the professional body of the forestry sector

The National School of Forestry is the largest provider of undergraduate forestry and woodland courses in England and Wales.

We have over 50 years of educating and training professional foresters and achieve high levels of student satisfaction on our courses and high levels of employability.

The National School of Forestry

The University of Cumbria is home to the National School of Forestry and has a strong reputation for producing award-winning, professional graduates who now occupy some of the most senior positions in the forestry and woodland sector. All of our forestry courses are designed to provide you with the skills to enable you to contribute to the future sustainable management of our forests.

The National School of Forestry was established by an Act of Parliament in 1965 to provide professional forestry training in response to the closure of the Forestry Commission’s own chain of Forestry Schools scattered throughout the country. For over 40 years, the School was based at Newton Rigg near Penrith, until the historic move to its new site at Ambleside in 2014. The School is now part of the University of Cumbria and retains its distinctive identity whilst being able to draw on a wider range of expertise and skills within this larger organisation.

The National School of Forestry enjoys an enviable position at the heart of the sector through partnerships, student placements, joint working, research, consultancy, continuing professional development (CPD) and involvement with professional bodies.

90.5% of our graduates are in work or further study within six months of graduating (DLHE 2017).

Why study Forestry at the University of Cumbria?


As a Forestry student at the University of Cumbria you'll also be a member of the National School of Forestry, giving you direct access to up-to-date and relevant programmes taught by expert teaching staff. The school also has strong links to all parts of the forestry sector and an extremely good record of helping graduates forge careers in forestry.


As part of your studies you'll be encouraged to take full advantage of your local surroundings in the Lake District and will enjoy plenty of hands-on study exploring Cumbria's natural habitats. Our various sandwich route modes of study can also provide you with an opportunity to undertake a one-year placement as part of your course to experience first-hand what a career in forestry would be like.


Prince of Wales Forest Leadership Award 2015

In 2015, National School of Forestry students won both UK places on the first Prince of Wales Forest Leadership Award summer exchange to Canada.

Final-year students Keira Todd and David Johnes beat stiff competition from UK applicants to win the opportunity to take up roles at some of the top forestry and natural resources management employers in Canada, in addition to receiving a $12,000 CAD bursary.

Endorsed by HRH The Prince of Wales, and delivered in partnership by the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF), the Canadian Institute of Forestry (CIF-IFC), and the Duchy of Cornwall, the award recognises young forestry professionals in Canada and the United Kingdom who possess a dedication to sustainable forestry and the skills and aptitude to become our future forest leaders.

EGGER Forestry Management Prize 2014

Presented for the first time in 2014, this prize is given to the final year student who produces the best Forest Management Plan.

The 2014 prize went to to Harry Wakefield from the University of Cumbria. Harry won an all-expenses-paid study tour of forestry operations in the Bavarian Alps.

Resources and Facilities

As a student on one of our forestry programmes you'll have access to research and teaching labs, lecture and seminar rooms, IT facilities and a library with a broad range of digital and hard-copy resources.

Our teaching staff are actively involved in forest research and the forestry sector in the UK. This research and active engagement with the sector informs our teaching as you will have the opportunity to be involved in scientific studies or extracurricular activities relevant to your future employment.

The combination of recently developed learning and teaching facilities, with an outstanding range of forestry types, and commercial, recreational and protected areas on our doorstep, means that we can combine lectures with hands-on teaching in the field to ensure you have the knowledge base, as well as the practical experience, for a successful career in forestry and woodland conservation.

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