Forestry England: Permission to fly

Sorry if this is a question that’s been asked before and has now been “Flogged to death” but I wonder if someone has the answer readily to hand?

There is a small wood near me that I would like to fly at. It ticks all the boxes (for me at any rate).

Not wanting to fall out with anyone, I contacted Forestry England (FE) to request permission.

I was eventually put in touch with the local office and the Beat Ranger, over several emails, asked me for details (including if my drone had a camera and if so could I disconnect or cover it).

Long story short, I answered his questions, including my having third party liability insurance (through BMFA) and waited for a reply.

After a week I asked him if there was any further details I could supply and was “rewarded “ by a very polite refusal on the grounds of “National Policy”.

Somewhere, at the back of my mind” I seem to recall someone saying that the Western District in FE DO grant permission on a case by case basis but you had to jump through a few hoops.

I’ve attempted to contact Western District to request a blank application or confirmation that there is a process in place. I can then go back to my district and ask for reconsideration (the guys tone in his email sounded like he was genuinely sorry he had to refuse).

The problem I have is the call centre are referring me to Covid restrictions. I have attempted to explain I only need a blank application or confirmation but my further emails appear to be getting ignored.

Has anyone obtained permission from FE in the past and if so is there a pro forma and which district was it?

Thanks for your patience reading this very long winded question. I would like to try to do the right thing…I’m starting to hear the words to the song “High hopes” ( just not sure if it’s the Rubber Tree plant or the Dam :joy::joy:)


Are you wanting to take off the the FC ‘land’ or just fly over ?

For the benefit of others, there is a specific Forestry Commission bye-law against flying model aircraft (bye-law 5.xxiii).

There is an FC web page with a link to a permission form for their Southern District (possibly useable elsewhere).

Ideally take off and land.

There’s an overgrown tarmac track that looks ideal.

Then they’re likely to ask you not do it.

The same as you wouldn’t let me tip and take off front your front yard :wink:


Yes I’ve seen the page and the call centre I initially contacted in my area agreed that it seemed to be quite specific to the New Forrest (Interesting that BBC Spring Watch were flying there the other week (£s talk it seems).

The exasperating thing is the place isn’t even on FEs website…their map only shows the main forrests and their district listing doesn’t have it either. It took my local office Beat Ranger over 5 minutes to find the place in his records!

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This may not actually be anything to do with the fact that you wish to fly a drone, but rather to do with FE’s current stance on “Permissions” to use their woods.

I am the Chairman of a Field Archery Club based in an FE wood, & we STILL haven’t been given permission to go back in. The only reason that we stopped was because of C19, however the vast majority of what they are asking for now is nothing to do with the virus.

We have been advised that all permissions are being dealt with at a National level, however we are banging our head on a brick wall trying to progress the matter.

So don’t take it personally - FE are being equally difficult with everybody!!


Bugger that,if no one is around,just take off ,get your shots,and move on… That,s how i do it…What they don’t know,can’t complain about! :grimacing: :grimacing: :wink: :wink:


It’s a small…ish world! I’m Bowman in target Archery!

I don’t think it’s personal at all, in fact the Ranger, in his email, sounds really sorry to refuse.

My reason for questioning it further is because he quotes his refusal as a blanket National policy stopping him from doing so.

Further checking indicates that may not be the case…

Sorry forgot to add:

Have a look at Section 3:3 “ Nothing in these byelaws shall make unlawful anything done with the written authority of the Commissioners.”

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Just been looking through the byelaw link, which is fairly specific to certain areas, but it looks like it’s tighter than a ducks arse.
However having said that, I recently flew over the White Horse at Kilburn, North Yorkshire, which is Forestry commission land and a sign there says that drones are banned. So I hoofed it down the road, parked in a field entrance and simply flew from there. The main car park was in any event full of quite a few cars and camper vans, picnickers and dog walkers.

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Hi, yes it does look watertight but, of course, FE have given themselves some “wriggle room”, I believe, with the rule 3:3.
See what happens I guess.

As I read it. Rule 3.3 is telling you that anything you do,that is listed as prohibited, is in breach of the byelaw unless you have written permission from the commissioners…and they’ve already denied you permission.

There was certainly an initial refusal, but things have POSSIBLY moved on since then…fingers crossed & watch this space as they say ( could be a while with all that’s going on, which is fair enough).
Take care. Peter

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