The threat from Forest Holidays is over
For five long years, Fineshade Wood was under the threat of holiday development. It was on a list of Forestry Commission (FC) sites that they deemed suitable for exploitation as holiday accommodation. Although applications by Forest Holidays (FH) to develop Fineshade failed, the threat of further attempts remained - until 11 December 2018. On that day the Commission announced that they had decided that Fineshade would no longer be on the so-called Exclusivity List: they gave a categorical assurance that they had no intention to allow FH to bring forward another application to develop Fineshade Wood.
That announcement was confirmed in writing in February when DEFRA Minister, David Rutley, wrote to our MP stating unambiguously that he had been informed by the Secretary of State and the CEO of Forest Holidays that there are no plans for a Forest Holidays development in Fineshade Wood.
The final nail in FH's aspirations was announced in August 2020 when, following an utterly damning review of the FC-FH relationship by government auditors, FC were forced to insert a new fiscal clause into their framework agreement requiring that proposed "potentially contentious" investments would need written approval from DEFRA ministers and HM Treasury. Such investments specifically include the development of publicly-owned woodland into a private holiday park.
Friends of Fineshade came into being to oppose the cabin development and this website has been an important means of conveying news and gathering support. You can see the history of the campaign to protect Fineshade Wood here.
There are many other pages documenting particular aspects of the campaign and the buttons below link to some of the most useful ones.
Forest Holidays site in Thetford Forest
Forest glade provides space for car parking
Hen party enjoying a hot tub
FH "retreat" competing with local shops
Appreciating the woodland's tranquillity?
Construction of sewage plant
The thwarting of Forest Holiday's ambitions at Fineshade and at other sites across the country has been brought about by many, many campaigners, but we would like to pay particular tribute to the late Shirley Martin. Although we never met her, Shirley was a very significant Friend of Fineshade who contributed greatly to our successful campaign to save the woodlands here from exploitation. We referred to her affectionately as the White Knight because when we were besieged and our battle seemed lost, suddenly Shirley appeared over the horizon as a powerful and tireless ally. The campaigning contribution that she made from her computer was absolutely vital.