Kielder Forest is a large forestry plantation in Northumberland, England, surrounding Kielder village and the Kielder Water reservoir. It is the largest man-made woodland in England with three-quarters of its 250 square miles (650 km2) covered by forest. The majority of the forest lies within the Border Forest Park, with the southern tip known as Wark Forest lying within Northumberland.
The forest is owned and managed by the United Kingdom's Forestry Commission, which initiated the first plantings in the 1920s. During the 1930s, the Ministry of Labour supplied men from among the ranks of the unemployed. Many came from the mining communities and shipyards of North East England. They were housed in one of a number of instructional centres created by the Ministry, most of them on Forestry Commission property; by 1938, the Ministry had 38 Instructional Centres across Britain. The hutted camp in Kielder is now under Kielder Water. Numerous purpose-built villages were also constructed for workers' families, including Stonehaugh.
Prior to the 1920s, the land was predominantly open moorland, managed for grouse shooting and sheep grazing with remnants of native upland woodland existing along stream sides and in isolated craggy areas. The Forestry Commission, funded from the public purse, purchased land across the country with the brief of establishing a strategic reserve of timber for the nation. This single objective held sway until the 1960s. Since that time, management principles have changed in order to reflect rising awareness of environmental needs and to provide recreational facilities whilst seeking to maintain a sustainable supply of timber. Kielder today remains state-owned and its development from a single-objective plantation to a multi-purpose forest mirrors the development of plantation forestry across the United Kingdom.