Since then, more than 9m trees have been planted to create the National Forest in the Midlands - the first forest to be created at scale in England for more than 1000 years.
It now covers 200 square miles across three counties, linking the two ancient woodlands of Charnwood and Needwood.
Old coal mines and quarries have been repurposed as parks and nature reserves - and 5,000 jobs have been created.
Having grown up in a Midlands mining town and then leaving just as the National Forest was starting to take shape, this story means a lot to me.
Among the businesses that now call the woods home is Little Acorns Forest School, based at Hicks Lodge National Cycle Centre near Ashby-de-la-Zouch.
I remember visitors driving past signs for the fledgling National Forest and laughing that there wasn't a tree in sight.
In a nutshell, the seeds of success sown by the National Forest project continue to put down roots both in the Midlands and further afield. »