National Forest



The National Forest is a "greenprint" to inspire people to reconnect with nature with a vision to be digital leaders in the environmental charity sector.

Case description

The National Forest is an environmental project spanning over 200 square miles across three counties - Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire.

The National Forest is a Greenprint for a more fulfilling way of life, inspiring people and businesses to reconnect with nature and create places to grow together. The digital strategy vision is to become the leader in digital customer reach, engagement and retention in the environmental charity sector.

Zoocha led the website transformation and modernization to migrate three legacy websites to one single platform after winning the opportunity to work on the project through an open tender published on G-Cloud.

Case goals and results

The objective was to collectively re-align the National Forest online brand and portfolio of websites into one, in order to better promote the brand but also provide a level of future-proofing.

This included:
Using Drupal Commerce, creating a method for online transactions to simultaneously collect donations and provide ecommerce functionality for shop products
Creating a search feature to enable users to explore the National Forest and plan their trip
Allowing users to book ‘Plant a tree’ experiences online and reduce the back office admin overhead
Improving upon the limited editing capabilities and the high reliance on developer time to make updates

Because National Forest are a Charity that work closely with Defra, we adopted a methodology which adhered to the GOV.UK Service Manual. This was a best practice approach to achieving project success.

Our solutions included:
Card sorting to establish an evidenced information architecture that will meet user needs
User journey mapping and wireframe iterations to produce informed user journeys through the website
Iterative user testing to enhance best practice and ensure the site works for users

This resulted in:

A high performing Drupal 8 CMS with National Forest enabled full content control and publishing capabilities, providing the ability to enhance its online presence.
CRM integration with “Access ThankQ CRM” to maintain consistency across National Forest campaigns
Bespoke design implementation that allows the National Forest to ‘stand out’ from competitor websites
Robust e-commerce solution using Drupal Commerce facilitating ‘Plant a tree’ experiences and dedications, as well as future-proofed shop functionality to help National Forest grow their brand licencing strategy
Measurable donations facility - demonstrating how and when campaigns increase donations
Ongoing analytics analysis and sprint iterations to enhance website performance
Custom Paypal subscription donation ability, a contribution to the Drupal community
Fully mobile responsiveness, winning an Outstanding Achievement in Mobile Development award from the Web Marketing Association .
“Thanks to the UX and appearance of their new website, NF have been gaining great interest from local and wider UK based businesses keen to associate with the brand and its green credentials. So much so, a new team is anticipated to be introduced to manage and follow up the increase in inbound queries”
The National Forest plant a tree experience certificates were even chosen as a goody bag gift at the Facebook Creators event earlier this year.


Previously there were three separate sites. The migration of three sites to one single Drupal 8 CMS platform allowed us to not only modernise the architecture but also provide ownership of the content to reduce development expense.

Community contributions

In the creation of this site, there were several patches were contributed for the Commerce suite of modules. In particular, an extension of the commerce_paypal module. This allows the user to create a recurring payment gateway through the express checkout method in PayPal.

Why should this case win the splash awards?

The National Forest is such a dynamic charity who are keen to be at the forefront of digital strategy and align their “greenprint” to secure the future of this extraordinary natural habitat.
This is a clear example of how ensuring that best practice is followed leads to great results. There has been a huge improvement in the experience for the users, and a reduction in the hassle and expense of content changes for the clients, allowing them to take on more staff to deal with the inbound queries.