After spending many hours knocking on doors and sending e-mails asking landowners if I can play in their woods I contacted my local council woodlands officer. Within 3 hours he came back to me with this:-
"a 50 hectare mosaic of with 10 year old mostly native woodland and open space adjacent to moorland fringe and mature private woodland , some of which is ancient semi natural .
On the site there is a good chance of seeing red, fallow, and roe deer, fox, badger, peregrine , raven etc.
The owner would be prepared to let you camp there on a low impact basis. There is potential for much volunteer management work including tree planting, fence and wall repair, pruning/ coppice etc."
Chuffed just does not cover it!
When asking I did not mention bushcraft, below is the main part of the e-mail which I sent him. Hopefully it will be useful to someone else!
"I have a keen interest in British wildlife and am looking for a local woodland in which I can practice observation and identification of flora and fauna. Ideally this would involve the occasional overnight visit as this is when more of our mammals are active. Could you recommend any local woodlands that would meet my requirements, or alternately could you pass on the details of any local landowners that may be able to help.
Obviously I would be prepared to help the landowners with any tasks such as litter clearance, reporting poachers, general woodland management etc. and would adopt a zero impact approach on any visits to the woodland."