Whilst Brexit presents many challenges, it also creates a juncture to address longstanding tensions in rural land-use policy. There is increasing pressure to expand forests in Britain, particularly for carbon sequestration, but also to acknowledge the wider uses and values of trees. An important tension here is not only the ultimate balance of land uses, but the rate of change that Brexit might herald. In this chapter, we explore the current pressures for rapid change through afforestation, balanced against lessons from the past. This involves a closer look at policy time-cycles and who, and what, they serve. We highlight a need for more durable and adaptable approaches to forest policy-making, but also to look beyond an anthropocentric focus to acknowledge the agency and rhythms of forests themselves. Our perspective is grounded in the concept of diachronic integrity. This argues that for conservation to succeed it must pay attention to place narratives – the socio-ecological interactions that, over time, generate places and their human and non-human components. We explore two post-Brexit forest policy scenarios and highlight critical choices that need to be made. We conclude that considerable adaptability is required to deliver policy that is sensitive to diverse narratives.