Woodland Trust

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Woodland Trust
Woodland Trust.svg
Legal statusNon-profit company and registered charity
PurposeWoodland conservation
Region served
Chief Executive
Darren Moorcroft[2]
Main organ
Board of Trustees[3]
£48.2 million[1]
Websitewww.woodlandtrust.org.uk Edit this at Wikidata

The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the United Kingdom and is concerned with the creation, protection, and restoration of native woodland heritage. It has planted over 50 million trees since 1972.[4]

The Woodland Trust has three aims: to protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable, to promote the restoration of damaged ancient woodland, and to plant native trees and woods to benefit people and wildlife.[5]

The Woodland Trust maintains ownership of over 1,000 sites covering over 24,700 hectares (247 km2). Of this, 8,070ha (33%) is ancient woodland.[6] It ensures public access to its woods.[7]


Trust Sign in Ireland Wood, West Yorkshire

The charity was founded in Devon, England in 1972 by retired farmer and agricultural machinery dealer Kenneth Watkins.[8]

The Trust's first purchase was part of the Avon Valley Woods, near Kingsbridge, Devon.[9] By 1977 it had 22 woods in six counties. In 1978 it relocated to Grantham in Lincolnshire and announced an expansion of its activities across the UK. In 1984, Balmacaan Wood next to Loch Ness became the Trust's first Scottish acquisition.[10]

From 2005 to 2008 it co-operated with the BBC for their Springwatch programme and the BBC's Breathing Places[11] series of events held at woods. It continues to work with Springwatch and Autumnwatch, most recently in 2015 as part of the Big Spring Watch, which encouraged viewers to record the signs of nature (phenology) through the Trust's Nature's Calendar project.


As of 2016, the Woodland Trust had over 80 woods in Scotland, covering 21,000 acres (8,500 ha).[12]

In Wales, it acquired the 94 acres (38 ha) Coed Lletywalter in Snowdonia National Park in 1980. In 2016, it had over 100 woods in Wales.[13]

Work started in Northern Ireland in 1996 when the charity received a grant from the Millennium Commission to set up over 50 community woods in a scheme called Woods on Your Doorstep.[citation needed]


Its first employee and director, John James, came from Lincolnshire and was living in Nottingham at the time.[14] It had a small office in Grantham, Lincolnshire. James was chief executive from 1992 to 1997, and then Michael Townsend from 1997 to 2004, Sue Holden from 2004 to 2014 and Beccy Speight from 2014 to 2019. The current chief executive is Darren Moorcroft.[2]

A new eco-friendly headquarters, adjacent to the former offices, was completed in 2010 at a cost of £5.1million.[15] The building, designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios as architect and Atelier One as structural engineer,[16] incorporates light shelves to distribute natural daylight around the 200 workstations, and concrete panels to absorb daytime heat, to provide the thermal mass that the lightweight wooden structure would otherwise lack.[17] It is estimated that compared to a concrete framed construction, the timber structure saved the equivalent in carbon production as nine years of the building's operation.[15]


The Woodland Trust's Head Office is located in Grantham in South Kesteven, south Lincolnshire, with regional offices across the UK.[18] It employs around 300 people at its Grantham headquarters. Its current president is Clive Anderson since 2003. In 2016 Barbara Young, Baroness Young of Old Scone became the charity's Chair.


The Woodland Trust receives funding from a wide range of sources including membership, legacies, donations and appeals, corporate supporters, grants and charitable trusts including lottery funding, other organisations and landfill tax.[19]


The Woodland Trust uses its experience and authority in conservation to influence others who are in a position to improve the future of native woodland. This includes government, other landowners, and like-minded organisations. It also campaigns to protect and save ancient woodland from destructive development. Its projects also include the Nature Detectives youth programme, a project for schools learning about the seasonal effect on woodlands – phenology – and the Ancient Tree Hunt campaign.

Woodland protection[edit]

It looks after more than 1,000 woods[20] and groups of woods covering 190 square kilometres (73 sq mi). Nearly 350 of its sites contain ancient woodland of which 70 per cent is semi-natural ancient woodland – land which has been under tree cover since at least 1600. It also manages over 110 Sites of Special Scientific Interest. There are currently over 600 ancient woods under threat across the UK.

Woodland creation[edit]

The trust has also created new woodlands: over 32 km2 (12 sq mi) have been created, including 250 new community woods in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Its largest current projects include the 41.7 km2 (16.1 sq mi) Glen Finglas Estate in the Trossachs, Scotland and the Heartwood Forest near St Albans, Hertfordshire, England, which will cover approximately 347 ha (860 acres). It owns 20 sites covering 4.3 km2 (1.7 sq mi) in the National Forest and has twelve sites in Community Forests in England.

The Woodland Trust also provides free trees to communities or places of education in order to facilitate the creation of new woodland.[21][22]

Completed projects[edit]

Millennium woods[edit]

The Woodland Trust's Woods on Your Doorstep project created 250 "Millennium woods" to celebrate the millennium.[23]

Trafalgar Woods[edit]

As part of the trust's 'Tree For All' campaign, new woods were planted to mark the 2005 anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar,[24] notably Victory Wood in Kent.[25]

Jubilee Woods[edit]

Oxmoor Copse in Surrey

The Trust ran the Jubilee Woods project, which aimed to plant 6 million trees and create 60 commemorative 'Diamond' woods across the UK as part of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012.[26] The largest of these, owned and managed by the Trust itself, is the Flagship Diamond Wood within the National Forest in Leicestershire, which will be planted with 300,000 trees.[27]

First World War Centenary Woods[edit]

Beginning in 2014, a project commemorating the First World War involved tree planting and the establishment of new woodland sites across the UK. The planned sites were Langley Vale Wood (England), Dreghorn Woods (Scotland), Coed Ffos Las (Wales), and Brackfield Wood (Northern Ireland).[28]

As part of the project, the Woodland Trust entered a partnership with the National Football Museum to create team groves to commemorate all the professional football players involved in the First World War, giving supporters the chance to dedicate trees at the English Centenary Wood, Langley Vale in Epsom.[29]

Ongoing initiatives[edit]

Nature's Calendar[edit]

This citizen science project encourages members of the public to record the signs of the seasons near to them in order to show and assess the impact of climate change on the UK's wildlife.[30] Thousands of volunteers send in their sightings, providing evidence about how wildlife is responding to the changing climate.

The Trust's records date back to 1736, making it the longest written biological record of its kind.[31] It has become a powerful tool in assessing the impact of climate change and is valued by research scientists.[citation needed]

Ancient Tree Inventory[edit]

The Ancient Tree Inventory is a project run by the Woodland Trust in partnership with the Tree Register and the Ancient Tree Forum, which aims to record ancient, veteran and notable trees in the United Kingdom. As of 2022, over 180,000 trees have been recorded by members of the public on the project's website, which provides a map of the trees.[32]


Woodland near South Ockendon in Essex
Lineover Wood SSSI in Gloucestershire Cotswolds

Woods that the trust owns and looks after include:




  • Coed Felinrhyd & Llennyrch[42]
  • Coed Ffos Las[43]

Northern Ireland[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Woodland Trust (April 2019). "Report and Accounts 31 December 2018" (PDF). www.woodlandtrust.org.uk. Woodland Trust. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Our Chief Executive".
  3. ^ "Our Trustees". woodlandtrust.org.uk. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  4. ^ "We Plant Trees". Woodland Trust. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  5. ^ Woodland Trust. "What We Do". woodlandtrust.org.uk. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  6. ^ Woodland Trust. "The current state of ancient woodland restoration" (PDF). woodlandtrust.org.uk. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  7. ^ Woodland Trust. "Access to woodland - the Woodland Trust's position". woodlandtrust.org.uk. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  8. ^ "Kenneth Watkins - Obituary". The Times. 22 November 1996. p. 25. Retrieved 26 August 2014. – via NewsBank (subscription may be required or content may be available in libraries)
  9. ^ "Avon Valley Woods". Woodland Trust. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  10. ^ "New Woods", Newsletter 15 (1984), The Woodlands Trust
  11. ^ "Breathing Places". BBC. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  12. ^ Woodland Trust. "Where We Work - Scotland". woodlandtrust.org.uk. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  13. ^ Woodland Trust. "Where We Work - Wales". woodlandtrust.org.uk. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  14. ^ "About The Woodland Trust". Giving Back. Archived from the original on 11 October 2016.
  15. ^ a b Rattenbury, Kester (28 October 2010). "Woodland Trust HQ, Grantham, by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios | Building study". Architects Journal. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  16. ^ "Solutions Sustainability: Newsletter" (PDF). Klhuk.com. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  17. ^ "Woodland Trust HQ | Engineering Projects". Max Fordham. 26 March 2010. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  18. ^ Woodland Trust. "Our Locations". woodlandtrust.org.uk. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  19. ^ Woodland Trust. "How We Are Funded - Annual Reviews". woodlandtrust.org.uk. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  20. ^ Woodland Trust. "How We Are Run". woodlandtrust.org.uk. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  21. ^ "Grantham charity offer schools the chance to 'green-up' with free trees". Grantham Journal. 9 October 2016. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  22. ^ Bateman, Stephanie (15 July 2016). "Plant free trees in Sheffield with help from the Woodland Trust". The Star. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  23. ^ Powell Ettinger (13 September 2010). "Wildlife Extra News - Ten years on and 250 Millennium woods transform Britain's landscape". Wildlifeextra.com. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  24. ^ "The Trafalgar Project". Tree For All. Woodland Trust. 2005. Archived from the original on 16 November 2005.
  25. ^ "Victory Wood". Explore Kent. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  26. ^ "Celebrate Queen Elizabeth's historic Diamond Jubilee during 2012 with the Woodland Trust". Woodlandtrust.org.uk. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
  27. ^ "Princess Royal unveils Diamond Jubilee Wood plaque". BBC News. 1 June 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  28. ^ Woodland Trust. "First World War Centenary Woods". woodlandtrust.org.uk. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  29. ^ Woodland Trust. "For Club and Country - Remembering the Greater Game". forclubandcountry.org.uk. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  30. ^ Woodland Trust. "The Nature's Calendar Survey". naturescalendar.org.uk. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  31. ^ Garforth, Judith. "Nature's Calendar: How your records are used". woodlandtrust.org.uk. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  32. ^ "Ancient Tree Inventory". Woodland Trust. Retrieved 2 March 2022.
  33. ^ "Dick Buck's Burrows woodland" (PDF). The Woodland trust. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  34. ^ "Garratts Wood, a Woodland Trust Wood". Woodland Trust. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  35. ^ "Great Wood – Felbrigg Estate". Details of Great Wood – Felbrigg. The Woodland Trust. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  36. ^ "Hackfall Woods". visitharrogate.co.uk. Visit Harrogate. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  37. ^ "Natural England - SSSIs : SSSI information". Sssi.naturalengland.org.uk. 1 November 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  38. ^ "Pretty Corner Wood" (PDF). Information Leaflet about the woodland. Woodland Trust, North Norfolk Council. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  39. ^ "Warren Wood – Cromer". Details of Warren Wood near Cromer, Norfolk. The Woodland Trust. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  40. ^ "Weybourne Wood". Details of Weybourne Wood near Weybourne Norfolk. The Woodland Trust. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  41. ^ "West Runton Wood". Details of West Runton Wood. The Woodland Trust. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  42. ^ Devine, Darren (30 December 2015). "The spectacular Welsh rainforest bought for £1m for the nation thanks to a major bequest". Wales Online. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  43. ^ "Coed Ffos Las". gov.wales. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  44. ^ "Brackfield Wood, Northern Ireland". woodlandtrust.org.uk. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  45. ^ "Monkstown Wood". woodlandtrust.org.uk. Retrieved 11 October 2016.

External links[edit]