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Keywords Community action project, Temperate rainforest
Authors Phil Green
Published 2015
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This article focuses on information specific to United Kingdom. Please see our Trees, woodland and forest page for a topic overview. Local information can be found or shared via or Near you pages

Avenue of trees in St George's Park St George's Park was originally outside the city boundary of Bristol, and under the control of St George Urban District Council. This avenue of London Plane trees date from 1902. July 2007. Attribution: Linda Bailey

Community action projects[edit | edit source]

  • help map the lost rainforests of Britain, see Maps

Resources[edit | edit source]

Networks[edit | edit source]

  • Future Forests Network, not for profit Community Interest Company focused on improving the connection between volunteer tree planters, community event organisers and land owners.

Organisations working with communities[edit | edit source]

The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. It has over 500,000 supporters.

The Trust has three key aims:

  1. protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable
  2. restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life
  3. plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering over 29,000 hectares. Access to its woods is free. [1]

Woodland Trust W

Maps[edit | edit source]

  • Take action: help map the lost rainforests of Britain lostrainforestsofbritain.org, project started early 2021 by Guy Shrubsole, author of Who Owns England?, to explore, photograph, map, and (with luck) help to restore the lost rainforests of Britain. At first focused on England, and particularly the Westcountry, where Guy lives. It’s now been extended to cover the whole of Britain. added 15:14, 4 January 2022 (UTC)
  • Public events map from futureforestsnetwork.org, maps long term planting projects, one day events, rewilding projects and tree nurseries, added 15:58, 1 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Woodland opportunity mapping, Where could we create woodland in England? takeclimateaction.uk, added 17:13, 1 October 2020 (UTC)

Other resources[edit | edit source]

Community forests in England[edit | edit source]

England's twelve community forests are afforestation-based regeneration projects which were established in the early 1990s. Each of them is a partnership between the Forestry Commission and the Countryside Agency, which are agencies of the British government, and the relevant local councils.

Most of the designated areas are close to large cities and contain large amounts of brownfield, underused and derelict land. When the forests were created the average forest cover in the designated areas was 6.9%, and the target is to increase this to 30% over about 30 years. As most of the land is in private ownership the schemes rely mainly on providing landowners with incentives to plant trees. However the forests contain areas of publicly accessible open land, and increasing public access is one of the objectives. W

Ancient woodland[edit | edit source]

In the United Kingdom, an ancient woodland is a woodland that has existed continuously since 1600 or before in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (or 1750 in Scotland). Planting of woodland was uncommon before those dates, so a wood present in 1600 is likely to have developed naturally.

In most ancient woods, the trees and shrubs have been cut down periodically as part of the management cycle. Provided that the area has remained as woodland, the stand is still considered ancient. Since it may have been cut over many times in the past, ancient woodland does not necessarily contain very old trees.

For many species of animal and plant, ancient woodland sites provide the sole habitat, and for many others, conditions on these sites are much more suitable than those on other sites. Ancient woodland in the UK, like rainforest in the tropics, is home to rare and threatened species. For these reasons ancient woodland is often described as an irreplaceable resource, or 'critical natural capital'. The analogous term used in the United States, Canada and Australia (for woodlands that do contain very old trees) is "old-growth forest".

Ancient woodland is formally defined on maps by Natural England and equivalent bodies. Mapping of ancient woodland has been undertaken in different ways and at different times, and the quality and availability of data varies from region to region, although there are some efforts to standardise and update it.

Temperate rainforests[edit | edit source]

The woodlands are variously referred to in Britain as Upland Oakwoods, Atlantic Oakwoods, Western Oakwoods or Temperate Rainforest, Caledonian forest, and colloquially as 'Celtic Rainforests'. They are also listed in the British National Vegetation Classification as British NVC community W11 and British NVC community W17 depending on the ground flora. The majority of surviving fragments of Atlantic Oakwoods in Britain occur on steep-sided slopes above rivers and lakes which have avoided clearance and intensive grazing pressure. There are notable examples on the islands and shores of Loch Maree, Loch Sunart, Loch Lomond and one of the best preserved sites on the remote Taynish Peninsula in Argyll. There are also small areas on steep-sided riverine gorges in Snowdonia and Mid Wales. In England, they occur in the Lake District (Borrowdale Woods) and steep-sided riverine and estuarine valleys in Devon and Cornwall and the Microclimate disused slate & granite quarries in these counties. This includes the Fowey valley in Cornwall and the valley of the river Dart which flows off Dartmoor and has rainfall in excess of 2 metres per year. W

News and comment[edit | edit source]

2021

Britain's lost rainforests could return in post-Brexit plans, Dec 25 [2]

Woods for wildlife and people get £16m funding boost in England, Jun 9 [3]

The 'messy' alternative to tree-planting, May 25 [4]

2020

Local councils can be both arrogant and enabling. They chop down the trees overnight in Doncaster …and ask the citizens to plan their foliage and foresting in Frome, Nov 23 [5] ...Somerset, ...Yorkshire and the Humber news

'UK's first tiny forest' in Witney helps urban environment. Mar 10 [6] ...Oxfordshire

National Trust unveils woodland expansion and tree planting projects as part of plan to become carbon net zero by 2030. [7] Jan 9

2019

Rewilding will make Britain a rainforest nation again, George Monbiot, Sep 25 [8]

‘Filled to bursting with trees, woods and nature reserves’: greening the Green Belt by Friends of the Earth Innovation team. [9] Jun 12 ...South East England

Is there a zebra in your community woodland? [10] Apr 24

2018

A new approach to Sheffield’s street trees, Dec 13 [11]

We need to bring back the wildwoods of Britain to fight climate change, Isabella Tree, Nov 26 [12]

2017

Tree Trail aims to highlight village’s unique species, Jul 18 [13] ...Devon

Urban trees breathe life into Salford street, May 17 [14] ...Manchester

200,000 trees to be planted to cut Calder Valley flood risk, Feb 24 [15]

2016

How millions of trees brought a broken landscape back to life, Aug 7 [16]

Scientists use people power to find disease-resistant ash trees, May 15 [17]

Britain to go green with 64m trees to be planted in 10 years, May 1 [18]

2014

Government backs planting of four million trees across UK, January 9 [19]

Events[edit | edit source]

May National Walking Month
May Walk in the Woods
Nov 27 - Dec 5 - National Tree Week, 2021, Sat-Sun treecouncil.org.uk

Campaigns[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

local information can be found, or shared, via our many UK location pages


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External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]