|Legal status||Non-profit company and registered charity|
|Board of Trustees|
The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the United Kingdom concerned with the creation, protection, and restoration of native woodland heritage. It has planted over 50 million trees since 1972.
The Woodland Trust has three key aims: (1) to protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable, (2) the restoration of damaged ancient woodland, (3) plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.
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. It ensures public access to its woods.
The charity was founded in Devon, England in 1972 by retired farmer and agricultural machinery dealer Kenneth Watkins.
The Trust's first purchase was part of the Avon Valley Woods, near Kingsbridge, Devon. By 1977 it had twenty two 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. It has supported the National Tree Week scheme, which takes place in late November and is run by The Tree Council.
From 2005 to 2008 it co-operated with the BBC for their Springwatch programme and the BBC's Breathing Places 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.
Its first employee and Director, John James, came from Lincolnshire and was living in Nottingham at the time. It had a small office on Westgate. John James was Chief Executive from 1992–97, and then Michael Townsend from 1997-2004, Sue Holden from 2004-14 and Beccy Speight from 2014-19. The current Chief Executive is Darren Moorcroft.
A new eco-friendly headquarters, adjacent to the former HQ, was completed in 2010 at a cost of GB£5.1million. The new headquarters have been designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios as Architect and Atelier One as Structural Engineer, and 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. 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.
The Woodland Trust's Head Office is located in Grantham in South Kesteven, south Lincolnshire, with regional offices across the UK. 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.
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.
It looks after more than 1,000 woods 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.
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.
The Woodland Trust's Woods on Your Doorstep project created 250 "Millennium woods" to celebrate the millennium 2000/2001.
As part of the trust's 'Tree For All' campaign, new woods were planted to mark the 2005 anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, notably Victory Wood in Kent.
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. The largest of these, owned and managed by the Trust itself, is the Flagship Diamond Wood in Leicestershire. Situated within the National Forest this will be planted with 300,000 trees.
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).
As part of its Centenary Woods 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.
The 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.
There are thousands of volunteers who send in their sightings, providing crucial evidence about how wildlife is responding to the changing climate. This makes it an example of citizen science.
The Trust's records date back to 1736, making it the longest written biological record of its kind. It has become a powerful tool in assessing the impact of climate change and is highly valued by research scientists.
The Ancient Tree Inventory is a project run by the Woodland Trust in partnership with the Tree Register of the British Isles and the Ancient Tree Forum. The aim is to record ancient, veteran and notable trees in the United Kingdom. To date over 170,000 trees have been recorded. The database allows a better understanding of the number and spread of ancient trees in the UK. The records can be viewed through the tree search on the Ancient Tree Inventory website. Anyone can add to the database by recording a tree, records are then verified by a team of volunteers.
Woods that the trust owns and looks after include: