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Latest posts form the charity

Fruit-full Communities

The Fruit-full Communities project is working with thousands of young people living in or attending YMCA and Foyer centres across England and Wales, helping them gain confidence, learn new horticultural and arboricultural skills and improve their local environment by planting and nurturing orchards.  19 YMCA and Foyer sites accross England will be planting orchards this year.   Click here to learn who they are and what plans they have. To find out more about the Fruit-full Comunities project and see how successful our first year has been please click here.

The Fruit-full Communities project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, is part of a new initiative called Our Bright Future.

Posted in: Latest News |

July news update

This is a summary of the work of the Trust over the last three months:

  • Running accredited Outdoor First Aid training courses for Forestry Commission volunteers based at Westonbirt: The National Arboretum. These were very well received and we intend to run more site-based training in the future;
  • Responding to strong interest in our summer training courses. Both the Level 1: Introduction to Forest School Principles and the Level 3: Forest School Leaders’ courses are full and our Outdoor First Aid course only has a couple of places left (at the time of writing!);
  • Running a successful team- building activity for staff of long- term sponsor: Whitehall Printing, to help them celebrate their 40th anniversary;
  • Growing our partnership with Bristol Dementia Wellbeing Service to now run 2 wellbeing groups for people with dementia and their carers at Conham River Park and in Kings Weston woods;
  • Working with 8 different secondary schools and taking young people with a range of physical and learning needs to visit a local woodland to learn about the woodland environment and acquire new skills;
  • Running Forest Fridays in collaboration with Bristol Community Rehabilitation Service. This is an 8 week Woodland Wellbeing project for people living with mental health needs and as well as making woodland tools and environmental art, participants have also foraged for and cooked wild ingredients;
  • Visiting 13 schools in Swindon and Bristol & Avon for the Defra- funded Trees for Learning project. This is focused on helping primary-aged children better understand the importance of trees; Working with primary schools in Bristol & Avon to support the uptake of Woodland Trust tree packs as part of their Defra- funded Trees for Schools project;
  • Training 18 volunteers in veteran tree recognition and recording at Ashton Court as part of our Veteran Tree project;
  • Delivering the final training of the OVO Foundation funded Woodland Skills project providing woodland management skills for local groups. 12 people got actively involved in charcoal making at Wick Golden Valley Local Nature Reserve;
  • Starting work on the Woodlands of Bathscape Report, to inform the full BathscapeLandscape Partnership HLF application; and
  • Continuing to grow our presence on Twitter and Facebook and through posting regular tree and woodland news on our website.
Posted in: Latest News |

Is the EU helping halt global deforestation?

Last week’s Guardian has a report saying that “Europe’s contribution to global deforestation may rise by more than a quarter by 2030, despite a pledge to halt such practices by the end of this decade.”  The newspaper says that this is what a leaked draft EU analysis says.  The report goes on:

“An estimated 13m hectares (Mha) of the world’s forestland is lost each year, a figure projected to spiral in the next 30 years with the AmazonGreater Mekong and Borneo bearing the brunt of tree clearances.  But despite signing several international pledges to end deforestation by this decade’s end, more than 5Mha of extra forest land will be needed annually by 2030 to meet EU demand for agricultural products, a draft EU feasibility study predicts.”

It’s our consumption of products such as beef, soya and palm oil that might increase our contribution to global deforestation.  Many would say “will” rather than “might”.




Posted in: Latest News |

Tree of the Year time again

The Woodland Trust is asking for nominations for Tree of the Year, 2017.  The Trust said:

From beautiful cherry trees to towering elms and magnificent oaks, do you have a tree with an interesting story that is special to you, your friends and family or your community?

Tree of the Year returns for the fourth year and we’re calling for your most beautiful, interesting and quirky trees to be contenders. Is there a tree that everyone climbs as a child, or shelters under in bad weather, perhaps it’s supplied your town with apples for as long as you can remember, or got a gnarly trunk that looks like a face?

Thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we’re offering up to £1000 in tree care awards to the most successful trees. They can be used for arboricultural surveys or other maintenance, interpretation or even to support a community event in celebration of the tree.

Nominations are now open!

Posted in: Latest News |

Beech trees are native to Scotland

Beech trees should be considered native to Scotland say researchers at the University of Stirling and Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA).   The team examined the DNA of more than 800 beech trees at 42 locations across Great Britain and made direct comparisons with trees growing on mainland Europe.

The study which was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), shows almost all of the beeches growing in Great Britain the researchers tested, are derived from native populations and, as a result, could not have been planted from abroad.

Professor Alistair Jump, of the University of Stirling’s Centre for Environment, Heritage and Policy, said:

“The beech tree has been experiencing an identity crisis in Scotland. Evidence shows that the European beech was mainly confined to the south-east of England after the last Ice Age. However, this tree now occurs throughout Scotland and has been considered ‘not native’ by many land managers.  This tree can colonise ancient woodland in Scotland, and is sometimes removed because it poses a threat to the persistence of other native species. Our study shows that beech should be considered native throughout Great Britain, including Scotland.”

Dr Jennifer Sjölund, of SASA, added:

“The beech tree has been planted in Scotland in the past but the planting was from native British stock and, although humans have speeded its northward spread, it would have naturally spread up the length of the country regardless.  Our findings have significant implications on how we define native species and how we consider natural processes when deciding what we base woodland management plans on. It points to a need to look again at the identity and distinctiveness of native Scottish forests, which historically haven’t featured the beech tree.”

The research, entitled Understanding the legacy of widespread population translocations on the post-glacial genetic structure of the European beech, is published in the Journal of Biogeography. 

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Nature Detectives

The Woodland Trust encourages us all to be nature detectives, and has a range of age categories for its activities.

0 to 2 – Explore a new world – sensory boxes  nature crafts  simple spotter sheets.  View 0-2 activities

3 to 5 – Get muddy and run wild – Magic wands  Fairy doors  Mud pies  Scavenger hunts.  View 3-5 activities

6+ – Go on a real adventure – Twilight treks  Blindfold exploring  Wildlife tracking  Dens.  View 6+ activities



Posted in: Latest News |

Woodland Incentives: Please Complete Our 5 Minute Questionnaire

Please take 5 minutes to complete the questionnaire to help us improve the range of advice and incentives we can offer woodland owners, managers and those interested in new planting. Just double click here to download to your computer: Woodland Questionnaire.

Every completed questionnaire received will be numbered in order and then entered in to a draw for a free fruit tree (worth £40); alternatively, we will donate 20 free trees to a local school. Deadline 1200 31st July 2017.

Please email to (or send by post) and don’t forget to include an email address and phone number.

Posted in: Future Woods, Latest News, Woodland Management | Tagged , |

The vast, wooded shadow of London

Back in May, the Spectator books section carried a review of Strange Labyrinth: Outlaws, Poets, Mystics, Murderers and a Coward in London’s Great Forest by Will Ashon.  The forest in question is Epping Forest, that ‘vast shadow of London.  The reviewer, Kieron Pim, says that the book is:

“part-history, part-memoir, … a fine cultural guide to the vast, wooded ‘shadow of London’”.

Pim adds:

“The result is a book that’s hard to classify. First impressions might place it within the ‘new nature writing’, but it is more a cultural than a natural history, and one with remarkable scope, unconstrained by boundaries of genre or style. Which, we come to realise, is precisely the point. This is a book about enclosure, in its every sense, from the land enclosures that tormented the poet John Clare, who spent years in an asylum here, to the psychic enclosures that preoccupy Penny Rimbaud of the punk band Crass. Rimbaud lives by the forest in the evocatively described Dial House and emerges as one of the book’s most interesting characters.”

The publisher says:

In litter-strewn Epping Forest on the edge of London, might a writer find that magical moment of transcendence? He will certainly discover filthy graffiti and frightening dogs, as well as world-renowned artists and fading celebrities, robbers, lovers, ghosts and poets. But will he find himself? Or a version of himself he might learn something from?”





Posted in: Latest News |

Professor Alice Roberts

Trust Patron: Professor Alice Roberts talks about the importance of woodlands, the Forest of Avon Trust and a major new research project launched this week:

I’m passionate about the importance of woodlands – and that importance ranges from the global and economic to the deeply personal and psychological. Forests form a critical component of global ecosystems – and are crucially important for humanity. They support a huge range of life – home to half of all known species; they play crucial roles in carbon and water cycles; they provide us with building materials and fuel; and as we walk through them, they fill us with a sense of calm and wellbeing.

 It’s hard to believe it, but the UK has the lowest woodland cover of any European country. After millennia of deforestation – which started thousands of years ago, in the Neolithic, as farmers cleared woodland to make way for crops and livestock – there’s now a pressing to re-forest. Visions of a sustainable UK include much larger areas of managed woodland. The mission of the Forest of Avon Trust includes protecting trees and woodland, planting more, and helping people to enjoy these wonderful natural spaces.

The University of Birmingham is committed to forest research, which will inform how we sustain and nurture our woodlands as the climate changes. We’ve just launched a multi-million pound open-air experiment aimed at understanding how woodlands will respond to rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere this century. You can read more about the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research here. ’

Find out more about the Forest of Avon Trust’s wide- ranging work in Bristol & Avon here and follow us on Twitter to keep up to date on the latest tree & woodland news.

Posted in: Business Sponsors, Forest of Avon, Future Woods, Latest News, Our Projects, Outdoor Learning, Professor Alice Roberts, Safeguarding our Trees, Woodland Management, Woodland Wellbeing | Tagged , , , , , |

A year in the life of a silver birch

The Woodland Trust website contains useful information on many native trees.  For example, if you click here, you’ll find the silver birch, Betulla pendular.  On this page there’s also a brief video of a year in the life of the tree.

The Trust’s ‘interesting fact’ about this tree is:

“The silver birch can be used to improve soil quality for other plants to grow.  Its deep roots bring otherwise inaccessible nutrients into the tree, which are recycled on to the soil surface when the tree sheds its leaves.”

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