Awe-inspiring woodlands

Ancient woodland at Sutton Hoo

We grow to know and love the trees – and they love us back by cleaning our air, bringing balance to our fragile landscape and being a sanctuary for wildlife.

Woodlands reconnect us with nature. It is vital that we plan now for their future so we can tackle climate change and species decline.

Of the 250,000 hectares of land the National Trust owns, 10 per cent is woodland. We have made a commitment to increase this to 17 per cent over the next 10 years, meaning we will be planting 20 million trees over the next decade.  

John Deakin, our Head of Trees and Woodland, says: ‘Trees have an amazing ability to provide space to breathe and relax, provide a home for nature to thrive and allow us to lock up carbon.’

Did you know?

  • Out of the UK's remaining woodland just 7% is in a good ecological state
  • The UK is the least wooded country in Europe
  • Since 1970 41% of all species are in decline
Visitors enjoying an autumnal hike with the dog on the estate at Wallington, Northumberland

Move for trees 

Challenge yourself to complete 50km of activity this October with the Move for trees challenge, and raise money to help plant more trees. Every £5 you raise will plant a sapling, and bring us one more tree towards a greener future.

Study shows that woodland sounds boost wellbeing

The crunch of snapping twigs underfoot. Lilting birdsong from above. The rustling of trees in the breeze. Woodland sounds have been shown to have a direct impact on our wellbeing, making us more relaxed, less stressed and less anxious.

A study we commissioned explored how soaking up the sounds of the natural world affects people, and found it relaxes us more than if we listen to a voiced meditation app.

Respondents were asked how they felt after listening to a one minute recording of forest sounds, a meditative app or silence. Afterwards, people said they felt 30 per cent more relaxed, 25 per cent less stressed and 20 per cent less anxious.

Further research of 2,000 British adults revealed that birdsong is the favourite sound of woodlands, with almost 40 per cent stating hearing their favourite woodland sounds makes them happy.

However, despite the positive impact the sound of woodlands has on our wellbeing, for almost a fifth (19 per cent) of British people, they never venture to nearby woods because they don’t think there are any near them.

Patrick Begg, National Trust Outdoors and Natural Resources Director, said: 'Sometimes, a simple walk in woodlands, where you’re surrounded by the echoes of calling birds, and that satisfying crunch of fallen leaves and twigs underfoot, is the perfect remedy for reducing stress.' No matter whether the connection is with an outdoor or urban place, our research shows the intrinsic link between connections to place and the triggering of positive emotional experiences.

Trees in winter at Sheffield Park and Garden, East Sussex

Plant a tree 

Plant a tree today and you'll be helping to plant and establish 20 million trees by 2030. You can plant a tree from just £5 and you'll get a certificate to commemorate your gift too. Together we can tackle climate change, make homes for wildlife and ensure future generations enjoy more green spaces.