Woodland gives us more than just timber. Woods are host to a spectacular variety of wildlife, provide places for recreation, reduce pollution, generate oxygen, store carbon, help stabilise soil, and provide us with renewable raw materials and shelter. They also contribute towards rural development, flood alleviation and tourism. They are particularly valuable in urban areas for their ability to clean the air, trap dust, prevent flooding, and absorb noise.
Less tangible, but just as important, is their role in enhancing the local landscape, providing a tranquil environment for spiritual renewal. Everyone should have the opportunity to visit a local woodland to have the chance to connect with the natural world.
Woodland Trust action
We promote the creation of woods close to where people live and opening up more woods to public access. We have established a standard – our Woodland Access Standard – which is the minimum we believe is required. This says that:
- no person should live more than 500m from at least one area of accessible woodland of no less than 2ha in size; and
- there should also be at least one area of accessible woodland of no less than 20ha within 4km (8km round-trip) of people’s homes
We have checked each local authority area against this standard and published the results (see Space for People) so it is easy for them to see where they are doing well and how much more accessible woodland they need to create.
The Trust has delivered many new local woodlands. Our ‘Woods on your Doorstep’ project involved the creation of 250 new community woods in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Communities have been involved in every phase from finding the site, raising funds, designing the woods, planting them and celebrating the success of the initiative.
We have also recently launched 'More Trees, More Good' - an exciting new movement encouraging everyone to get involved in tree planting.