Crofting is a unique social system, based on small agricultural holdings. It is integral to the cultural and economic life of the Highlands and Islands. There are over 21,000 crofts covering 750,000ha of land. This equates to over 15% of the land mass of the UK.

Native woodland in the crofting counties is fragmented and under pressure. Nonetheless, it includes some of the richest woodland habitats in the UK, such as the temperate rainforests of the western seaboard – Scotland’s rainforest.

Trees on crofts

Planting trees on crofts can strengthen this fragile woodland network, while delivering multiple benefits for the crofter and the wider public, including improved productivity, business diversification, carbon capture and richer habitats.

There is, however, little tradition of tree planting or woodland management in crofting. Until the 1991 Crofter Forestry Act, woodland ownership and management rights were reserved for landowners, not their crofting tenants.

Our Croft Woodlands team is helping to change that tradition by:

  • offering free advice to crofters, smallholders and common grazings committees
  • helping to overcome financial barriers
  • providing training and educational resources
  • raising awareness among funders and policymakers

Apply for funding

Credit: Marianne Ross / WTML

Crofting MOREwoods

We have funding available for crofters, common grazings, smallholders and communities in the crofting counties. If you are planting 300+ trees as woodland on at least 0.1 hectare, we'll contribute to the cost of trees and tree protection. We can also support up to 100m of hedge planting, or more if in combination with woodland planting.

Complete our enquiries form to apply.

Credit: John Macpherson / WTML

Forestry Grant Scheme

For sites that meet Scottish Forestry funding criteria, we will help with the cost of preparing and submitting a grant application.

Email crofting@woodlandtrust.org.uk or call 01738 635544 for more information.

What we've achieved so far

In the first 5 years of the project, from 2015-2020, we have:

  • supported the planting of over a million trees in the Crofting Counties
  • helped bring over 1000ha of woodland into sustainable management
  • held the first ever Croft Woodlands Conference
  • published the Highlands and Islands Woodlands Handbook
  • set up a dedicated loan fund for croft woodland projects
Over 1000ha
of woodland brought into sustainable management with our help

Our plans

Our plans for the future include:

  • collaborating with nurseries to secure supplies of local provenance trees, especially suited to the region
  • piloting MyForest Creation, a user-friendly tool for developing new woodland proposals, with the Sylva Foundation and Scottish Forestry
  • working with the insurance industry to secure affordable woodland cover for small woodlands
  • championing croft woodlands in relation to post-Brexit rural funding
  • exploring the potential for carbon income from croft woodlands
1 million
trees planted in the Crofting Counties with our support

Our partners

Croft Woodlands is a partnership between Point and Sandwick Trust, Scottish Forestry, the Scottish Crofting Federation, Shetland Amenity Trust, Orkney Woodlands Project, Argyll Small Woods Co-op, Coigach and Assynt Living Landscapes, the Communities Housing Trust and Woodland Trust Scotland.

We have also received support from the National Heritage Lottery Fund, Bank of Scotland (part of Lloyds Banking Group), players of People’s Postcode Lottery and generous donations from Trusts and individuals.