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When you’re on a woodland walk, it’s not uncommon to spot a piece of wood or a great pile of logs on the ground that you think would be perfect for your fire. But should you bring any home? And for that matter, is it legal to chop down trees anyway?

Is removing firewood legal?

Everything within a wood, including fallen branches and logs, is the property of the woodland owner. This means removing logs from a wood without consent is considered theft. Make sure you have the consent of the wood owner before you remove any wood.

As well as needing consent, be mindful of what you pick up. Though bits of wood may look abandoned, they provide a valuable service to the ecosystem.

Deadwood habitats

At the Woodland Trust, we leave logs in our woods to provide deadwood for life. Decaying wood is an essential part of the woodland habitat. It provides a home for lots of species that cannot otherwise survive, as well as recycling nutrients back into the soil.

Next time you’re on a walk, get close to some deadwood and see what you can spot. You might see holes drilled by insects, lots of mosses, tiny fungi, or even a stag beetle, the larvae of which feed on dead and decaying wood. Each log is valuable; even different species of tree produce unique habitats.

Discover species that thrive on deadwood