The Northern Forest is an enormous project that defies expectations. As I learned on a trip to Smithills near Bolton, where the first Northern Forest trees were planted, it’s a bold, ambitious and exciting plan. From Liverpool in the west to Hull in the east, a whopping 50 million new trees will transform life for people and wildlife across the North of England.

Lead by the Trust, it’s a huge joint effort, with partners, landowners and many others involved. Representing two of those partners, City of Trees’ Jess Thompson and Gemma Wren of the National Trust tell us all about it on our Smithills visit. As we explore the incredible landscape - accompanied by Luna the dog - they explain:

  • what the Northern Forest means for this part of the country
  • their concerns and hopes for the future
  • why our connection with nature and relationship with trees is so important.

We also hear from Trust CEO Darren Moorcroft, who gives us insight into the Trust’s bold vision and why he’s so optimistic for the future. He waxes lyrical about the Northern Forest’s significance and why we need more large scale projects just like it. His core message? Trees are nature’s most powerful weapon in our fight against climate change and nature loss.

Listen to the podcast now on Apple podcast and iTunesLibsyn or Soundcloud.

New to the podcast?

Don’t miss our previous episodes, including:

  • England’s largest new native wood at Heartwood
  • Loch Arkaig, an ancient Scotland pine forest
  • how trees are making a difference on a Nottinghamshire farm
  • Ben Shieldaig, a great example of Scotland’s rainforest
  • the urban woods and trees of Leeds
  • Joyden’s Wood, a tranquil ancient wood close to London
  • the Trust’s largest site in England – Smithills Estate
  • the new young people’s forest at Mead
  • some special tree-themed celebrity interviews.

Get involved

Please subscribe to the podcast if you want to hear more adventures in the woodlands of the UK and don’t forget to rate us or leave a review!

I am keen to hear from you as well – so if you have a favourite woodland walk, do tell me about it in a short email or if you can, make a 5 minute or so recording of your own walk and we may feature your woodland walk in a future podcast.

I’ll be off on another woodland walk soon. Hope you can join me.

Be part of the Northern Forest

There are still lots of ways to get involved, including planting on your land, becoming a partner, donating and volunteering.