Ahhh summer, when dappled sunlight filters through gently dancing leaves, the air fills with the scent of honeysuckle, and hot-pink foxgloves spike boldly in the understorey. This season, Broadleaf takes a metaphorical meander under the mighty boughs of Britain's top 25 ancient trees: read their compelling stories, marvel at their majesty – then sign our petition demanding they’re given ironclad protection by policymakers.

Elsewhere in the issue, we peek into the world of the quick and cunning stoat, visit mountainous Mourne Park in Northern Ireland and meet the mighty blue beetles helping us monitor woodland health on Dartmoor. You’ll even come face-to-face with a dragon! Luckily, she’s friendly…

Golden oldies

Ancient trees are among our most precious natural treasures, yet thousands of these magnificent giants have no legal protection whatsoever. Our lead feature counts down 25 of the UK’s most venerable veterans. Discover:

  • the Kissing Tree, where a laird and his parlourmaid illicitly trysted, and the Pulpit Yew, one-time pitch of the Methodist preacher John Wesley.
  • the inspiring 15-year-old who’s been recording veteran trees on our nationwide inventory since he was 12, helping us safeguard them. You can do the same!
  • why we’ve launched Living Legends, a campaign to give our biggest, oldest and most important trees the legal protection they deserve.

Ancient tracks, new beginnings

Lincolnshire’s Old Wood has as much history as its name suggests – lots! This issue, our bespoke woodland walk guides you through its ancient lime coppices to unearth fascinating Viking roots. Explore:

  • the medieval pathways where 14th century knights once poached deer. Muntjac and roe still reside here, alongside adders, bullfinches and buzzards.
  • the seedbank of new natives we’ll use to create a more resilient future forest, plus 1,600 saplings planted to offset those lost to ash dieback.
  • the impact of our £3.9 million Green Recovery Fund, which has seen 4,000 old trees surveyed and 2,700 acres of damaged ancient woods restored England-wide.

The secret world of mustelids

Stoats and weasels often get a bad rap, deemed cunning, vicious and sly. We’ve delved into their hidden lives and found out it’s all true… but in fairness, they’re tremendous fun besides. Get the lowdown on:

  • the eccentricities wildlife artist Robert Fuller discovered after studying nine litters of stoats in his camera-studded garden.
  • how to tell the difference between a stoat and a weasel – and what formidable hunters they are, each punching well above their weight.
  • what happened when a feisty female stoat brazenly pinched a young tawny owl’s lunch! Let’s just say Daddy owl wasn’t happy…

And there’s more...

Our summer pages hold sun-drenched treats aplenty. Dive inside to find:

  • the slug-guzzling blue ground beetle: these enigmatic critters are helping us monitor woodland health on Dartmoor, thanks to tiny radio trackers.
  • the wild pansies and golden plovers we’ll nurture near Wensleydale, as our bid to buy another 340 hectares of land in the Yorkshire Dales comes good.
  • green dragon Deborah Meaden dishing on her one-time den nickname, Swampy – and why caring about climate is non-negotiable in business.

All this and more in the latest edition of Broadleaf, free to members of the Woodland Trust.

Broadleaf is our quarterly magazine exclusive to Trust members. Its inspirational writing and stunning photography tell the inside story of how we, our members, volunteers and partners stand up for trees. To receive your regular copy and exciting welcome gift, become a member now.

Juvenile wood warbler on branch

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