Schools and community groups that want to plant trees and be part of the Woodland Trust’s Big Climate Fightback are being warned time is running out to apply for free saplings.

This month the charity has sent out more than 600,000 trees across the UK, but 600,000 more are up for grabs to be planted in spring 2021. They’re on a strictly first come first served basis with a deadline to apply of Tuesday 5 January.

Senior project lead Vicki Baddeley said:

“This month we launched the Big Climate Fightback, a rallying call to the public to help us achieve our ambition of getting 50 million more trees in the ground over the next five years to help tackle the climate change emergency. It has been great to see so many people grabbing their spades to do their bit but it’s not too late to join in.

“Covid-hit 2020 has been a tough year for so many, including in woodland conservation where UK tree planting is down by 30% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to 2019.  There have been real challenges on communities to get out to plant in large numbers, but we are hopeful that there’s light at the end of the tunnel and the situation will be less restrictive come spring.

“Trees are a fantastic symbol of hope and regeneration. They’re also our biggest natural weapons in the fight against climate change, locking up carbon, converting it to oxygen, providing shade and shelter for wildlife and providing us with places to relax and to breathe.

“We need more and our free tree pack scheme is the perfect opportunity for people to create a better environment for all our futures.”

Woodland Trust tree packs are generously funded by lead partners Sainsbury’s, players of People’s Postcode Lottery, Lloyds Bank, OVO Energy, Joules, Bank of Scotland and Sofology.

Packs contain a mix of UK sourced and grown native broadleaf species such as hazel, rowan, hawthorn, common oak, silver birch, wild cherry, elder, dogwood and holly.

There are packs that will provide year-long colour, a wild harvest or a haven for wildlife. One contains hardy species which tolerate exposed sites and dry up areas where water collects easily, or a working wood mix could provide fuel for wood burners or willow for weaving.

They come in packs of 15 (perfect for urban areas), 30 (which will create a six-metre hedgerow or a tennis court-sized copse), 105 (enough to cover an area as big as four tennis courts) or 420 (to cover an area the size of a football pitch).

To order your free trees, visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/freetrees before Tuesday, 5 January.

Find out more about the Big Climate Fightback, which is also backed by players of People’s Postcode Lottery: www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/bigclimatefightback

Notes to editors

For further information, please contact Dee Smith in the Woodland Trust press office at deesmith@woodlandtrust.org.uk

The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. It has over 500,000 supporters. It wants to see a UK rich in native woods and trees for people and wildlife.

The Trust has three key aims: 

  1. protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable
  2. restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life
  3. plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering over 29,000 hectares. Access to its woods is free.