In a combined bid with the National Trust, we were fortunate to win a generous grant from the Green Recovery Challenge Fund. The funding will help us to improve the condition of ancient woods and veteran trees across our own estate, on National Trust land and with private landowners. The £4.6 million programme is 15 months long, ending in March 2022.

What is the Green Recovery Challenge Fund?

Launched in 2020, the Green Recovery Challenge Fund (GRCF) is a short-term fund for environmental charities and their partners whose England-based projects are ready for delivery. The focus is on nature restoration, nature-based solutions and connecting people with nature, while creating and keeping jobs.

Our goals

Over the course of the programme, our focus is on three areas to protect and nurture irreplaceable habitats.

1. Restore damaged ancient wooded habitats

Most of England’s ancient woodland has been lost - it now covers just 2.8% of the country. Around half of what remains needs urgent management to remove non-native trees and plants that prevent native wildlife from thriving.

Learn more about ancient woodland and restoration

2. Survey and positively manage our most valued ancient and veteran trees

Ancient and veteran trees are are often the last refuges for our hard-pressed wildlife. We have Europe’s best array of ancient trees, with more than 160,000 already recorded on the Ancient Tree Inventory. But thousands more are out there and in grave danger of being lost. We want to find them so we can protect them, and create a national blueprint for reviving them.

3. Train workers and volunteers to manage and care for these irreplaceable habitats

We'll create a skilled cohort of workers and volunteers to look after these beating hearts of our natural heritage by:

  • delivering a programme of training courses for staff, land managers and practitioners
  • engaging higher education institutes
  • identifying study sites
  • developing case studies and online resources
  • providing a speaker programme to influence the foresters of the future.

Where is the work happening?

Surveying of ancient and veteran trees will focus on Devon, East of England and Sherwood, Nottinghamshire, where we have identified gaps in recording and knowledge of threat levels.

As indicated on the map below, ancient woodland restoration activity will focus on:

Get in touch

Want to know more about the project or get involved? Email us at