Protect our living legends

Tell your government to save our oldest and most important trees.

Credit: Philip Formby / WTML
Credit: Philip Formby / WTML

Most of our oldest trees are not legally protected. We're urging governments across the UK to change that.

They're living legends. Pieces of history. Your heritage. They've witnessed centuries of change and been part of our landscape for generations. They're also vital havens for wildlife and important carbon stores, bringing health and wellbeing benefits for people and nature alike. But our oldest and most valuable trees are also vulnerable.

Right now, most ancient trees have no real legal protection in the UK. Many face a range of threats. 

  • In the last 150 years, 50% of large trees have been lost from parts of Eastern England.
  • Three quarters of ancient trees are found outside of legally protected wildlife sites.
  • Local communities across the UK are having to take drastic measures to save important trees in their communities. Not every campaign succeeds.

These national treasures should be here to stay. They deserve the same sort of protection enjoyed by old buildings, beloved national recipes and other endangered wildlife – some of which can't survive without ancient trees. And the people who care for them should be supported to do so.

Add your voice to our call for better protection

  • Our systems for protecting important trees urgently need updating.
  • We need improved laws to keep our oldest trees safe.

Our petition urges action for the UK's most special trees. By adding your voice to our campaign, you'll tell decision-makers to protect them properly. 

Tell your government to:
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Protect ancient trees

Give the UK’s very oldest and most important trees legal protection – like endangered wildlife, castles and old buildings already have.

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Stop the loss of old trees to development

Strengthen policy protection so that trees everywhere can grow old safe from harm. That's whether they're in new developments, urban areas or the countryside.

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Increase support for tree care

Make it easier for people who own and manage our oldest trees to access support to look after them.

Together, we're already making a difference

Increasing public support is adding weight to the call for legal protection.


people have already signed our petition

According to a YouGov poll:
  • 83% of people in Britain support legally protected heritage status for ancient trees.
  • 85% of people think national government and its agencies should be responsible for protecting ancient trees.

Progress is already happening

  • Planning policy in Scotland has boosted protection for ancient and veteran trees and ancient woods.
  • In Westminster, better protection has been debated by the House of Lords and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Woods and Trees.
  • A supportive Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly is planning a Private Member’s Bill on tree protection. This could be the first step to legal protection for the country's important trees.

As we build our case for new laws for trees, every voice counts. Please sign and share the petition.

Demand change

Better protection for our oldest trees is long overdue. Tell your government to protect our most important trees now.

Sign our petition

Already signed? Help give living legends a future by donating to support our work.