The natural world is graceful, delicate, beautiful, and majestic. But, it is fading before our eyes. Are we witnessing wildlife's last stand?

>> Darren: Ever since our founder, Ken Watkins, walked through the woods 50 years ago. We've been on a mission to create healthy havens for endangered wildlife. Now since I became chief executive in 2019, our determination has become even more resolute. That we have to work with urgency to tackle the nature crisis. All across our estate, our passionate staff and volunteers are working tirelessly to improve the habitats and conditions for countless species. For the past decade we're breathing new life into Fingle Woods in Devon. Which has created new healthy habitats for the endangered Hazel Dormouse.

>> Matt: We've begun a training program for some of the local volunteers and we feel it's important that they learn some of the ecological skills and so we've a couple of volunteers with us today. Learning how to monitor the dormice.

>> Darren: Thanks to our efforts to track and encourage breeding we are beginning to see the numbers of this incredibly rare species recover. At Loch Arkaig, magnificent Caledonian pine forest, we've literally gone new heights there. Building the perfect nesting environment for ospreys, right at the top of a native Scots pine tree.

>> Steve: The Caledonian pine forest is a very very special habitat in Scotland. Characterised by these beautiful mature pines that we see behind us. But also a range of other broadleaf tree species. We have some iconic wildlife in Loch Arkaig. Particularly the raptors. We've got sea eagles and ospreys and golden eagles on the site. Breeding and nesting on the site, so that's fantastic. As well as, mammals such as the pine marten, red squirrels, a whole host of really interesting exciting wildlife. We had great excitement last year with the success of the osprey cam. We put a lot of work in, there was a lot of challenges to get the infrastructure in place. So, we're in a remote part of the highlands with no power. So, we had to carry these 2 metre large solar panels up the hill in February in the cold and the ice and the snow and amazingly it all came together and it worked. So, it was all a challenge to us, all new to us and we're just delighted with the way it turned out. There we go its back on again. Ready for another season. *Clapping* Thanks very much.

>> Sophie: Welcome to Wentwood, Wales's largest ancient woodland site. Its currently being restored as a broadleaf woodland, away from years and years of conifer plantation. So our aim at Coed Cadw, which is the Woodland Trust in Wales. Is to create a really diverse habitat and as the restoration work continues, the broadleaf emerges and so do the prey animals. And so we have fantastic environment for one of my favourite mammals, the pine marten. As part of the ongoing work on this site our site manager Rob Davis works closely with the Vincent Wildlife Trust to monitor the pine martens on site by performing regular checks on the nest boxes and the camera traps. We don't know if our pine martens are breeding yet but our ultimate goal is to see our pine marten population at Wentwood merge with the population in mid-Wales. Which is a lot more established there. By connecting these two populations, really strengthens and safeguards these magnificent animals.

>> Gwen: Even though it was a 5 o'clock start this morning we've been very fortunate to see these iconic species and actually hear their bubbling and strutting. And sometimes ever comical displays. So, I think it was really worthwhile. Black grouse species are actually are a species that has been threatened by habitat loss. And over the last twenty years there's been a massive decline in the species. So, there's around 5000 that are remaining and the majority of those are in Scotland. So, we're very fortunate here at Glen Finglas and within the Great Trossachs National Nature Reserve to have a stable population of black grouse. And that is a testament to our management and habitat health.

>> Darren: I'm really excited about what we're going to be able to do at one of our newest acquisitions, Snaizeholme, in the Yorkshire Dales. At scale we'll create woodland mosaics which will be through planting and natural regeneration, which will help save the nature and particularly one of our favourites, the red squirrel. It's absolutely essential that this vital work can continue. And we can only do so with our supporters going with us every step of the way.

Please support our wildlife appeal.

The UK's woodland wildlife is in decline, with 53% of species at risk. Please make a donation to protect precious habitats and ensure a future for species like the hazel dormouse, red squirrel and osprey.


Your donation is a lifeline

We are working tirelessly every day to ensure that woods remain healthy habitats for animals, plants, and a myriad of other species. 

  • With your help, we can provide the variety of wooded landscapes for wildlife to thrive. We join up nature havens, restore damaged habitats and plant trees and plants to create a rich ecological mix.
  • We can create new woodland – through natural regeneration and careful planting of the right trees in the right places, providing vital corridors for bats, birds and invertebrates.
  • We can acquire existing woods, bringing them into our care and overseeing their management to benefit wildlife just as we have done at Victory Wood in Kent.
  • We can save and restore threatened ancient woodland – those remaining desperately fragile fragments of one of the UK’s richest habitats; that sustains thousands of species like the rare hazel dormice at Fingle Woods in Devon.
  • And we can lobby and educate, so governments and the next generation know how important nature is for our physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Together, we can create a better future for wildlife
1 in 10

More than one tenth of wildlife species is at risk of extinction.

The future of some of the UK's most vulnerable species hangs in the balance, as they rely on increasingly threatened habitats.

How we're helping wildlife to thrive

The Woodland Trust is custodian of thousands of rare and biodiverse habitats across the UK.

From Caledonian pinewoods and Atlantic rainforests to ancient woodlands, fens, moorlands and undisturbed grasslands, we protect these unique places for the animals, plants, fungi and thousands of other species that depend on them.

Fingle Woods, Devon

When we took on Fingle Woods, one of our top priorities was to revive the ailing hazel dormouse population through careful and sensitive habitat restoration.

Hazel dormouse

Scientific name: Muscardinus avellanarius

Conservation status: Vulnerable (VU) IUCN Red List.

Habitat: broadleaf woodland, woodland edges and grassland.

Threats: inappropriate woodland management, habitat fragmentation and climate change.

In 2014, we joined forces with the National Trust to buy Devon's Fingle Woods and restore it.

We focused on reviving the wood's ailing hazel dormouse population by gradually thinning conifers using horse logging and monitoring the existing dormice. We also installed nest boxes and tagged the tiny new inhabitants.

Almost 10 years on, restoration at Fingle is going well and dormouse numbers are increasing. However, the 2022 heatwave put the community under stress, indicating that climate change will be another increasing threat in years to come.

Victory Wood, Kent

The rare heath fritillary butterfly was rescued from the brink of extinction thanks to a restoration project that turned barren land into a vibrant haven for endangered wildlife.

Heath fritillary

Scientific name: Melitaea athalia

Conservation status: Section 41 species of principal importance under the NERC Act in England. UK BAP: Priority Species.

Habitat: coppiced or newly felled woodland on acid soils in South East England and sheltered heathland valleys in South West England.

Threats: habitat fragmentation, intensive agriculture and commercial forestry.

Victory Wood in Kent is home to one of the UK's most threatened butterflies, the heath fritillary. Restricted to just a few strongholds in the UK, the butterfly was rescued from the brink of extinction thanks to a remarkable restoration project that turned barren land destined for landfill into a vibrant haven for endangered wildlife.

The ancient woodland site was clear-felled in the 1950s. In 2004, we stepped in to save it. Victory Wood was reborn through a painstaking restoration project that reconnected surviving ancient woodland fragments, setting off a chain of events that allowed the rare heath fritillary butterfly to return.

This highly threatened species would almost certainly have become extinct in the UK were it not for conservation efforts over the past two decades.

Our work at Victory Wood has been critical. We planted trees, protected ancient woodland and encouraged natural regeneration. Now, the rare butterfly is back!

Claire Inglis
Site Manager, Victory Wood

Loch Arkaig Pine Forest, The Highlands

Our habitat restoration has helped the osprey make an incredible journey back to Loch Arkaig.


Scientific name: Pandion haliaetus

Conservation status: Amber List of UK Birds of Conservation Concern.

Habitat: freshwater lakes, large rivers, reservoirs and coastal areas to fish with nearby woodland, mature trees and deadwood for breeding.

Threats: habitat loss, poisoning and persecution.

Also known as the fish hawk, the magnificent osprey was pushed to extinction in the UK by the end of the First World War. It’s thought our woodland on the shores of Loch Arkaig in the Scottish Highlands might even have been home to the last breeding pair.

But nature proved resilient. Ospreys returned naturally to Scotland in the 1950s and have gone on to recolonise many of their former haunts. Pairs had attempted to breed at Loch Arkaig, so we built a nest for them when we took over the site in 2016.

The return of breeding ospreys every year since is a reminder of the power of nature and a reward for the wonderful restoration we’ve undertaken at Loch Arkaig Pine Forest. 

Despite hundreds of years of tree felling and plantation planting, the forest is still recovering. We continue our efforts to create a healthy mosaic of habitats for nature and people. We couldn't do it without your support.

Cwm Mynach, Gwynedd

The rare and elusive pine marten is starting to make a comeback in some of our woods, thanks to partnership working.

Pine marten

Scientific name: Martes martes

Conservation status: England: Critical (CR), Wales: Critical (CR) IUCN Red List.

Habitat: woodland.

Threats: habitat fragmentation and persecution.

The exceptionally rare and elusive pine marten is making a comeback in our woods, thanks to a partnership project with the Vincent Wildlife Trust (VWT).

The VWT translocated 51 adult pine martens from Scotland to Mid Wales between 2015 and 2018, where they faced extinction. The Welsh martens were radio-tracked for their first year, allowing the VWT to record patterns of movement and territorial behaviour. Breeding has taken place every year since 2015 and the martens have spread to new territories in Mid Wales and the Forest of Dean.

The project team has confirmed that some of the martens have given birth to kits and the new arrivals are now fully grown and carving out territories of their own.

This is a major conservation success story. The project has helped to ensure the future of this iconic species and is a testament to the power of conservation.

Snaizeholme, Yorkshire

Red squirrels have undergone one of the most drastic declines of all UK mammals, but we've created a vibrant network of habitats that is helping to increase their numbers in England.

Red squirrel

Scientific name: Sciurus vulgaris

Conservation status: Endangered (EN) IUCN Red List.

Habitat: woodland. 

Threats: habitat loss, competition from non-native grey squirrels and diseases such as squirrel pox virus.

One of our boldest and most adventurous projects in England to date should lay the foundations for a huge revival of the endangered red squirrel population in the Yorkshire Dales.

Our transformation at Snaizeholme, the site we were lucky enough to acquire in 2021, is a massive challenge. The land is crying out for trees and with a combination of tree-planting and natural regeneration we’ll be linking and buffering patches of neighbouring ancient woodland.

Crucially, we'll extend and protect an existing red squirrel reserve, providing much-needed habitat for this endangered species and others, including black grouse.

Please make a donation

Your donation, no matter how small, will help us care for the woodland that our wildlife so desperately needs. Thank you for your support.

Donate now

Prefer to donate offline?
By phone

Call us on 0330 333 3300 between 8.30am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday and our friendly team will be there to assist.

By post

Send a cheque to our head office at Woodland Trust, Kempton Way, Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG31 6LL. Please make cheques payable to The Woodland Trust.