Nature recovery is as much about understanding, protecting and managing what we’ve already got as it is about creating new habitats. This is especially true of veteran trees, which can be hundreds of years old, but are still incredibly important for local ecology and wildlife even when they’re dead, not to mention being part of our cultural landscapes. The UK has a vast number of ancient trees compared to mainland Europe, but only a small proportion of them are mapped. In order to understand and protect ancient trees better, we need to know where and what they are.
This is why the Woodland Trust has created a project where anyone can not only check what ancient trees are already recorded in their area, but submit new records. In this way communities can help build a record of this valuable ecological resource in their area, perhaps feeding into a parish nature recovery plan.
This might be a good activity to bring together people within your local community who are interested in the natural world, including farmers or landowners who may well be happy for you to record ancient trees on their land.
Recording ancient trees for the Woodland Trust is simple and doesn’t take long. There are plenty of helpful resources available, including some excellent videos to help you get started on the Ancient Tree Inventory.