Green Recovery Challenge Fund

Tom Reed and Emma Gilmartin, 01/04/2021

Green Recovery Challenge Fund – a boost for ancient and veteran trees

At the end of 2020, the Woodland Trust, in partnership with the National Trust, was awarded an impressive £3.86 million grant from the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund (GRCF) for work on ancient woodland restoration and ancient trees. As part of this, we have some exciting projects planned that will help us to further our work in mapping and securing our special ancient and veteran trees.

Please read on to hear about some of the projects that we’ll be working on this year, and watch this space for future updates.

Recording the girth of an ancient tree. Photo: Sarah Shaw, WTML

New Ancient Tree Inventory (ATI) videos

This year we are producing a suite of new videos, covering everything that you need to know to begin recording trees to the ATI. The videos will help to bring our existing recording guidance to life and will complement the advice given in our digital recording guide (available as a PDF via this link).

The videos will be ready to view towards the end of the year on the ATI website as well as the Woodland Trust’s YouTube account.

Improved resources for volunteer verifiers

Every tree that gets recorded to the ATI needs to be verified before it becomes visible on the interactive map. We have a team of dedicated volunteer verifiers who help us by visiting trees to determine whether they can be classified as ‘ancient’, ‘veteran’ or ‘notable’.

To provide greater support to new volunteer verifiers, we will be producing a brand new training course. This will cover many essential topics, so that volunteers can confidently verify trees and ensure the quality of records in our database.

This year we will not be recruiting and training new volunteer verifiers whilst we develop this course, and plan to resume recruiting new verifiers in 2022 once the project has been completed.

New surveys and action on the ground

Extra recording and funding for management in targeted regions

Whilst we will continue to record trees across the UK, this year we will be funding some extra  activity in some of our priority areas, in close partnership with the National Trust and other local landowners. At sites in Devon, Nottinghamshire, and in the east of England we will see arboricultural survey, threat assessment of trees and funding to manage and secure those trees in need.

New guidance on tree assessment and management

Over the next year, we will determine the best action for ancient and veteran trees in need of help. Using learnings and case studies from the GRCF project, we will write and publish a new guide that will describe a process to:

1) record a tree to the Ancient Tree Inventory

2) identify life-shortening threats to a tree 

3) recommend best practice management and prioritise further actions.

We hope this new guide will launch a step change in approach to securing individual trees in the wider environment.

Graffiti damage to a veteran oak. Photo: Ted Green, WTML

Looking up into the canopy of an ancient tree. Photo: Ken Leslie, WTML

Training and support for staff and partners

Finally, we plan to offer new training for staff at the Woodland Trust, National Trust and some of our closest partners. We will be working with the Ancient Tree Forum to deliver a number of inspiring VETree and VETcert courses to ensure we have many more tree champions who can share knowledge and advocate for best practice tree management.

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Spotted an old tree?

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