Muddy boot print

Make trees accessible to all

Trees offer shared experience to every age, religion and race. In woods people can work together, sharing experiences and learning from each other and their natural surroundings. Those who no longer move with ease can still find pleasure among the trees. Cheerful voices ring through leaves, from makeshift pitches and games of make-believe. There should be room for us all beneath spreading canopies.


  1. Help children build a connection with trees in school
    A connection with trees formed in childhood can last a lifetime, leading to adults who care about trees and nature and want to spend time among them for their work or leisure. Outdoor learning among and about trees should be part of the curriculum at all levels of education.

  2. Support landowners to open their woods to people
    Many people live close to woods that they cannot enter. Landowners should receive support and encouragement to overcome legal and practical barriers to allowing public access to their woods. Opportunities should be created for communities, landowners and organisations to explore ideas and work together to find ways for people to access and enjoy local woods in a safe, responsible way.

  3. Involve communities in planting and managing trees and woods
    The practical work of planting, monitoring and managing woodland habitats can involve volunteers who wish to give time to enhancing their community while spending time and gaining skills with trees. Local authorities and land managers should create opportunities for local residents to help create and manage woodland, trees and hedges in their community.

  4. Identify and overcome barriers to accessing woods and trees
    Everyone in society should feel able and welcome to enjoy time among trees irrespective of age, ethnicity, background and disability. Access to woodland, trees and green space should be a core driver of public funding schemes for public benefit. Local and national decision-makers need to address social and practical barriers to accessing woods and trees by ensuring affordable public transport access, and by promoting and facilitating inclusivity and diversity in these spaces.

  5. Promote awareness of local opportunities to access woods and trees
    People may not know that there are opportunities to spend time among trees. Clear information about local accessible woods and green spaces with trees should be available to all in society, including details of public transport links and structured opportunities for volunteering, socialising and exercising among trees.

  6. Promote diversity and inclusivity in forestry and arboriculture
    There are varied and rewarding opportunities for people of all backgrounds working with trees and timber, but these career paths are less well known and understood than others. Training opportunities and qualifications in tree and woodland management should be widely promoted as equal opportunities for all, and made accessible to everyone in society.

  7. Support the creation of community woodland groups
    Community woodland management brings people together around their local wood. Support should be made available to support the creation of local community woodland groups, including funding, peer support networks and expert advice in brokering relationships with managers of woodland on both private and public land.

  8. Implement a Woodland Access Standard
    Ensure no one is denied access to woodland by ensuring that no person lives more than 500m from an area of accessible woodland of 2ha or more, and no more than 4km from accessible woodland of no less than 20ha.

  9. Foster a love of trees and woods across society
    The best way to ensure a positive future for trees and woods is to ensure that people across the UK will stand up for them. Enabling and encouraging everyone in society to access and enjoy trees should be recognised as a strategic action to ensure that the next generation will care for and protect trees.

  10. Safeguard the future of the Public Forest Estates
    The Public Forest Estates represent a large percentage of accessible woodland in the UK. The Public Forest Estates of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should be held in trust and maintained for the public benefit in perpetuity.

  • Natural Childhood
    The National Trust’s Natural Childhood report examines the costs of ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ and asks how we can reengage children with the natural world.
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  • Natural Health and Equity
    Friends of the Earth Europe have reviewed evidence that limited access to nature can compound health inequality.
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  • Woods for Health strategy
    Forestry Commission Scotland’s NHS green space initiative focuses on making local woodland accessible to encourage outdoor activity and healthy lifestyles.
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  • NHS Forest
    The NHS Forest website holds a collation of research and evidence on the health benefits of access to green space.
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  • Public access to woodlands
    This evidence review by Forest Research looked at the motivations behind and wellbeing benefits gained from visiting woodland.
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  • Making Woodlands More Accessible
    The Forestry Commission provides guidance on enabling access to woodland for disabled people and those with limited mobility.
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  • The role of Community Woodland Groups
    Llais y Goedwig outlines the benefits of community woodland groups now and in the future.
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