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.
"Everyone, no matter what their background, deserves leafy streets and accessible, safe woodland. All the research says that time with nature improves health and happiness – this is important for students and for everyone else in society."
Shakira Martin, President, National Union of Students 2017
"Creating ways in which disabled people, the elderly or parents with pushchairs might access and enjoy nature will create a more equal community of tree lovers."
Tanvir Bush, author and sensory photographer
"I believe most people are born with an innate urge towards nature, but maybe some people don’t know that about themselves. It would be cool if forests weren’t just for that image we have of the English rambler, if they were for other people too; all people."
Emma-Lee Moss, aka Emmy the Great, musician
"I don't get out in the woods very often, because I use a wheelchair, but when I do smells of the earth and the trees, leaves and flowers and everything combine into one wonderful green growing scent."
Image: Stormwatch Pagan
"From when I was a small child in the 50’s to this very morning trees have been with me in my soul. My mother taught us the beauty of their wonder. To climb, hide, touch, smell they were to me the essence of my childhood. The animals that were living below and above the different leaves that fell in the golden autumn. I adore trees and to ride my horse through the them as I did today with the carpet of bluebells in view… Now that was magical."
Image: Sarah Rouse
"As a woodworker and outdoor practitioner trees are in my thoughts and life daily. Through outdoor work I have been privileged to introduce young people to the beauty and richness of the outdoors. Walking through woodland enables them to feel a connection with nature and learn how this habitat plays a part in our lives through the flora and fauna it homes. Woodland brings out the ‘play’ instinct in young people; shelter building, tree climbing, foraging for food – it’s amazing how a child is positive. They don’t like fruit until they get to pick something fresh off the tree or bush themselves. It is also a place for reflection and peace."
Image: Rossy McGarvey-Miranda
"Trees and hedgerows have always played an important role in my life. Growing up in the early 1950’s on a new council estate on the outskirts of a small town and a minute’s walk to the fields was wonderful. I never spent much time indoors as the trees and hedgerows were a tremendous draw. We didn’t need a mobile phone to arrange a meeting place as our preferred meeting place was 'the third tree' set amongst the most glorious dog roses, sloes and hawthorn hedgerow."
Image: Simon Rutherford
"I have lived in London for all my life. In this huge urban city there are thousands of trees, wonderful parks and squares and wildlife on our doorstep. It makes the city more beautiful and alive. Having had dogs now for 10 years I spend a lot of time in different parks around the city as well as going on weekends and holidays to the fantastic countryside in the UK. I love trees and plants and love seeing them in every season. If you’re having a bad day, spend some time with nature."
Image: Charron Puglsey-Hill
"For me trees and woods are magical. As a child I was in another world of wonder. As an adult they are a place to relax, to unwind, to forget the stresses of everyday. Woods are a place to reconnect with nature, all the animals and escape our clean glass and brick world. We all need trees."
Image: Donna West