Heart-shaped leaf

Recover health, hope and wellbeing with the help of trees

Peace grows quietly in tree-lined places, where bees, fresh scents and birdsong revive our jaded senses. Sprays of greenery ensure cleaner air and clearer minds, and fitter bodies, more inclined to take a walk or meet a friend. Spirits lift and stress recedes when we stroll through healing glades. Parks and woodlands keep us well and help to quell fears of illness, ageing, loss – we breathe more freely under trees. Healthcare and tree-care go hand in hand: harness the therapeutic power of trees.


  1. Develop an action plan to harness the health benefits of trees
    Trees can contribute to healthcare if their potential is explored. Develop a visionary and inspiring plan of action in partnership with the NHS to realise the preventative and health potential of trees, woods and green space for people.

  2. Create health opportunities through cross-sector partnerships
    Health benefits can be enjoyed from trees and woods that are performing other roles in the landscape. Encourage and enable embedded cross-sector working between the health sector and the forestry, conservation and green space management sectors.

  3. Create healthier environments with trees
    Bringing trees closer to people where they live and work has been shown to improve their health and wellbeing by improving air quality, raising their spirits and encouraging healthy lifestyles. Local Authorities should ensure the presence of trees where people live and work as part of their health and wellbeing strategy.

  4. Create spaces that heal
    Careful design and management choices can maximise the health benefits of trees. Light, open outdoor spaces surrounded by varied trees offer an uplifting and restful experience, and safe level access to green spaces with trees encourages healthier active travel choices such as cycling and walking. Inside buildings, the use of visible timber products has been shown to lower stress and improve mood. Planners, landscape architects, site managers and designers should seek to harness the health benefits of trees when defining spaces for people.

  5. Promote the benefits of green surroundings
    Views of trees through windows can improve concentration and lower stress for those who cannot go outside. Institutions such as schools, universities, hospitals and care homes should strive to ensure that trees can be seen through every window to maximise the benefits to occupants.

  6. Give children a daily dose of trees
    In our formative years we establish habits that stay with us for life. Schools should seek to ensure that time spent outside with trees is a frequent part of school life for students of all ages, ensuring children discover the benefits of time amongst trees. The health benefits of trees should be part of the curriculum.

  • Trees Improve Our Air Quality
    The Urban Forestry Network describe the many benefits of trees for improving air quality.
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  • Nature and wellbeing
    A report by the University of Essex for The Wildlife Trusts examines the wellbeing benefits from natural environments rich in wildlife.
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  • Health and the natural environment
    Various reports by Natural England expand on the health benefits of the natural environment.
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  • Woods for Health
    Forestry Commission Scotland have a selection of policy, case study and research evidence with a specific focus on woodlands.
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  • Natural Thinking
    This report by Dr William Bird for the RSPB investigates the links between the natural environment, biodiversity and mental health.
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  • Healthy Woods: Healthy Lives
    Four Woodland Trust case studies demonstrate the health benefits to be gained from time spent in woods.
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  • Trees in healthcare
    CHS Networks provides access to a number of resources describing the role of trees in healthcare.
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