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11 Of The Best Tree Planting Charities In The UK

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11 Of The Best Tree Planting Charities In The UK

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Want to plant trees and rewild the right way? Discover the best tree planting charities in the UK.

Francesca Brooking

Mon 25 Jul 2022

It’s a well known fact that planting trees has numerous benefits for the environment, people wildlife and mitigating climate change.

According to the Committee on Climate Change, the UK needs to plant 1.5 billion trees to help it reach its zero carbon emissions target by 2050.

That’s a lot of trees - but the task isn’t as simple as throwing seeds on the ground and hoping for the best.

Planting trees requires careful, science-based research and planning.

So, with that in mind, the pebble team have put together a roundup of some of the best tree planting charities in the UK.

The bottom of a tree trunk with mossy green roots - the best tree planting charities
“The UK needs to plant 1.5 billion trees to help it reach its zero carbon emissions target by 2050”

Whether big or small, these charities plant and protect trees in a way that ensures a lasting positive impact on local landscapes and communities.

Plus, they help to restore resilient ecosystems in the face of climate change.

Keep reading to discover the mission behind these tree planting charities and how to get involved.

11 Of The Best Tree Planting Charities In The UK

Green woodland with mossy rocks and ancient trees in the UK

1. Trees for Cities

Trees for Cities is the only UK charity that works on a national and international scale to plant more trees in cities.

Founded in 1993, the charity works with local communities to help them revitalise neglected spaces, create healthier environments and enhance diversity in urban areas. So far, it’s planted 1,285,073 trees in urban areas.

Trees for Cities also does extensive work with schools, offering programmes such as Edible Playgrounds, Growing Among the Trees and Planting Healthy Air in Schools.

These projects aim to help improve children’s mental health, connect with nature and empower them to grow their own food.

Volunteers from Trees for Cities planting a tree

Trees for Cities works to make urban areas greener

Image Trees for Cities

Key projects: The minimum canopy cover target for UK towns and cities is 20%, however, Hull had a comparably low percentage at 13.2%.

Trees for Cities joined forces with the PATT foundation to launch the ‘One Hull of a Forest’ campaign in which 3750 trees were planted at Alderman Cogan primary school.

Ways to contribute: The best ways to help Trees for Cities are through donations, fundraising and look for volunteering events in your local area.

People planting trees with trees for cities, one of the best tree planting charities

The charity does extensive work with schools

Image Luca Radek

2. The Tree Council

The Tree Council works with governments, communities and everyone in between towards a shared mission to protect trees and the future of the planet.

This tree planting charity supports healthy and diverse treescapes across the UK through science, research, funding, and planting and education projects.

It also acts as a coordinator, bringing charities together and inspiring policy changes in government.

An example of this is the Talk to the Hedge programme which is a series of events and projects with an aim to protect Britain’s hedges.

Two people planting trees with the Tree Council

The Tree Council supports healthy and diverse treescapes across the UK

Key projects: The Tree Council launch campaigns in celebration of trees throughout the year which you can be a part of.

Each one has an aim to raise awareness and connect local communities with nature.

Get involved with Tree Care Campaign (31 March to 21 September), join National Hedgerow Week (September) and gather seeds in Seed Gathering Season (23 September - 23 October).

Ways to contribute: You can support The Tree Council by donating. Another way to contribute is to become a volunteer tree warden in your area.

Two volunteers planting a tree sapling with The Tree Council

Get involved with The Tree Council's tree campaigns throughout the year

3. International Tree Foundation

International Tree Foundation works all over the world to plant trees in partnership with local communities. Its particular focuses are Kenya and the UK.

Its UK Community Tree Planting Programme supports grassroots and small-scale community tree planting projects through funding and coordination.

The focus is all about empowering local communities to design and run their own projects and engage with their local area.

From community orchards to native woodland planting, all its projects take place on land that the general public can visit to encourage local ownership and positive wellbeing.

People planting trees in Oxford City Farm

The International Tree Foundation supports small scale projects including Oxford City Farm

Key projects: In March 2022, International Tree Foundation partnered with Unit Response, a charity that offers support for mental health needs, learning and physical disabilities.

Together with local staff, volunteers and the community, they planted 5,000 trees in Boscawen Farm in Cornwall.

The project has a long term aim to open a forestry school for people to learn hands-on tree planting skills.

Ways to contribute: Donate to International Tree Foundation.

Women wearing green t-shirts holding tree saplings in Kenya

The charity helps projects both nationally and internationally

4. Trees for Life

A top UK tree planting charity, Trees for Life is on a mission to rewild the Highlands of Scotland by restoring the Caledonian Forest which once covered 1.5 million hectares of land.

It also has a hand in rewilding the Affric Highlands, a Rewilding Europe area of conservation plus researching and reintroducing wildlife such as red squirrels and the Lynx.

To date, the charity has planted nearly two million trees.

It also provides training for rewilding projects and educational resources for schools.

Read more about Trees for Life conservation weeks and other eco-friendly getaways: 14 Best Eco Hotels, Nature Breaks And Conservation Holidays In The UK

Drone view of Dundreggan Estate with Trees for Life, Scotland

Trees for Life offers conservation weeks for volunteers to help plant trees

Key projects: Trees for Life runs popular Conservation Weeks which invites volunteers from all over the world to help plant trees in the Scottish Highlands.

You can help with projects at the new Dundreggan Rewilding Centre, care for saplings at the Tree Nursery or get involved with rewilding at Affric Highlands.

Ways to contribute: Donate, plant a tree, share resources and get involved with Conservation Weeks.

A bothy in the Scottish Highlands with snow-capped mountains behind

You join their Conservation Weeks and stay in the Highlands

5. Avon Needs Trees

Avon Needs Trees is a small Bristol-based charity that buys land in the Bristol-Avon Catchment Area to reforest and rewild.

Aptly named, the charity is working to restore Avon’s depleted woodland to enhance biodiversity and provide natural flood management for towns and cities in the area.

The acquired land is also open to access by the public.

Supported by larger organisations such as The Environmental Agency, The Woodland Trust, the Bristol-Avon Rivers Trust among others, the charity has successfully bought two areas of land and is actively looking for a third.

A family volunteering and planting trees with Avon Needs Trees

Avon Needs Trees is actively looking for land to rewild

Image Daisy Brasington from Remember the Future

Key projects: To date. Avon Needs Trees had planted 22,000 trees across two areas of land.

It’s now looking for a third area to buy and it’s keen to work with local communities and with the landscape in mind to plant the right trees.

Young people aged 10-18 are also invited to join its series of Conservation Volunteer Days.

Ways to contribute: Donate, donate your old car with Givecar, volunteer and partner or sell your land.

Volunteers standing outside with a wheelbarrow smiling at the camera

Join the charity's series of Conservation Days

Image Daisy Brasington from Remember the Future

6. Birmingham Trees for Life

Birmingham Trees for Life is a Birmingham-based charity dedicated to planting trees in the city. Every winter, it organises tree planting events in parks and public open spaces.

Since 2006, it’s planted 100,000 trees. The charity works with Birmingham City Council, Trees for Cities and The Woodland Trust to bring these events to life.

Birmingham Trees for Life is particularly interested in getting children and young people involved in planting trees.

It offers volunteering and education opportunities for schools in the local area.

A path across grass in a park with trees on the left

Birmingham Trees for Life is dedicated to planting more trees in the city

Key projects: Every summer, Birmingham Trees for Life works with the council’s ground maintenance contractors and Woodland Management Team to put together a list of public spaces to plant trees.

Tree planting gets underway between November and March.

Ways to contribute: You can sponsor tree planting projects or keep an eye on events and seasonal volunteering opportunities.

Birmingham skyline with a tree

Keep an eye out for seasonal volunteer opportunities

7. Heal Rewilding

Heal Rewilding is an innovative not-for-profit organisation that’s taking a different approach to planting trees. It crowdfunds to buy land for rewilding around England.

You’re invited to sponsor a 3x3 metre square of land for the purpose of rewilding.

3x3 Heal donations are put towards acquiring a foundation rewilding site. Once enough money is raised, every Heal is matched up randomly with a what3words address on the site.

Since its launch in March 2020, it’s raised over £340,000 in donations and secured a £3 million loan to be put towards two rewilding sites.

Mockup of what a heal rewilding square looks like with a deer

Sponsor a 3x3 metre piece of land to help Heal Rewilding meet its goals

Key projects: Heal Rewilding’s project is ongoing. It’s looking to buy a neglected piece of land that’s at least 500 acres and accessible by transport.

It also wants to convert buildings into spaces for public engagement.

So far it’s in Phase one of its long term plan which is raising £7 million to acquire a foundation site in the South of England.

Ways to contribute: Sponsor a 3x3 Heal, donate monthly, volunteer, become a corporate sponsor.

A meadow with a tree in it and trees lining the outskirts

Heal is in phase one of its rewilding plan

8. Rewilding Britain

Rewilding Britain is the first and only country-wide organisation in the UK that focuses on rewilding and the benefits it brings.

The organisation supports landowners from community groups to NGOs, private and state owned to put rewilding into practice in a science backed and sustainable way.

Rewilding Britain has set up the Rewilding Network, a place for people who want to rewild to connect with others, share knowledge and get advice.

It’s also launched a new Rewilding Innovation Fund to help scale up restoration across Britain.

A green woodland in Oxford

Rewilding Britain is the first and only country-wide organisation in the UK

Key projects: Rewilding Britain has a hand in campaigns all over the UK.

Key projects include restoring England’s national parks, expanding woodland areas, rewetting peatlands, reintroducing missing species and supporting nature based economies.

Ways to contribute: Support this organisation by donating or doing your own rewilding using its resources.

A red squirrel sitting on a log

The organisation also works with wildlife conservation projects

9. Forestry England

Forestry England manages 1500 forests around England. It works to rebuild and protect forests, care for recovering ecosystems, and reintroduce missing species all through research and expert land management.

Its nursery grows 7 million new trees every year to replant forests and create new woodland areas.

Forestry England’s forests are designed with people in mind too. Its built over 1800 miles of walking, running and cycling trails plus set up education centre to invite communities to connect with nature.

It’s also England’s largest supplier of sustainably sourced timber.

Some trees are felled in a process called ‘thinning’ which allows more plants and wildlife to flourish.

This occurs when trees are fully grown anywhere from 40-150 after planting.

Read The UK's Best Forests: Where To Go To Surround Yourself With Trees

tall, green trees along the background, but the main focus is the greenery on the forest floor

Forestry England manages 1500 forests around England

Key projects: Forestry England hosts a range of outdoor events throughout the year.

Sign up to be a Forest Runner, enjoy art installations and sculpture trails or bring families along to do the Superworm Trails.

Discover what’s on in the forest near you.

Ways to contribute: Become a volunteer, donate, become a corporate sponsor, become a member and leave a legacy.

a canopy-level view of the forest, seeing the forest stretch into the horizon

Enjoy the benefits of forest bathing in a forest near you

10. Yorkshire Rewilding Network

The Yorkshire Rewilding Network is a charity which aims to bring together anyone in the region who has an interest in rewilding.

It’s a network to inspire, share knowledge, get help and work towards a nature-first approach to land management.

You can also use it to find rewilding projects near you and meet like-minded people via a forum.

The charity’s aim is to empower communities to rewild no matter what scale, from patios and allotments to urban gardens and 1000-acre farms.

A gloved hand and trowel planting a tree sapling

Yorkshire Rewilding Network is a community for passionate rewilding enthusiasts

Key projects: The Yorkshire Rewilding Network host a series of free and paid events throughout the year. The best way to stay up to date is to join the forum which is free.

Ways to contribute: You can donate or become a member.

A clearing with young trees growing

Join the network and get involved

11. The Woodland Trust

One of pebble’s favourite tree planting charities, the Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK.

It plants and restores the nation’s woodlands through science-backed research and evidence. It has over 1,000 woods in its care.

The Woodland Trust also works with the government and policymakers to secure stronger protection for trees in the UK.

Projects and campaigns include funding for agroforestry on farms and fighting for the survival of some of the oldest trees in Britain.

Get outdoors and discover 22 Best UK Nature Reserves For Walks And Wildlife

Ancient mossy green woodland in the UK

The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK

Key projects: The Woodland Trust has a number of projects and appeals on the go.

Current campaigns include saving trees from the new HS2 rail link, rewilding Norfolk and petitioning the government to save ancient unprotected woodland.

Ways to contribute: Become a member, donate, support an appeal, join a campaign, petition and fundraise.

Ancient oak tree lit up in the sunlight in early morning

Help the Woodland Trust save Britain's ancient trees

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