Woodland planting benefits confirmed

Turtle doves and cuckoos are among the threatened wildlife which have made their home in some of the 1,000 woods created in recent years by the Woodland Trust, the organisation has revealed.

The Trust said more than 12 million trees have been planted since the 1970s to create 26,205 acres of woodland across the UK – an area bigger than all the Lake District lakes put together.

From scouts taking a boat to the island of Eilean Shona to plant trees to Swedish army troop carriers used at Glen Devon – as well as two "virtual woods" created on the Archers on BBC Radio 4 – more than three million people have helped achieve the milestone of 1,000 new woodlands.

But more native forests are needed, so the organisation is calling for 20 million trees a year to be planted over the next 50 years.

The Trust also warned that no progress would be made if new woodland was planted but action was not taken to protect what was already growing – with about 372 ancient woodlands now at risk from threats such as golf courses and gravel extraction.

Trust president Clive Anderson, said: "The simple act of planting trees unleashes a host of benefits: in just 12 years they become beautiful woodland, home to a vast array of wildlife and places where children can play, adults reflect, birds and plant life flourish and communities come together. They lock up carbon, are a natural defence against flooding, provide shelter from the elements and offer a sustainable supply of eco-friendly fuel."