YP Letters: Britain’s woods as vital as in reign of Henry III

Ramblers enjoying the view from the North York Moors last summer.
Ramblers enjoying the view from the North York Moors last summer.
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From: Oliver Franks, volunteer for The Woodland Trust, Lidgett Lane, Leeds.

COVERAGE surrounding the recent floods – for example, that surrounding the success of natural flood defences in Pickering – has recognised the immense potential of trees and woods in flood defence efforts.

Our woods provide other vital services too: defences against climate change and pollution, increased physical and mental wellbeing for local people, and refuges for some of our most threatened wildlife.

Therefore, it is concerning that woodlands across Yorkshire and the UK are now facing unprecedented pressures. In 1217, Henry III signed the Charter of the Forest, protecting the rights of common people to use the royal forests. Eight hundred years later, most of the UK’s woodland is gone or threatened, but its services are no less vital.

The Woodland Trust, along with 47 other organisations, will create a new Charter for Trees, Woods and People in 2017.

We encourage readers of The Yorkshire Post to get involved, particularly to tell their stories of how local trees and woodlands – from urban locations such as Leeds’s Gledhow Valley Woods, to dramatic ancient woodlands of the North York Moors – have made a difference to their lives or their community. Visit treecharter.co.uk to learn more.