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The Tree Charter launches to build a future for trees and people to stand together

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The 6th November 2017 sees the 800th anniversary of the 1217 Charter of the Forest.

King Henry III became king after King John died in 1216.   With the guidance of William Marshall (a famous Medieval knight), King Henry III put his seal to the Charter of the Forest in 1217.

The charter complemented Magna Carta’s clauses with special reference to the forest of the land.  It re-established the rights of the people using them.  In 1225, minor adjustments were made and the Charter was issued in its definitive form.

Two copies of the original 1217 Charter survive and one is in Lincoln – alongside the 1215 Magna Carta.

800 years later, on 6th November 2017, the Charter for Trees, Woods and People will be launched.   The Woodland Trust is leading it, with 70 organisations working to build a future in which people and trees stand stronger together.  The Charter believes the people of the UK have the right to the benefit brought by trees and woods and it will recognise, celebrate and protect this right.

In the last year, 50,000 tree stories have been submitted and the themes from these have informed the principles which underpin the charter. 


The Tree Charter Principles are (and I quote):

  1. Thriving habitats for diverse species
  2. Planting for the future
  3. Celebrating the cultural impact of trees
  4. A thriving forestry sector that delivers for the UK
  5. Better protection for important trees and woods
  6. Enhancing new developments with trees
  7. Understanding and using the natural health benefits of trees
  8. Access to trees for everyone
  9. Addressing threats to woods and trees through good management
  10. Strengthening landscapes with woods and trees

We all need to stand up for trees because there are plenty of threats facing them, as the Tree Charter points out.   Amongst these are human development such as roads, railways and homes;  pollution, a lack of awareness of forest jobs in young people, big trees dying of old age but not being replaced, pests and diseases and lack of protection for ancient woodland in planning policy.

Here's how you can join in:

  1. Give your support to this Tree Charter today – put your name to it and the Charter will plant a tree.
  2. Get involved in your local Tree Charter branch - or start one up!
  3. Go to events - or create your own!
  4. Visit its website and find out more 


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