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Valuing and recording

Ancient and veteran trees are a link to our past, form a large part of our cultural heritage and are extremely valuable for wildlife. One of the first steps in protecting an ancient or veteran tree is to help people understand the value of these trees. It is also vital to record the presence of ancient trees so that there is a central record of where they can be found.

Record the tree on the Ancient Tree Inventory

The Ancient Tree Forum in partnership with the Woodland Trust and The Tree Register run an initiative called the Ancient Tree Hunt. Data from this helps to populate the Ancient Tree Inventory.

The Ancient Tree Inventory is a living database of ancient trees with over 150 000 trees recorded to date. Recording trees on the Ancient Tree Inventory gives us a much better understanding of the number of ancient trees across the UK, which is the first step towards cherishing and caring for them.

The Ancient Tree Inventory is increasingly recognised as an important database for planning and other purposes. The standing advice from Natural England and the Forestry Commission on ancient woodland and veteran trees identifies the database as a source of information on the locations of ancient and veteran trees, when looking at the potential impact of development.

To check whether the tree is recorded on the Ancient Tree Inventory, or to record a tree, visit the Ancient Tree Inventory website.

Support a national tree register of ‘Very Important Trees’

The Ancient Tree Forum in partnership with the Woodland Trust is campaigning for an official register to classify, celebrate and protect the UK’s nationally important and best-loved trees. The national register seeks to recognise the important contribution these trees make and provide the trees protection just as our historic buildings receive.

Support a national register of Very Important Trees in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Campaign in your community

There are various measures that can be taken to help protect ancient trees including contacting your MP, contacting your local council tree officer (see section on legal protection) and preparing a press release.

The Woodland Trust has a section of their website dedicated to campaigning locally which has lots of useful guidance.