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This week is National Tree Week and the UK’s largest annual tree celebration.

Each year, the country’s conservation sector, volunteer groups and tree-lovers come together to plant thousands of trees to mark the start of the tree planting season.


Trees are heroes of nature.

They help collect carbon dioxide from the air and release it as oxygen, making them important pollutant controllers.

More trees provide better air quality and more pockets of shade to shield us from the elements, all of which are good for human existence. The presence of trees also aids the surrounding species by providing them with shelter and food, while the soil obtains the nutrients it requires to develop stronger and more fruitful.


The beginnings of National Tree Week date back to 1973 when British parliamentarians Sydney Chapman and Peter Walker launched a campaign to raise awareness about the threat of Dutch elm disease, which was killing a substantial number of trees across the United Kingdom.


In 2017, a tree charter was launched and was backed by hundreds of organisations, schools, councils, celebrities, artists and community groups.


They helped define the 10 Principles of the Tree Charter, ensuring that it stands for every tree and every person in the UK:


  1. Sustain landscapes rich in wildlife
  2. Plant for the future
  3. Celebrate the power of trees to inspire
  4. Grow forests of opportunity and innovation
  5. Protect irreplaceable trees and woods
  6. Plan greener local landscapes
  7. Recover health, hope and wellbeing with the help of trees
  8. Make trees accessible to all
  9. Combat the threats to our habitats
  10. Strengthen our landscapes with trees.



The oak (specifically, the English oak) is the national tree of England, representing strength and endurance.

But it was the felling of a sycamore earlier this year that prompted a nationwide outpouring of anger and astonishment.

The Sycamore Gap tree was one of the most photographed in the country. It stood in a dramatic dip in Hadrian’s Wall in the Northumberland National Park. In late 2016 it took the crown for English Tree of the Year in the Woodland Trust’s awards and also features in the in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves starring Kevin Costner.

The sycamore was entirely the right species for that location because it tolerates the upland conditions, with high winds and colder temperatures. The Sycamore Gap Tree was the right tree, in the right place, for the right reason, and it inspired people – like a living piece of art.

Whilst some people yearn to see Buckingham Palace or the Trevi Fountain, I yearned to see the iconic Sycamore or “Robin Hood” tree – and it was the driving reason to sign up our Hadrian’s Wall trek in 2024.

And such is our connection with trees – a powerful, restorative, and mutual relationship that shapes not just our landscape but our soul.

Let’s look after them, celebrate them and cherish them.

National Tree Week








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