The Big Interview: Woodland Trust knows that life is better with trees

The Woodland Trust's head office. Photo courtesy of Phil Lockwood.
The Woodland Trust's head office. Photo courtesy of Phil Lockwood.
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The Woodland Trust has been based in Grantham for over three decades. The Trust’s site manager for Lincolnshire, Ian Froggatt, told us more about their ongoing work to ensure woods in the area, and across the UK, are preserved and created for future generations to enjoy.

**Why was Grantham chosen for the HQ of the Woodland Trust?

Tradition - our very first paid employee John James, hired in 1981, was from Grantham. Ever since then we have been based here. Of course its transport links between London and other major cities is great for us when working with other charities and organisations, and visiting our many woods across the UK. We were also able to find land here on which to develop our sustainable offices.

**What are your current and future projects in the area?

Londonthorpe Wood is a really key site. It’s incredibly popular with dog walkers, but we want it to be for everyone - families, schools, and anyone who wants to enjoy the great outdoors. Over the next few years we hope to see more events and opportunities to explore the wood – keep an eye out on our website, Facebook and in the Journal for more details. Londonthorpe has also seen the early signs of ash dieback - a worrying development. We’re working with the University of Worcester at the site to carry out research that will give us a better understanding of how the disease spreads and can be contained. Outside our woods, we’re advising landowners on how to combat tree disease, but also how planting trees can benefit livestock and crops. We’re not just planting huge woods, but also individual trees and hedgerows strategically, for productivity and economic benefit.

**What are the Trust’s key aims?

The creation of new, native woodland is one of our main focuses. We’re passionate about giving everyone the chance to plant a tree and create vibrant new habitats for local wildlife. Schools and community groups can apply for free tree packs to plant in their local area – simply go to www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees/ These can be part of our First World War Centenary Woods project to create commemorative woodlands. We’re also passionate about protecting ancient woodland and veteran trees – championing their importance to our natural environment when planning policy fails to do so. We campaign for policy changes, so that trees and woods are given more security. Finally, some woodland has suffered as a result of invasive, non-native species and Second World War forestry. We’ve focused on restoring ancient woods to their former glory by gradually thinning out conifers and plants such as holly, which block light and choke other species, so that the more delicate, natural flora, like bluebells, can flourish and thrive. Put simply, we think life’s better with trees, and we want to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to enjoy and value them as much as we do.

**How can people get involved?

The first way is to simply get out exploring and having your own woodland adventures! You can search for woods close to your postcode on our website, to help you plan either a quick trip somewhere on your doorstep, or a big day out somewhere new. For families we provide free, fun ideas as part of our Nature Detectives Club, or you can become a Guardian of the Woods and support your local woodland through a monthly donation. We really value people giving us their time as well, and we have plenty of opportunities in Lincolnshire. To find out more go to www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/get-involved