The Charter for Trees, Woods and People





More than 70 organisations from across multiple sectors have joined forces to lead society in creating a Charter for Trees, Woods and People that will guide policy and practice in the UK, enabling a future in which trees and people stand stronger together.

The Tree Charter will be launched at Lincoln Castle on November 6 2017, the 800th anniversary of the historic 1217 Charter of the Forest which established rights of access and use for the Royal Forests in England. Lincoln Castle is home to one of the last two remaining copies of this historic document, which will be joined by the new Charter for Trees, Woods and People.


Trees, woods and forest livelihoods in the UK are facing more threats today than at any time in history, yet are consistently undervalued and overlooked in decision-making and practice in all areas of society. We risk losing trees from our lives and landscapes if we don’t act before it is too late.

What is a charter?

A charter is a document that sets out rights for a group of people. Traditionally a charter would be issued by the government or monarch (as the Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest were), however the Tree Charter will be built from the grassroots up, and will influence policy and practice through people power.

The word charter originates from the Latin word for a piece of paper or papyrus.


What will the charter say?

The Tree Charter will set out how people and trees should be able to benefit each other. The guidelines and principles it contains will be applicable to policy, business practice and individual action.

The articles of the Tree Charter will set out practical roles and responsibilities for the people of the UK to ensure that the principles or aims of the charter can be achieved. The articles are being written by experts from the organisations involved in the call.

What will the charter look like?

The Tree Charter will be a physical document produced in a way that reflects the utility of trees. Copies will be displayed in key locations across the UK.

The Tree Charter will also have a home online at for anyone to access for information, guidance and inspiration.

Carved wooden poles reflecting each principle will be installed in public locations across the UK as a lasting reminder of the Tree Charter’s existence and of the importance of trees in our lives.

How will the charter change society?

The Tree Charter reflects what people of the UK want from trees and woods, and will speak for every tree and every person in the UK to ensure that the benefits brought by trees can be enjoyed by all members of UK society now and in the future. If a policy or project goes against the articles of the Tree Charter it will go against the will of the hundreds of thousands of people whose views it represents.

The Tree Charter will set out people’s rights to these benefits and will remind us of the responsibilities we need to undertake to ensure that trees are protected and recognised in the future.

Each year the Tree Charter will be revisited by the organisations and experts involved, in order to assess how well the UK is doing in adhering to its principles. This will ensure an annual moment for the value of trees and the issues they face to be brought to the forefront of public attention, and for urgent priorities to be identified and addressed through cross-sector collaboration.

What can people do?

  • Sign the Tree Charter and help build a future in which trees and people stand stronger together. Help us to show decision-makers that trees matter to hundreds of thousands of people from all backgrounds across the UK.
  • Get involved in a local Charter Branch (or start one if there isn’t one) to build engagement with the charter campaign among the local community, and to explore ways to improve things locally for trees and people
  • Check our calendar and the activities of local Charter Branches to find events, activities and volunteering opportunities in your local area and across the UK.



Building the Tree Charter: April – October 2017

Experts are hard at work drafting the articles of the final Tree Charter and conducting focus group consultations.

Launching the Tree Charter: November 6th 2017

The articles of the Tree Charter will also be published online

Celebrating the Tree Charter: National Tree Week

Every year, in National Tree Week (starting the last Saturday of November), communities across the UK will join together in a national celebration of the UK’s vital trees and woods.

In National Tree Week 2017, 10 Tree Charter Poles – one for each of the 10 Principles of the Charter – will be unveiled across the UK. Events will take place in each country to recognise that the Tree Charter speaks for every tree and every person in the UK.

Tree Charter Poles

  • Lincoln Castle (Tree Charter pole)
  • Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool (Health & Wellbeing)
  • Cardiff –Bute Park (Art & Heritage)
  • Belvoir Wood, NI (Planning)
  • Lang Craigs (Coping with threats)
  • Grizedale Forest (Environment / strengthening landscapes)
  • Sherwood Forest, Nottingham (Protection)
  • Manchester (People & access to trees)
  • New Forest Visitor Centre (Nature)
  • Sylva Wood Centre, Abingdon (Utility & livelihoods)
  • Durham – Burnhall (Planting)