Trees make life better for all of us – for people, for wildlife and for the planet. They help to cool and clean our air, lock up carbon, reduce flooding, provide sustainable raw materials, and are our best hope in combatting the climate crisis. And we’ve planted over 2 million of them in our 61 square miles.

Fact about NHS

Trees make life better - for people

We all feel healthier and happier when we’re surrounded by trees and nature – there’s a lot of science to back this up. But trees don’t just look pretty – they deliver lots of other real benefits.

  • We’re a nice green wedge in an area that has a lot of development planned. Many of our sites are strategically placed buffers between development and the countryside – like Gateway Woods.
  • It’s estimated that we’ve saved the NHS £4.95m a year from the physical health benefits that the Forest provides.
  • We’ve supported/created 167 jobs per year, either directly or by using local contractors.
  • Getting outdoors is good for mental health. Click here to read stories about how our green spaces have changed people’s lives.

Tree cover fact

Trees make life better - for wildlife

One mature oak can house up to 500 species. We plant a mix of native, English, broadleaf trees which create homes for wildlife from tiny insects to birds of prey. With a rapidly declining insect population, the effects of which will be felt all the way up the food chain, creating diverse habitats is more important than ever.

  • When we plant sites it isn’t just about whacking in as many trees as possible – each one has it’s own design to provide the best mix of habitats for that area. We create grasslands, reedbeds, wetlands, woodlands and hedgerows to maximise bio-diversity.
  • We manage the different habitats on all of our sites with specific wildlife in mind – like at Rectory Wood, where we’ve planted blackthorn and oak in close proximity to each other to specifically encourage the growth of the black hairstreak butterfly population. 

Emissions fact

Trees make life better - for the planet

We’re officially in a climate emergency and we all have a responsibility to take action – whether it’s reducing waste and recycling at home and at work or supporting environmental campaigns. Our 61 square miles may not be the size of the Amazon but every single tree planted makes a difference.

  • We’ve taken tree cover in the area from 3.6% to 15.4% in 20 years – our goal is 30%.
  • The trees we’ve planted so far already remove 4917 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere – that’s the same as the emissions from 2000 family cars.
  • Every year we plant thousands of trees – sometimes on land we’ve bought; other times we help others plant on their own land. We have public and corporate tree planting events every year – check out our list of corporate friends here.
  • Hundreds of trees are given to Forest residents every year as part of our Plant One On Us campaign – so far we’ve given away over 500 trees.
  • The government set a target for 1 million kids to plant 1 million trees by 2020 – by the end of the year we’ll have planted over 9500 trees with 2500 kids as part of the project. Read more about the project here.

Don’t take our word for it

It’s backed up by some impressive facts. We commissioned a Progress and Impacts Study to measure what we’ve achieved so far. The study was put together with the support of Bedford Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire Council, Natural England and the Forestry Commission. 



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You can make the most difference to the future of the Forest by becoming a Friend and making a regular donation. For less than you’d pay for a bottle of wine, or a trip to Starbucks, you’ll be actively helping to combat the climate crisis.