Over recent centuries the Bristol-Avon catchment area has lost most of its woodland and is now one of the most deforested parts of the UK.

This leaves us vulnerable to the climate crisis, increased flooding, and a sharp decline in our local biodiversity.

Planting new woodlands is essential to tackle the climate and nature emergencies.  Woodlands take many years to deliver these benefits, and there are increasing worries about whether new woodlands planted will still be here in the decades to come.

With any tree planting project, it is important to ask if there will be long-term maintenance to ensure the woodland will thrive, and if the trees will be maintained when land changes hands. The best way to guarantee the permanence of new woodlands is to purchase the land on which they are created.

Our charity is tackling the climate emergency by fundraising to buy land to plant new, permanent woodlands of well cared-for trees that will store up carbon over time. New woodlands help natural flood management as well as helping local nature to bounce back.

Tree guards at Stanley Lane

Image - Daisy Brasington

Carbon sequestration

Planting trees gradually locks up carbon over time, removing it from the atmosphere. Increasing, excess carbon in the atmosphere contributes to climate change. We urgently need to reduce carbon emissions and store carbon to slow climate change.

Long-term care of permanent new woodlands is essential, as significant carbon sequestration takes healthy woodlands many years to achieve.

Comma Butterfly at Hazeland

Image - Kevan Wind

Nature’s recovery

Human activity has damaged our natural environment and ecosystems.  With 41% of UK species in decline, some bird species reduced by as much as 96%, we need to act to reverse this damage and help nature recover.

Woodland creation, as part of a mosaic of habitats, and especially in identified Nature Recovery Networks, will allow nature to thrive and recover.

Tackling the ecological emergency is not only about animals.  Allowing natural systems to function improves our water quality, air quality and flood defences.

Flooding in Chippenham

Image - Nick Murry

Flood alleviation

Climate change has led to more extreme weather just at the time our natural flood defences are low because of deforestation.

We work with the Environment Agency to identify locations where woodland creation will provide natural flood defences. Our trees will intercept some rainfall before it hits the ground, slowing down the water and allowing evaporation.  The rainwater that hits the ground will be sink deeper and faster along tree root systems, reducing surface run-off.

Image - Chris Head

Benefits to people

Hundreds of volunteers – including children, families, and youth groups – help to plant each of our new woodlands. As a charity, we work to benefit the community through education, community involvement and opportunities for wellbeing.

Volunteering to plant trees, or just spending time in our spaces, improves health and wellbeing.  We also teach our volunteers new skills, and some of our volunteers have even changed careers to build upon this.

More and more people are getting involved in ANT projects, inspired to take active part in tackling the climate and ecological emergencies.