• Holidays & short breaks in the UK's most beautiful forests

15 amazing tree facts

Who remembers ‘Plant a Tree in 73’? It was a long time ago, but it inspired the start of the Tree Council’s annual National Tree Week, which is now over 40 years old.

National Tree Week (25 November 3 December) marks the start of the tree planting season and puts the spotlight on trees and their importance to us and our planet. Of course, at Forest Holidays we love trees. All our cabin locations are situated within or at the edge of forests and this Christmas, every cabin will have its own UK grown Christmas tree, to bring festive cheer to your holiday.

But before then, here are 15 amazing facts that show just how special trees are.

Fact 1 - The reason we ALL need trees...

Let’s start with the most important fact - trees are keeping us alive! They absorb carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen, which we need to survive. Trees are literally keeping us breathing.

Fact 2 - A house of its own kind...

Trees are homes. Thousands of species from fungi to insects to wild animals make their homes in trees. We wrote about some of them here.

Fact 3 - Keeping our rare species safe…

Ancient woodlands provide homes for up to 200 of our most threatened species, from rare orchids to endangered dormice. They are like living museums, providing an ecosystem that supports many of our favourites, including red squirrels and badgers, long-eared and barbastelle bats, tawny owls and woodpeckers, stag beetles and ancient lichens.

Fact 4 – Managing the forest…

Trees provide us with building materials, furniture, fuel, paper and much more. The Forestry Commission in England and Scotland who manage our publicly owned forests, sustainably harvest almost four million tonnes of wood every year. This reduces our dependency on imported wood and helps offset the costs of managing the forests.

Fact 5 – A spiritual practice from Northeast Asia…

In Japan, and now here in the UK, people go ‘Forest Bathing’ – spending time immersed in the sensory experience of the forest to improve mental and physical wellbeing. Try Forest Bathing at Blackwood Forest or Thorpe Forest.

Fact 6 – Relaxing and recharging…

Trees are good for our minds. Forest Bathing is proven to bring down levels of stress hormones, and studies have found that natural environments also improve creativity and improve happiness.

Fact 7 – Disease fighters…

Trees can help keep us physically healthy. They release substances called phytoncides which have been shown to increase activity of our Natural Killer cells - cells that fight disease.

Fact 8 – Test your tree knowledge…

A 2015 survey by Unilever found that only 1% of families could identify Britain’s most common trees. It’s something most of us wish we were better at, so here’s a guide to get you started, with some of the British trees you most are likely to see.

Fact 9 – The quiet giant…

Deerpark in Cornwall is home to a giant redwood tree, like those in America. It is thought to be the tallest tree in Cornwall and was planted over 150 years ago.

Fact 10 – Old and wise…

The Forest of Dean has ancient oak trees planted under the instructions of Lord Nelson when wood for shipbuilding was in short supply in the early 1800s. By the time they were mature, shipbuilding had moved from wood to steel and so the trees remain standing to this day.

Fact 11 – Steeped in history…

Talking of oaks, there are nearly 1,000 ancient oak trees in Sherwood Forest, which are up to 1,000 years old. It’s the largest concentration of ancient trees in Northern Europe and includes the world-famous Major Oak.

Fact 12 – The oldest of them all…

And talking of old trees…the oldest tree in the UK is thought to be The Fortingall Yew in Perthshire, Scotland, which is estimated it to be around 3,000 years old. Take a trip up to see it when you stay at Strathyre.

Fact 13 – A silver fir Scotland can be proud of…

And talking of Scotland…parts of the ancient Caledonian Forest have over 9,000 years of unbroken links to the first pine trees. The forest remnants are all in the Highlands but, further south, take a walk through Ardkinglas Gardens, near to Ardgartan Argyll to encounter the Champion Trees, including  a silver fir which has a girth in excess of 31ft and, one of Britain’s tallest trees, a grand fir, which stands at over 200ft tall.

Fact 14 – Get involved with the community…

National Tree Week is 25 November to 3 December 2017. It’s the UK’s largest celebration of trees and up 1m trees are planted each year – over 30 million trees have been planted since 1975.  There are community events around the country that you can get involved with.

Fact 15 – An eco-friendly choice this Christmas…

As Christmas approaches you may be wondering if you should get a real tree. The good news is that real Christmas trees can be far more environmentally friendly than artificial ones. You would need to reuse your artificial tree for more than 10 years to bring its carbon footprint down to that of a real tree -  as long the real tree is burnt, planted or chipped for the garden after Christmas.


And speaking of Christmas trees…enjoy a Forest Holiday at Christmas-time, and you will find a Christmas tree, ready to decorate, in your cabin. All our Christmas trees are sustainably sourced from the Forestry Commission forests in the UK. Which is appropriate, as all our cabins are in Forestry Commission woodlands.