15 amazing tree facts

15 amazing tree facts

Brush up on your tree knowledge
Forest Holidays


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.

Woman in the forest

A breath of fresh air

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.

Tawny owl

Tawny owl perched on a tree

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.


A deer in the forest

Fact 4 – Managing the forest…

Trees provide us with building materials, furniture, fuel, paper and much more. Forestry England, Forestry and Land Scotland, and Natural Resources Wales 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.

Autumn forest

Autumn in the forest

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 for yourself.

Forest Bathing

Forest Bathing

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.

Green forest

The forest in summer

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.

Forest Bathing

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, explore our guide to discovering Britain's trees to get you started, with some of the British trees you most are likely to see.

The forest floor in summer

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.


Sequoioideae, popularly known as redwoods

Fact 10 – Old and wise…

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.

Bluebells in the forest

Carpet of bluebells

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.

Sherwood Forest cabin

Cabin nestled between the trees in Sherwood Forest

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 to be around 3,000 years old. Take a trip up to see it when you stay at Strathyre.

Major Oak

Major Oak

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.

Fir tree

Fir trees

Fact 14 – Get involved with the community

National Tree Week is 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.


Aerial view of the forest

Fact 15 – An eco-friendly choice at Christmas…

When 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.

Children with Christmas tree

Real Christmas trees can be far more environmentally friendly

Including trees in family activities

Looking for family activities you can do at home? Want to get the whole family interested in the great outdoors? From identifying trees at the window to taking a stroll around a local forest, these facts are ideal for including as part of home-schooling activities or on a family day trip. If you use these facts as part of a children's activity make sure you share some snaps with us on social media, we’d love to see!