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Trees, forests and woodlands

Woodlands, small groups of trees and individual trees are a vital component of the Wiltshire landscape, providing visual beauty, habitats for important species, cover for gamebirds, an income for woodland owners and managers, sustainable timber, and a valuable recreational resource. The sustainable management of broadleaved, coniferous and mixed woodlands (forestry) is an important part of Wiltshire's rural economy.

The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible for forestry policy throughout Great Britain. We are consulted by the Forestry Commission on all Woodland Grant Scheme and Felling Licence applications in Wiltshire, and on new woodland planting proposals. We are also consulted, along with a wide range of stakeholders, to review forest design plans.

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Tree Protection

What protection exists for trees?

There are several different types of tree protection:
Tree Preservation Orders can be placed on trees by the local authority. Tree Preservation Orders, (known as TPOs), can be placed on either individual trees, or on groups, areas or even entire woodlands. TPOs afford the trees a high level of protection because the local authority must give consent on any proposals to fell or undertake any works to them.

Trees within conservation areas are protected as long as they meet the minimum size requirements. They must have a trunk diameter of 7.5cm measured at 1.5 metres above ground level. If the trees in question measure this size or greater then they are protected regardless of their species.

Find more information on Trees and Hedges

Ancient and Veteran Trees

There are more Ancient trees in the UK than many other European countries and Wiltshire is home to a large number of ancient and veteran trees. Ancient trees are as much a part of our heritage as the historic buildings they often pre-date. Ancient trees are among the oldest organisms on the planet making them extremely valuable for the wildlife they support. Yet most are not protected.

Wiltshire has a large ancient tree resource but information on ancient trees in Wiltshire is limited. If you would like further information on ancient or veteran trees or would like to find or visit an ancient or veteran tree in Wiltshire search on the Woodland Trusts Ancient Tree Inventory

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The Tree Warden Scheme is a national initiative involving local people in conserving and enhancing their local trees and woods. The scheme was founded by the Tree Council and, in Wiltshire, is coordinated by Wiltshire Council.

Tree wardens are volunteers, appointed by parish councils or other community organisations, who gather information about their local trees, get involved in local tree matters and encourage local practical projects that benefit trees and woods.

What do tree wardens do?

Tree wardens need not be tree experts, but need to be enthusiastic about promoting trees and woodlands. Activities include:

  • Planting and caring for trees
  • Setting up tree nurseries using seeds collected locally
  • Surveying trees and gathering information about them
  • Providing early warning of threats, diseases, decay or vandalism
  • Working with local groups and schools
  • Leading guided tree walks and giving talks to local groups

To find out more, email countryside@wiltshire.gov.uk.

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The Great Western Community Forest is one of England’s 12 community forests. The forest covers an area of 168 square miles, stretching from Royal Wootton Bassett to Faringdon, and the North Wessex Downs to the Thames.

The Great Western Community Forest is creating and maintaining a high quality environment for local people by diversifying land-use, revitalising derelict landscapes, enhancing biodiversity and providing new opportunities for leisure, recreation, cultural activity, education, healthy living and social and economic development.

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The New Forest National Park management plan was produced jointly by all the main organisations with interests and responsibilities in the national park. 
The final plan was the result of comprehensive public consultation. More details are included in the consultation statement.
Find out more about the New Forest National Park management plan.

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We are responsible for trees that we own or for trees that grow on land managed by us. If you have an issue with trees on council land, or adjacent to a highway, report it to the Trees and Woodland Officers.
Our tree stock is managed in line with our tree management policy; Wiltshire Council’s tree management policy sets out that work will only be undertaken on trees when the risk that a tree poses is unacceptable for example; the tree is found to be dangerous or is the cause of damage. In this way the council ensures that the benefits that trees bring is maintained wherever possible and that the budgets allocated to the management of council owned and maintained tree stock is spent in a reasonable, fair and transparent way.

Find further information on our Tree Management Policies

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Last updated: 18 September 2018 | Last reviewed: 18 September 2018