Charter for Trees, Woods and People launched

Trust joins movement endorsing new Tree Charter principles

The charterweb detail

On 6 November 2017 - the 800th anniversary of the 1217 Charter of the Forest - a new Charter for Trees, Woods and People was launched at Lincoln Castle, home of the Magna Carta and one of only two surviving original Forest Charters.

The John Muir Trust was one of 70 organisations supporting the people-powered movement, led by the Woodland Trust, helping to define the 10 Principles of the Tree Charter. Over 60,000 tree stories, demonstrating the significance of trees, were collected and shared, and over 100,000 Tree Charter signatories have been garnered to date.

In 1217, all of the rules in the 1215 version of Magna Carta that related to forests were put into a separate charter – the Charter of the Forest - that ‘guaranteed access to the land for common people’. Some of its clauses remained in force until the 1970s, making it the statute that remained longest in force in England (from 1217 to 1971), being finally superseded by the Wild Creatures and Forest Laws Act 1971. The new Charter for Trees, Woods and People reflects a modern relationship with trees and woods in the UK’s landscape, setting out ‘the principles for a society in which people and trees can stand stronger together’.

At the launch event, Woodland Trust Chief Executive Beccy Speight emphasised that the Charter is ‘a platform to stimulate policy…to explore and do more with its principles’. A ‘champion pole’ – one of 11 wooden poles carved by Simon Clements and to be installed around the UK – was unveiled, featuring the words of Harriet Fraser, one of eight artists-in-residence.

“Natural treasures, in roots, wood and leaves, for beauty, for use, the air that we breathe.
Imagine: a wood starts with one small seed. We’re stronger together – people and trees.”
Harriet Fraser, 2017


As a signatory to the Charter, the John Muir Trust endorses its principles. We work with partners to care for and create woodlands such as the Heart of Scotland Forest Partnership, and in our own woodlands including Li and Coire Dhorrcail – winner of a Scotland’s Finest Woods Award. And we encourage people to take action for woodland, through work parties, collaborations such as the Phoenix Forest at Glenlude, and through the John Muir Award. In 2015 21% of John Muir Award Conserve activity took place in woodlands and 12,533 trees were planted by 3,819 participants.

To find out more, visit the Tree Charter website