Involved with woodland creation on healthcare sites?

Did you know we offer bespoke planting where you can specify exactly which trees are supplied for your project? If you will be planting at least 500 trees (these must be supplied – but not necessarily planted – together), you qualify for a custom mix of UK native trees not restricted to species or specifications used in the thematic bundles.

At scale planting won’t be appropriate for every healthcare setting, but where capacity exists larger planted areas can deliver outsized benefits far beyond that of more fragmented tree cover. Such projects will contribute to NHS Forest’s ambitious target of planting 150,000 trees on the NHS estate by 2025. We will work closely with larger applicants to develop a site-specific offer that is appropriate for the land and delivers against your objectives for planting. We also aim to offer in-person advice and guidance whenever feasible.

Why should you plant more trees?

Healthcare settings vary in size and land use. If you’re lucky enough to have sufficient land available that will accommodate more trees, this is a fantastic opportunity to make a huge impact and benefit both your site and future generations.

Larger woodland creation means larger standard trees

The majority of our grant is for one-year-old whip trees which are typical for tree-planting projects. If you are looking to apply for 500 trees or more, 20% of that order can be supplied as feathered trees (sized 150-180 cm). This is subject to availability, but these trees are great for instant impact on a site.

These larger trees can be a selected from a broader range of tree species, including larger species such as oak and beech, or ecological niche species that are suited to the unique qualities of your site. If it’s on the Forestry Commission approved list, we will do our best to source it for you. We can supply the full list when you start your woodland project with us.

How much land do I need to plant for woodland creation on healthcare sites?

The total area will depend on the planting density/tree spacing as well as the amount of open space that is incorporated into the planting design. Generally, the number of trees planted per hectare will vary from 1,000 to 2,500 trees. A typical native, mixed woodland contains around 1,600 trees per hectare.

Depending on the spacing between trees, 500 trees would look like:

Spacing between treesHectaresSquare metresAcresFootball pitches1Tennis courts2
20.220000.50.3110.22
2.50.330000.750.4715.33
30.550001.250.7825.56
1Football Association guidelines (110 x 70 yards) 2International Tennis Federation regulations (26 x 9 yards)

If you are unsure about the area of your site or the capacity for tree planting, please get in touch – info@nhsforest.org

How we can assist with larger planting schemes

We’d welcome the opportunity to discuss your requirements and the woodland creation support we are able to offer. We are working in partnership with a number of local councils across England who can offer support with design, ecological advice, providing mulch, planting, and maintenance. The level of local authority support does vary regionally, so please get in touch to explore further. We are also working with the Forestry Commission who are happy to offer advice on woodland creation and large-scale planting.

The NHS Forest is currently delivering a separate project funded under the Trees Call to Action Fund, focusing on outcomes related to the England Trees Action Plan and promoting better management of tree and woodland assets on the NHS estate.

This work includes providing bespoke ecological advice across sites in England, so if your team are interested, please get in touch via daniel.loveard@sustainablehealthcare.org.uk   

Volunteers

When organising woodland creation on healthcare sites one of the tricky parts can be finding volunteers to help with planting and maintenance. We work with several partner organisations who have kindly offered their time to support NHS Forest planting. These volunteers will have varying levels of experience and a certain level of direction and oversight will be required to ensure that the trees go in the right location and the planting sundries are fitted correctly.

To get volunteers on your site all you need to do is email harriet.white@sustainablehealthcare.org.uk with an idea of how many volunteers you need (500 trees would require 6 – 10 volunteers for one day) and which day(s) you need them to come. Please give at least 4 weeks in advance to coordinate this.

Next steps

Our goal is to promote woodland creation on healthcare sites and we hope this added support we are assembling will help with your project. Remember, we also run regular drop-in sessions during the planting season where you can bring any questions to a member of the team. The dates for these can be found on our FAQ page, no need to book, just join the call. If you would like to know more about creating a larger woodland area on your site, please email info@nhsforest.org.

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