NHS Forest press kit
The NHS Forest is a network of healthcare sites working to transform their green space to realise its full potential for health, wellbeing and biodiversity, and to encourage engagement with nature. The initiative is run by the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, an independent UK charity, as part of its Green Space for Health Programme.
Since the NHS Forest was founded in 2009, more than 330 healthcare sites across the UK have joined our alliance, and 100,000 trees have been planted on or near to their estates. Like all forests, the NHS Forest comprises far more than just trees. Our sites have established a wide range of green spaces which offer multiple benefits to people and wildlife. These include:
- Peaceful gardens for staff and patients
- Woodlands and native wildflower meadows
- Allotments and orchards
- Nature-based play
- Outdoor rehabilitation and therapeutic activities
- Green Health Routes that link GP surgeries to local green spaces
Our pilot Nature Recovery Rangers programme launched in spring 2021. Following its incredible success, we now have several rangers embedded in hospitals across the UK where they expand and enhance green spaces, and encourage staff and communities to engage with nature.
Email our Communications Manager firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange:
- Interviews with our expert team on the links between green space and health, and our associated projects
- Interviews with our Nature Recovery Rangers and their hospital teams
- Interviews with representatives from our NHS Forest sites
- Visits to the sites
Downloads and multimedia
You can download high resolution logos and photos from our media library.
See a selection of short films about the NHS Forest.
Watch our 2022 online NHS Forest conference, on the theme of Biodiversity and Resilience.
Why is the NHS Forest important?
A growing body of evidence points to the benefits of access to green space for mental and physical health, including positive outcomes for:
- heart rates and blood pressure
- stress levels
- mood and self-esteem
- type 2 diabetes
- post-operative recovery
- birth weight
- children’s cognitive development
- cardiovascular disease
- income-related health inequalities
Based on these benefits, in England alone, it has been calculated that the NHS could save an estimated £2.1 billion every year in treatment costs if everyone had access to good quality green space.
Note: References for all benefits and figures are published on our About us page
The NHS Forest and biodiversity
While woodland covers just over 13% of the UK’s land area, around half of this comprises non-native plantation trees. The NHS Forest supplies health sites with native species, which can be used to create woodlands, orchards and hedgerows – vital habitat for many at-risk wildlife species. Many NHS Forest sites have planted native, perennial wildflowers to support pollinators; this in turn can see the return of wildlife such as bats and house martins.
- Rachel Stancliffe: Centre for Sustainable Healthcare Founder and Director
- Miriam Dobson: Project and Evidence Lead for Trees and Woodlands
- Nature Recovery Rangers: Sally Johnson (Freeman Hospital, Newcastle); Nick White (Liverpool Hospitals); Billy Styles (Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, Northwest London)
NHS Forest in the media
- The Daily Mail: How trees can heal: Research shows that patients looking at greenery from their hospital beds can cut the need for painkillers and even reduce post-op problems
- This is Local London: Planting Trees for the NHS
- The Guardian: Scottish GPs to begin prescribing rambling and birdwatching
- Newbury Today: Tiny Forest at West Berkshire Community Hospital a first for the NHS
- The Star: First-of-its-kind memorial forest created by Yorkshire Ambulance Service to remember Covid victims
This project is funded by the Trees Call to Action Fund. The fund was developed by Defra in partnership with the Forestry Commission and is being delivered by the Heritage Fund.