This site uses cookies please click 'Accept' to continue and remove this message or 'More....' to view our Privacy Policy

iFootpath uses first and third-party cookies to provide you with a personalised browsing experience. We do so in accordance with our Privacy Policy. By actively continuing to use this website, closing this banner or clicking the Accept button below, you consent to our use of cookies.

For full access to iFootpath, to view the GPS powered map, rate the walks, print, leave comments, mark walks as Favourite & Completed (mirror in the App), and much more please Register and login. It's free and only takes a moment or two. Already registered? Login here.



Welcoming Greater Protection for Ancient Woodland

Woodlands are a walker’s friend. They offer shade from the sun, shelter from the rain, carpets of bluebells in the spring, a kaleidoscope of colour in the autumn and even chance to challenge the kids with some tree climbing. Aside from this self-centred view, they are an irreplaceable environmental resource and so it is great news that Planning Policy has just been strengthened to ensure they receive more protection. Find out how these changes will help us all, both now and in the future…


woodpolicy giant oakUntil this summer, ancient woodlands and veteran trees were treated in planning law as ‘replicable habitats’ meaning that the law (and some annoying loopholes) allowed developers to destroy one woodland and simply plant young trees elsewhere to compensate. Anyone that has spent time in a true ancient woodland will know this is simply false logic. Ancient woodlands are nature’s equivalent of ancient cities, with complex infrastructure and populations of trees, plants, fungus and wildlife that have taken centuries to develop. Some individual ancient trees can be several hundreds of years old and sustain their own mini-city, so suggesting that a sapling could provide an equivalent replacement seemed misplaced to say the least. 

At the end of July 2018, the Government published a revised National Planning Policy Framework. This now gives both ancient woodland and individual ancient and veteran trees the protection they deserve, putting them on the same footing as World Heritage Sites and scheduled monuments. The new framework states that only ‘wholly exceptional’ development will be permitted in ancient woodland or affecting ancient trees. This is fantastic news and something that campaigners, including The Woodland Trust, have been battling long and hard to achieve.

wood policy oak trunkYou may be wondering what would constitute ‘wholly exceptional development’, the types of development that would justify damaging ancient trees and woodland from now on. The answer is fairly straightforward. This won’t cover any ongoing developments in local neighbourhoods like house building (which will need to protect ancient woodlands and trees), but will only cover major infrastructure schemes such as new road or rail building, where ‘the public benefit would clearly outweigh the loss or deterioration of habitat’. That means ancient woodlands are not entirely out of the woods (excuse the pun – I couldn’t resist!), but they now at least will benefit from the protection already given to manmade heritage sites like Stonehenge and the Tower of London.

Why not celebrate with a woodland walk soon, check out the iFootpath Woodland Walks for some inspiration…


5 August 2018

Eleven of the Best: TV Location Walks
iFootpath Expert: Smart Links - Opening Walks on t...

Related Posts

What our customers say

We've an App too

Did you know that we have an iFootpath App? - includes all walks with directions and a live map...

No need to print and no more wrong turns....

Get the iFootpath App

appstore  en badge web generic


Click top right X to close.