To celebrate St Valentine’s Day, Forestry Commission England has revealed their top 10 reasons why they love trees, along with the top 10 most romantic walks from across the public forest estate.
The poet Joyce Kilmer once wrote “I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree…” and here at Forestry Commission England we find it hard to disagree.
Trees mean something to everyone; and with the myths, fairy tales, and history that surrounds them, we believe it makes woods and forests some of the most romantic places on earth.
Below are our ten favourite reasons to love trees, we hope you love them too!
10. Around 1,500 wildlife species are thought to rely on a single English oak tree, for breeding, feeding, resting, roosting, shelter and safety.
9. Trees mark our seasons. Is it spring, summer, autumn or winter – look at the trees and find out!
8. In WW1 soldiers used to leave love notes on trees for their wives and girlfriends that included times, dates, thoughts and feelings. Love messages can still be found on trees today and are known as ‘arboglyphs’. Obviously we don’t advocate the damaging of trees in this way, but for historic reference they can be interesting finds.
7. Trees are among the world’s oldest living things – Ancient trees have borne witness to all of our favourite love stories, have seen the rise and fall of civilisations and have survived climates; they are nature’s true survivor.
6. People love trees as much as we do – In Melbourne, the city council devised an urban forest map which gave each tree an individual number so residents could email them to report damaged branches. What they didn’t expect to happen was the trees themselves to receive personal emails of admiration and expressions of love!
5. The estimated value to the economy of the ecosystem service provided by trees and woodland wildlife in the UK is £680 million.
4. Trees filter and clean the air around us. By absorbing airborne pollution they boost oxygen levels. A single tree will produce enough oxygen for a family of four every single day.
3. Some trees can "talk" to each other. When willows are attacked by webworms and caterpillars, they emit a chemical that alerts nearby willow of the danger. The neighbouring trees then respond by pumping more tannin into their leaves making it difficult for the insects to digest the leaves.
2. Trees are our natural health service - So strong is the connection between trees and our health and well-being that NHS trusts are being advised to see trees in the grounds of hospitals as a fundamentally important part of creating a positive healing environment for patients.
1. In Japan the health benefit of spending time in amongst the trees in the forests is so treasured that it has its own word, shinrinyoku, which literally means ‘forest bathing’.
So this Valentine’s Day, whether you are single, a couple or a family why not head to your local site and bask in the wonderful benefits our trees provide.
We have lots of activities for everyone to enjoy, here are just a few to get you started:
Couples - Why not treat your sweetheart to a woodland walk that they will never forget, for ideas and places visit our top 10 romantic walks.
Families – Help Stick Man find his way back to his family tree to be united with his lady love, and his children of three on our self-led trails. Further details of trails and free downloadable activity sheets are available from www.forestry.gov.uk/stickman
Singles – Let the uniquely inspiring effects of clouds, sunlight and the motion of leaves in the breeze allow you to unwind from the stresses of everyday life – we have over 1,500 miles of trails for you to enjoy, this is the equivalent of the distance from Lands’ End to John O’ Groats and back again.
For more information, please visit www.forestry.gov.uk
Notes to editors
Contact: 0300 067 4107 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Forestry Commission England is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Further information can be found at www.forestry.gov.uk/england