A Historic Landscape
Dartmoor was once a much more forested landscape, thick woodland coating the valleys and lower slopes, flourishing with wildlife. The steep river valleys connected this woodland with the coast and the sea to unite a vast range of native species that could spread freely across the ancient countryside.
The area today is a tapestry of landscapes, defined by man over thousands of years, supporting a fascinating range of wildlife. Although we can never re-create the primeval forest, there is much that can be done to help restore the balance between open moorland and the rich, wooded valleys.
A History Dedicated to Native Woodland
Established in 1999, Moor Trees is a Devon-based charity dedicated to recreating native woodland across Dartmoor and south Devon, and increasingly helping projects around the Tamar valley and beyond.
Although our region seems to be well wooded, much of the forest is commercial softwoods, Victorian game plantations (often made up of trees from elsewhere in Europe, such as sweet chestnut) and shelter belts.
True natural woodland, carpeted by bluebells or daffodils in Spring, rich with native birds and butterflies, is rare, mostly found in the steep valley fringes of Dartmoor.
We aim to restore native broadleaf woodland by growing trees from locally collected seed in our community tree nurseries, and planting them as new woodland on private and public land.
Things We Do
Each year we collect tens of thousands of local tree seeds to grow in our community tree nurseries. These trees are provided free of charge for woodland planting and restoration schemes.
We provide relevant information regarding grant applications and woodland design, and free planting by our volunteer groups.
Moor Trees build biodiversity by working with local people. Every year we work with hundreds of volunteers of all ages and abilities.
Moor Trees have won various national volunteering awards and run at least three activity days per week. We work with various partners in and around Dartmoor, the City of Plymouth, and the South Hams.
We are also developing research, education and training programmes with partner schools, colleges and universities.
We want to bring to life the story of how people and communities connected with the historical woodland, and enable them to re-engage with trees and natural environments.
We operate around the region, but are focused on Dartmoor and South Devon.
Volunteers, community groups and local businesses, support our mission to enhance the forest heritage and restore natural and native character woodland, by:
- Advocating native forest re-creation, bringing attention to the loss of the natural environment and working with others to restore that heritage.
- Designing, planning and creating high quality woodlands, and associated habitats, for individuals and communities, using our extensive team of volunteers.
- Collecting local-provenance seeds to grow in our community tree nurseries.
- Offer free advice and trees to individual and corporate landowners.
- Provide management services for restructuring woodlands, facilitated by our volunteers.