Devon is a special place with so much to offer. Deep wooded gorges with rushing rivers cut through its hinterland, providing refuges to rare mosses and lichens and forming remnants of incredibly rare temperate rainforests. 

What makes Devon special?

Devon has a rich tapestry of natural landscapes and is home to two national parks with historic moors, rocky outcrops, carbon-capturing peatland and a patchwork of small fields divided by hedgebanks.

It also holds some of the last remaining fragments of England’s ancient temperate rainforests. Just like the Amazon rainforest, they are a unique and important habitat for wildlife. 

Why is restoring Devon's woodlands important?

Devon has lower levels of woodland cover than the national average (11.8% compared to 13%), and many of Devon's woods are fragmented and under threat from climate change, pests and diseases and development.

The limited connectivity between woods and trees and lack of habitat puts pressure on wildlife.

In the past, many of our ancient woods were felled and replaced with faster growing non-native trees to provide timber following the First and Second World Wars. We need to restore these ancient woods so they can provide the optimum conditions for a diverse and thriving ecosystem.

What we're doing

We're working with partners to create new woodland, protect our existing woods and trees and restore our precious ancient woods and temperate rainforest across Devon’s landscape.

Our vision is for a bigger, better, more joined-up landscape of woods, hedges and trees where wildlife thrives and people enjoy and value these precious habitats.

Our work in Devon

  • We're restoring ancient woods and temperate rainforests by gradually removing conifer plantations and invasive species to allow native woodland species to thrive. We've even hit a 10-year milestone of restoration at Fingle Woods, which we care for with the National Trust.
  • We're managing water flows in our woods – exploring options to retain water to better protect our woods, trees and associated flora and fauna from hotter, drier conditions. This is especially important for temperate rainforests, which need warm and wet conditions to thrive.
  • We’re bringing together organisations across the region, culminating in the launch of the South West Temperate Rainforest Alliance and the first State of the South West Reforest Report, which is due in 2024.
  • We’re working with Plantlife and the National Trust to apply tried and tested restoration techniques on sites that host important species of lichen and mosses associated with the South West’s temperate rainforest. This Rainforest Lichen Recovery Project is funded by the Species Recovery Programme.
  • We're expanding tree and woodland cover. At Yonder Oak Wood, we're creating woods and glades and planting individual trees to create a mosaic of habitats overlooking the Exe Estuary.
  • We're providing woodland creation advice and support to farmers and landowners including agroforestry, our MOREwoods scheme and through the Plymouth and South Devon Community Forest partnership.
  • We're a partner in Dartmoor’s Dynamic Landscape – a National Lottery Heritage Funded project led by Dartmoor National Park Authority. The project will support ancient woodland restoration on other people’s land, the identification of ancient and veteran trees within the project area, and a demonstration of trees on farms through our work at Hall Farm.
  • We're a partner in the East Dartmoor Landscape Recovery Project, which is supporting landowners with woodland creation and ancient woodland and temperate rainforest restoration.
  • We worked with Devon County Council to create their Devon Tree Strategy, a document that will guide the creation, protection and restoration of woods and trees across the county.

Visit Devon's wooded landscape

We care for several biologically rich and diverse woods across Devon, all free for everyone to explore and enjoy.

How you can get involved

If you're a farmer or landowner in Devon and want to find out more about how we can support you in woodland creation or ancient woodland restoration, please email

Thanks to our members, supporters and funders who enable us to work towards our vision of a world where woods and trees thrive for people and nature.

More ways to make a difference