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Veteran Trees

Veteran Trees

Lead Partner

New Forest National Park Authority

What is it about?

The New Forest is thought to have the highest concentration of ancient and veteran trees in the British Isles, and possibly north western Europe. They are a characteristic landscape feature with high cultural and conservation value and contribute in an important way to the Forest’s landscape character and its habitats.

Many species of nature conservation importance depend on veteran features for their survival – including woodland birds, bats, fungi, lichens and invertebrates. This project aims to provide the most up to date training in the care and management of ancient trees to prevent the loss of a scarce and valuable resource.

The project will:

  • Record and more sensitively manage ancient and veteran trees, ensuring their survival
  • Develop the skills of the local tree work contractor force through training, better equipping them to make appropriate recommendations and undertake works sensitive to the vulnerability of older trees
  • Provide more detailed training to some participants, enabling them to lead training sessions locally. The project aims to train three people who will then run four training sessions.
Volunteering and training

Training will be targeted primarily at local tree surgery contractors who are usually the first to be approached by the tree owners. Local Authority Tree Officers operating within and adjacent to the National Park and who deal with applications for works to protected trees will also be offered training. This will lead to appropriate advice being given to tree owners on the care and management of ancient trees by both local contractors and Tree Officers. As a result, more proportionate risk management, appropriate work specifications and workmanship will be undertaken.

One to two volunteers will be sought to receive training from The Environment Partnership (TEP) and progress to receive Vocational Education and Training on Veteran Trees (VETree) to give talks to local interest groups. Talks will promote the appreciation of the value of the ancient tree resource and their vulnerability to harmful activities. The project will increase the likelihood of tree owners who are concerned about their trees, or wish to have works undertaken, seeking reputable tree work contractors with demonstrable knowledge and understanding of the trees’ needs.

Visit the training and volunteering pages for information on specific roles within the Our Past, Our Future landscape partnership scheme.


VETree trained trainers will be able to continue to train other people in the future and this will be coordinated by the New Forest National Park Authority.

Contact details

Nik Gruber – Senior Tree Officer, New Forest National Park Authority

Tel: 01590 646668 email:

Land Advice Service Manager


'We help commoners to continue their ancient way by providing grants, training and advice.'

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