A woodland dedication can be anything from a single tree to an acre with a bench, and makes an unforgettable gift that lasts a lifetime.

It’s a frosty winter’s morning in Scotland, but after a brisk 20-minute walk uphill Paul is toasty-warm and exhilarated. The views so far have been spectacular as he enters the woods and finds his particular little corner of Britain. He finds an old stump on which to sit, settles down and enjoys the beautiful peace around him.

Time ticks by almost without him realising as calm descends and the noises of the forest start to overtake the sounds of his own breathing, and the rustle of his waterproof trousers. Paul sits back, sighs and feels total content.

It might sound glamorised, but this is a very real experience (in this case, that of my father-in-law) of what a woodland dedication can mean. In a world full of stuff we don’t need, of hectic schedules with little or no purpose, and endless screens bombarding us all day and all night, to have a slice of the world through which to remind yourself of the beauty of our country, and the amazing richness of our woodlands, is truly special.

The trees in my father-in-law’s quarter of an acre don’t actually belong to him – it’s a dedication made for him as a present via the Woodland Trust. But this little area will never be dedicated to anyone else, nor will it ever expire.

Woodland Trust

It’s left in its natural state rather than marked out; if the dedication was for an acre grove he could have had a post or bench to mark the spot. Such added extras are lovely for those with greater financial resources, but a dedication is a wonderful thing regardless, whether given as a gift, in memory or taken up in your own name. It’s not about marking territory, or passers-by sparing a thought as they perch on your bench with their flask of tea; it’s about playing a part, helping keep our natural woodland in the face of ever-growing pressures from development and infrastructure.

And dedications make a wonderful present, from a minimum suggested donation of £15. You get to choose the wood that your specific tree is in; if you decide instead to dedicate an area of woodland, you pick the exact spot.

A quarter of an acre of woodland can be dedicated for a donation of £250, with the same again for each additional half-acre up to the £1,000 for a full grove of an acre – that’s roughly the size of a small football pitch.

Each dedication comes with a personalised certificate, and a pack that includes all sorts of information about the wood itself, including historical details and a map of the area. You’ll want to keep the map as well: all Woodland Trust woods are free to visit for anyone – this is a gift that you’ll have and can enjoy for the rest of your life.

The range of woodlands available also reflects the ‘lifelong’ element: your dedication can be in an ancient, mature woodland; or you could dedicate a tree or an area in a much newer patch of trees. We love the idea of dedicating a young wood in the name of a young child, grandchild, niece or nephew; they will then be able to enjoy and watch it grow over their entire lives.

To find out more about making a dedication with the Woodland Trust, visit woodlandtrustshop.com/Christmas.
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