Planting for the Future

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CrossCountry Trains supported the planting of 5,000 climate resilient trees across the UK in 2022-23

This year, Cross Country Trains have planted 5,000 trees with GreenTheUK as part of a wider wildlife support programme. A wide variety of species have been planted across different woodlands to help restore UK tree cover and protect local biodiversity. See below for details on the richness of species.

In June 2023, we welcomed Cross Country Trains team to Battram Wood for a day in the woodlands to connect with nautre, support practical conservation and plant pear trees.


Tree Species Planted:

1,796 trees planted in Northumberland

This woodland was devastated by Strom Arwen in 2021. Mature trees were uprooted by the storm and many trees that could have been sold for timber were smashed as they fell. These trees were decades old and the work that has gone into growing and caring for them has sadly come to very little. By supporting this project you are directly helping to alleviate the devastating effects of this storm and grow a storm resilient woodland for the future.

Tree Leaf
37 Trees Planted

Alder: Alnus Glutinosa

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Alder: Alnus Glutinosa

Alder can be found across Europe and thrives in moist ground and damp cool areas, which is why you’ll often see alder trees planted near rivers and ponds. Moth caterpillars love alder leaves and the tree’s roots make an ideal nesting site for otters. For humans, the real value of alder wood is that it’s durable when wet, so is useful for making boats and sluice gates. The story goes that outlaws like Robin Hood would have used the green dye from alder flowers to camouflage their clothing!

Tree Leaf
342 Trees Planted

Silver Birch: Betula Pendula

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Silver Birch: Betula Pendula

The silver birch is an elegant, majestic-looking tree which can survive in a range of climates, making it a very popular choice for gardeners. It attracts hundreds of insect species, and woodpeckers like to nest in its rough, tough, silver-white trunk. There is a lot of mythology attached to the silver birch, which is said to symbolise purity, new beginnings and protection. Once upon a time, on Midsummer’s Eve, silver birch boughs were hung across the doors of houses to bring good luck to their residents.

Tree Leaf
1,088 Trees Planted

Scots Pine: Pinus Sylvestris

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Scots Pine: Pinus Sylvestris

The UK’s only truly native pine is Scotland’s national tree and can be found in abundance in the Highlands. The Caledonian Pine Forest is home to all sorts of wonderful species including the pine marten, red squirrel and rare Scottish wildcat. Scots pine has strong timber which is used for making fences, telegraph poles and other construction materials, and the bark can be tapped for resin to make turpentine.

Tree Leaf
329 Trees Planted

Douglas Fir: Pseudotsuga Menziesii

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Douglas Fir: Pseudotsuga Menziesii

Douglas fir was first introduced to the UK from North America in the 1800s. These fragrant evergreen members of the pine family can live for up to 1,000 years, but are often cut down for use as Christmas trees. Douglas fir timber has lots of commercial uses, including furniture, flooring and decking, for example.

804 trees planted in West Sussex

Norway spruce has been felled to make way for a mix of native broadleaf trees. These trees will help to provide shelter, food and habitats for local wildlife. Trees such as hazel and crab apple will provide nuts and fruit for mammals and birds. Some of the trees (such as guelder rose) are especially good for pollinating insects. In 100 years (or more) some of the oak trees that are planted could be felled to provide sustainable building materials.

Tree Leaf
80 Trees Planted

Field Maple: Acer Campestre

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Field Maple: Acer Campestre

This species is the UK’s only native maple and is often grown as an ornamental tree in large gardens and parks, as well as in woods and hedgerows. Its wood is white, hard and strong, and is popular for making furniture, flooring and musical instruments, especially harps. Field maple flowers are hermaphrodite, meaning each flower contains both male and female reproductive parts.

Tree Leaf
161 Trees Planted

Hornbeam: Carpinus Betulus

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Hornbeam: Carpinus Betulus

The hornbeam is extremely tough and keeps its leaves all year round, making it an attractive proposition for birds, insects and other animals. Hornbeam wood is very hard, in fact it is also known as “ironwood” and the Romans recognised its durability, using it to make their chariots. Nowadays, this timber is used for tool handles, coach wheels, parquet flooring and chess pieces!

Tree Leaf
563 Trees Planted

Sessile Oak: Quercus Petraea

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Sessile Oak: Quercus Petraea

The sessile oak is Ireland’s national tree and can be found across Europe. Sessile means “without a stalk”, and this tree’s acorns are stalkless, growing directly on twigs. Oaks provide a habitat for many creatures, including red squirrels, badgers, jays, caterpillars and around 250 more species of wildlife.

900 trees planted in Pembrokeshire

Salix alba (cricket bat willow) has traditionally been grown in the South East of England as a commercial crop. UK-grown cricket bat willow is seen as a premium product, much prized above cricket bat willow grown across Europe. It is in particularly high demand in India and Pakistan for cricket bats. The drought in 2022 underlined the unpredictability of weather patterns, affecting willows grown in South East England. As the climate changes, traditionally wet Wales will provide significant opportunities for cricket bat willow. 1,000 cricket bat willows whips, sourced from a nursery in Sussex, were planted on a hillside in West Wales. The whips are being watered by spring water which is being pumped uphill using power from solar panels. As the whips grow they will be coppiced in around four years and the resulting poles planted to grow into new trees. These will be planted at 40 willows per acre, ten metres apart. The original plantings will then regrow ready for future coppicing and to produce yet more trees. After decades of being grazed by sheep or used for silage, biodiversity along this valley has been depleted. A key objective is to increase local biodiversity both within the nursery meadow and the plantation. The area has also been devasted by Ash Dieback and the new plantings will help link with an existing sycamore woodland and another newly planted mixed species woodland.

Tree Leaf
900 Trees Planted

Cricket Bat Willow: Salix alba 'Caerulea'

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Cricket Bat Willow: Salix alba 'Caerulea'

The Cricket Bat Willow, apart from its connection to the sport, offers numerous environmental benefits. This slender and graceful tree plays a crucial role in stabilising riverbanks, preventing soil erosion, and improving water quality. Its flexible branches provide habitat for a variety of wildlife, including birds and insects. By planting and harvesting Cricket Bat Willows sustainably, local communities support both the environment and traditional crafts, ensuring the conservation of both nature and cultural heritage.

1,500 trees planted in Berwickshire

Windstorms are becoming increasingly common in the UK as a direct result of rapid climate change. The trees in this woodland were lost during Storm Arwen in 2021. They have been replaced with oak and beech trees with smaller native trees being planted around the woodland edge. These smaller trees will provide habitats for local wildlife and also direct windflow up and over the young oak and beech while they become established.

Tree Leaf
86 Trees Planted

Hazel: Corylus Avellana

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Hazel: Corylus Avellana

The common hazel is native to Europe and western Asia and forms an important part of England’s hedgerows. We have all heard of hazelnuts, which are rich in unsaturated fats and protein, and an extremely popular ingredient in many of the world’s cuisines. Did you know that hazel trees were once seen as both magical and a symbol of fertility?

Tree Leaf
89 Trees Planted

Hawthorn: Crataegus Monogyna

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Hawthorn: Crataegus Monogyna

Hawthorn is very much associated with the month of May, and the appearance of its bright, white flowers heralds the change from spring to summer. It is prolific in hedgerows, scrub and woodland throughout the UK and Ireland, and a single tree can grow as tall as 10m. In pagan times, hawthorn was a symbol of marriage and fertility, but in the Middle Ages, it was never brought into homes, as people believed it was a harbinger of illness and death.

Tree Leaf
389 Trees Planted

Beech: Fagus Sylvatica

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Beech: Fagus Sylvatica

If the oak is the king of British trees, then the beech is its queen. A dense canopy of leaves provides a rich habitat for all sorts of insects, its seeds are popular with mice and squirrels, and hole-nesting birds make their homes in beech trunks. Some of the UK’s tallest native trees are beeches, including one that stands at over 44m tall on the National Trust's Devil's Dyke Estate in West Sussex.

Tree Leaf
757 Trees Planted

Sessile Oak: Quercus Petraea

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Sessile Oak: Quercus Petraea

The sessile oak is Ireland’s national tree and can be found across Europe. Sessile means “without a stalk”, and this tree’s acorns are stalkless, growing directly on twigs. Oaks provide a habitat for many creatures, including red squirrels, badgers, jays, caterpillars and around 250 more species of wildlife.

Tree Leaf
179 Trees Planted

Rowan: Sorbus Aucuparia

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Rowan: Sorbus Aucuparia

Also known as the mountain ash, rowan trees grow well at high altitudes and are commonly found in the Scottish Highlands, as well as on streets and in gardens across the UK. Many birds eat their scarlet berries in the autumn, then disperse the seeds. Rowan used to be planted next to homes to ward off the threat of witches, as red was once believed to guard against evil.

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Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

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Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss.

Woodland Animals

Examples of species which could benefit from a woodland habitat.


Tawny Owl: Strix Aluco

Tawny Owl

As you might expect, tawny owls have excellent eyesight, but they also have fantastic hearing, which makes it easier for them to catch their prey. This species can be found living in England, Wales and Scotland, usually in broadleaf woodland. The tawny owl has a ring of dark feathers around its face, surrounding dark eyes.

Green Woodpecker: Picus Viridis

Green Woodpecker

The large green woodpecker has a bright red crown and a black moustache. Green woodpeckers don’t actually peck that much wood, because they have fairly weak bills. This bird used to be known as the “yaffle”, which is how the animated, carved woodpecker bookend - Professor Yaffle - got his name in the classic 1970s children’s television show “Bagpuss”.

Pied Flycatcher: Ficedula Hypoleuca

Pied Flycatcher

The pied flycatcher is a summer visitor to these shores, preferring to spend the winter in West Africa. You’ll find these birds in mature woodlands, mainly in western parts of Great Britain, because they like temperate rainforests. They make their nests in tree trunks and nest boxes, where the females lay up to seven light blue eggs at a time.

Wood Warbler: Phylloscopus Sibilatrix

Wood Warbler

These bright green and yellow birds tend to stick to oak woodland areas across the UK. Their song is a slightly metallic-sounding chirp, which some have compared to the sound of a small coin spinning on a table. Wood warblers migrate to Africa in August and come back to the UK towards the end of April.

Woodcock: Scolopax Rusticola


The woodcock is a large wading bird with short legs and a long, straight bill. Its feathers are mottled and brown, allowing the woodcock to blend in with the woodland floor. Woodcock feathers were used to paint the gold stripe on the side of the Rolls Royce and before that, they were popular with Victorian miniaturists who favoured them for painting on ivory.

Hawfinch: Coccothraustes Coccothraustes


The hawfinch is the UK’s largest finch and has a very powerful bill. This timid bird can be tricky to spot but tends to nest in woodland or parkland in England, particularly near beech, oak and hornbeam trees. Some hawfinches stay in the UK all year round, but others fly south for the winter.

Willow Tit: Poecile Montanus

Willow Tit

Willow tits tend to live in wet woodland and willow carr across England, Wales and the south of Scotland. Their diet is rich in insects, but they also eat seeds and berries in the winter when there are fewer creepy crawlies about. Willow tits carve out their own nesting holes, usually in trees or rotten stumps.

Goshawk: Accipiter Gentilis


These fierce hawks have a wingspan of around 1.5m and can weave in and out of trees, hunting their prey which includes smaller birds, squirrels and rabbits. The female of the species is larger than the male. The name goshawk comes from the Old English for “goose hawk”.


Red Deer: Cervus Elaphus

Red Deer

These truly majestic animals are the UK’s largest native land mammals, and you’ll find most of them in Scotland, although there are herds dotted all around the country. Red deer can weigh as much as 190kg, and live for up to 20 years. Males (stags) and females (hinds) tend to live apart for most of the year, then they get together to mate in the autumn and their young are born in the late spring and early summer.

Dormouse: Muscardinus Avellanarius


The dormouse, or hazel dormouse, makes its home in the overgrown hedgerows and deciduous woodland of southern England. UK dormouse populations have declined in this century and they are strictly protected by law. You might remember the dormouse who kept falling asleep during the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in Alice in Wonderland; probably because dormice are nocturnal and the party was during the day!

Pine Marten: Martes Martes

Pine Marten

Pine martens live in woodland habitats across Scotland and Ireland, but are on the verge of extinction in England and Wales. This elusive nocturnal hunter is tricky to spot, but if you do see one you’ll recognise it by the distinctive yellow “bib” on its otherwise rich brown fur. In 2013, an intrepid pine marten caused quite a stir when it invaded the pitch during a football match in Switzerland, biting one of the players!

Badger: Meles Meles


This black and white striped mammal is the UK’s largest land predator, and can be found living all around the country. Badgers make their homes underground in networks of burrows and tunnels known as setts, with the same family occupying the area for generations. It can be tricky to spot badgers in the wild because they are nocturnal, but during warmer weather in the summer, they occasionally emerge just before sunset.

Roe Deer: Capreolus Capreolus

Roe Deer

Roe deer live on their own or in small groups throughout England and Scotland, feeding on leaves, shrubs, heather and grass. Male roe deer have quite short antlers, which begin to grow in November so that they are ready for the summer rutting season, then fall out again in October. Roe deer mate in July and August, but implantation of the fertilised egg is delayed until January so that the young aren’t born in the winter.

Barbastelle Bat: Barbastella Barbastellus

Barbastelle Bat

This distinctive-looking bat has a flat face and makes its home in deciduous woodland, preferably near water, in England and Wales. The Latin name “barbastella” means “star beard”, because this bat has white hairs growing around its mouth. It is an incredibly rare, protected species, with as few as 5,000 believed to be living in the UK.

Bechstein’s Bat: Myotis Bechsteinii

Bechstein’s Bat

Bechstein’s bat is very rare and lives almost exclusively in woodland areas. This species is hard to detect because its echolocation is very quiet. Like other species of bat, Bechstein’s bat is nocturnal, and listens out for woodland moths, then catches and eats them.

Natterer’s Bat: Myotis Nattereri

Natterer’s Bat

Natterer’s bats are medium-sized with fairly long ears, and although quite rare, they live all over the UK. They feed on insects, many of which they forage straight from the foliage around them. They hibernate in small rock crevices, often in groups, and can contort themselves into all kinds of weird and wonderful positions.

Brown Long-Eared Bat: Plecotus Auritus

Brown Long-Eared Bat

As the name suggests, these medium-sized bats have huge ears: nearly as long as their bodies, in fact! They have grey-brown fur and like to roost in old buildings and holes in tree trunks. They prick up their ears when they are flying to aid with hunting, but can roll them back when resting and even tuck them under their wings.


Stag Beetle: Lucanus Cervus

Stag Beetle

You’ll find the UK’s biggest beetle in parks, gardens and woods in South East England. Stag beetles have huge jaws, but their bite isn’t actually that powerful so they don’t pose much of a threat to humans. It can take as long as seven years for stag beetle larvae to grow into adults, and once they do, they only live for a few months!

Glow Worm: Lampyris Noctiluca

Glow Worm

The female glow worm can light up at night to attract a mate in the darkness. Despite the name, glow worms actually look a bit more like beetles than worms. They are only adults for a very short time in the summer months.

Reptiles and Amphibians

Common Lizard: Zootoca Vivipara

Common Lizard

The common lizard incubates its eggs inside its body, then gives birth to live young, which is unusual for a reptile. If it feels threatened, this clever reptile can shed its tail to confuse the predator for long enough to get out of danger. The common lizard likes the sunshine and you might even be able to spot one in your garden.

Grass Snake: Natrix Helvetica

Grass Snake

Grass snakes pose no threat to humans because they are non-venomous and tend not to bite. Long green and yellow grass snakes can be found throughout England and Wales. You can spot them between April and October, as they hibernate for the rest of the year.

Slow Worm: Anguis Fragilis

Slow Worm

The slow worm looks a bit like a snake, but it is actually Britain’s only native legless lizard. They evolved without legs because they spend a lot of their time burrowing through soil and vegetation. If the slow worm senses danger nearby, it will try pooing in the hope that the smell puts the predator off.

Smooth Newt: Lissotriton Vulgaris

Smooth Newt

You’ll find these newts throughout Britain and Ireland, where they are protected by law. Adults head for ponds to mate and generally stay there from February to June. The female smooth newt wraps each of her eggs in an individual pond weed leaf to keep it safe.

Palmate Newt: Lissotriton Helveticus

Palmate Newt

Britain’s smallest species of newt looks a lot like the smooth newt, but prefers shallow pools and acidic soils. The males grow black webbing on their back feet during the breeding season. Palmate newts don’t exactly hibernate, but they do spend the winter sheltering under rocks, or in compost or mud.

Great Crested Newt: Triturus Cristatus

Great Crested Newt

The UK’s biggest newt is dark brown or black and covered in warts. Males dance on their front legs and wave their tails when trying to court females. The animals and their eggs, breeding sites and resting places are protected by law.

Common Frog: Rana Temporaria

Common Frog

Common frogs have smooth skin and are most active at night. This clever amphibian uses its long, sticky tongue to catch insects like worms, slugs and snails. Garden ponds are very important for common frogs and suburban populations depend on them.


Grey Squirrel: Sciurus Carolinensis

Grey Squirrel

Grey squirrels first arrived in the UK from their native North America in the 1800s. Their introduction to these shores has been a disaster for red squirrels, as greys carry squirrelpox, to which they themselves are immune, but which can infect and kill reds. Grey squirrels also cause mayhem in woods where they strip the bark from trees, damaging them in the process.

Edible Dormouse: Glis Glis

Edible Dormouse

The Romans used to breed edible dormice to eat as a snack. These rodents look a bit like tiny squirrels, with greyish fur and brown tails. Britain’s edible dormouse population is confined to the Chilterns and nearby woodlands.

Muntjac Deer: Muntiacus Reevesi

Muntjac Deer

This small hump-backed deer originally came to the UK from China and can now be spotted here all year round. Muntjac deer are not much bigger than foxes and hang around in small family groups rather than large herds. Sadly, they can damage important wildflower species in the woodlands they visit.

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