Schools and community groups in Devon are being urged to take advantage of a chance to plant mini forests, wildlife woodlands and hedgerows in their locality. 

The Woodland Trust will be giving out free packs of saplings for planting in March, but applications for them have to be in by January 11 - and 

Applicants can choose from several options, depending on the kind of plantation they want and how much space they have. They range from packs of 15 saplings for urban areas to packs of 420 – enough trees to create a woodland as big as a football pitch. 

There is also plenty of choice in the type of trees on offer. There are packs of wildlife-friendly trees, packs that will create new hedgerows, packs that will provide year-round colour with blossom, berries and autumn leaves, and more. 

There are two rounds of tree giveaways a year, and the last was the biggest yet with more than 70,000 trees sent out for planting in the south west. Of these, 15,705 went to organisations in Devon. 

Woodland Trust senior project lead Vicki Baddeley is encouraging potential applicants to sign up now rather than waiting for the January deadline. 

She said: “With Christmas looming and National Tree Week upon us, now really is a good time to get those applications in and ensure you don’t miss out,” she added. 

“We still have lots of trees available, but with schools breaking up before you know it, and the hectic holiday period around the corner, it makes sense to get organised nice and early and avoid a last-minute rush in early January. 

“Planting trees is such a simple action, but the collective impact can make a huge difference. It’s a great way for schoolchildren and community groups to learn about nature and the environment and, at the same time, embrace a “Green Christmas”. 

“Planting trees has so many benefits, from combatting the effects of climate change, helping support wildlife, to greening up local spaces and boosting well-being. 

“The desire to plant trees is growing all the time and I fully expect demand to reflect that in the coming weeks, so I would advise any interested groups to apply sooner rather than later.” 

To find out more and make an application, visit The Woodland Trust’s website