Trainhugger grants: A new platform for woodland owners

Launched! Trainhugger grants will provide woodland grants and focuses on planting or improving woodland under the expert care of RFS and RSFS members.

By Wendy Necar · May 13, 2021

Woodland across the UK set to benefit from Trainhugger grants

An innovative project has been launched to help in the fight against rapid climate change with new train ticket search and booking service Trainhugger in association with  the Royal Forestry Society (RFS) and the Royal Scottish Forestry Society (RSFS).

The scheme will provide woodland grants and focuses on planting or improving woodland under the expert care of RFS and RSFS members, meaning train travellers can be sure that for every booking made through Trainhugger new trees will be planted across the UK to flourish for decades and centuries to come.

At least 80,000 trees will be planted in an initial pilot of the Trainhugger Grants for Resilient Woodlands and Treescapes with hundreds of thousands more planned in an ongoing multi-year partnership.

To apply for the grants, woodland owners must be RFS or RSFS members and must be able to demonstrate that the species they are choosing, or the planting methods they are employing, will maximise the woodland’s survival for the future. Restock and small woodland schemes, which do not currently always qualify for traditional government grants, will be considered alongside new woodland creation.

RFS Development Manager Jen Turner said: “This truly is a pioneering project. We are all looking to a time when it is safe to travel again, but the lockdowns have made many of us more aware than ever of opportunities to cut our climate impact and improve local air quality. Trainhugger delivers so many benefits in these areas.

“Ticket prices are the same price as competitors, yet every booking made through Trainhugger means a tree will be planted through the RFS and RSFS and managed expertly for the future, helping meet government climate change aims. Train travel also produces significantly less CO2 than traditional car travel so this is a win-win for conscientious travellers, the environment and for those planting resilient woodland.”

RSFS President Simon MacGillivray said: “One of the positives from this past year has been a growing awareness of the benefits of our forests and green spaces.  We’ve seen a huge desire from people to plant more trees. Through this partnership with our members and those of RFS, this initiative by Trainhugger allows everyone who travels by train a chance to be part of creating a new generation of woodlands.”

Trainhugger’s Director of Sustainability Nellie de Goguel says “We’re excited to harness the power of sustainable public transport to plant a network of healthy, resilient woodlands across the UK. Almost two billion train trips were taken in 2019. If less than one percent of those trips were purchased through Trainhugger, we could plant millions of trees in one year.”

“It’s actually a really simple idea, but we believe it can make a huge difference,” adds Trainhugger CEO and founder Ed Caldecott.  “We want to make sure that every Trainhugger tree that goes into the soil is climate resilient and planted in the best place possible, and that’s why we have teamed up with the experts at the Royal Forestry Society (RFS) and the Royal Scottish Forestry Society (RSFS).

Under the pilot project, RFS and RSFS members will be able to apply for grants worth 50p per tree planted, with decisions made on applications within six weeks. Grant applications will open on 24 May. A free webinar is being held for RFS and RSFS members on 24 May to explain how to apply for the grants.Tree planting will begin during the 2021-2021 planting season and be completed by 2023 at the latest.

Jen Turner added: “We are also thrilled that they are planting their first trees in RFS Hockeridge and Pancake Woods which will become a focus for research and education and help us to share knowledge and experiences further.”

More on the grants and application here. 

Or watch RFS and Trainhugger partnership on You Tube here.