Ready in 100 years! New UK rainforest planted

Should we turn Britain into one big forest? In Devon, authorities plan to lay the seeds for a return to an ancient wilderness.

In ancient times, Britain was a land of mysteries. Deep in the dark forests, druids would work magic. The Romans said that they would even perform human sacrifice.

When most people think of rainforests, they think of jungles like the Amazon. But these ancient woods were rainforests too. They were temperate rainforests.

These woods once covered around a fifth of the UK. They have since dwindled to less than 1%.

But Devon Wildlife Trust wants to bring them back. They are going to plant a new rainforest. It is a plan so big it could take 100 years to grow fully.

Like their tropical cousins, temperate rainforests are home to a huge number of plants and animals. Dozens of birds, squirrels, stoats and pine martens can be found in the woods if you look closely.

These rainforests, sometimes called Atlantic rainforests, were slowly lost over the centuries. In some places sheep nibbled them away. In others they were chopped down for wood. An area of rainforest the size of Birmingham was cut down in the 20th Century.

Trees breathe in the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen, so they are good for the air and good for the climate.

Devon Wildlife Trust will be planting willows, rowans, birches and alders to try to rewild an area near the town of Totnes. Perhaps in a hundred years the druids will come back, too!