Tree Wardens


The Tree Council

The Tree Council was founded in 1973, with government backing, as the umbrella body for UK organisations involved in tree planting, care and conservation. The idea was to keep up the momentum of National Tree Planting Year 1973 (with its slogan of “Plant a Tree in ‘73”). Today the Tree Council is one of the UK’s leading charities for trees, promoting their importance in a changing environment and working in partnership with communities, organisations and government to make trees matter to everyone. At the local level it works through its national network of volunteer Tree Wardens in close co-ordination with Parish, Town and District Councils. As the coalition body for a diverse range of organisations, the Council focuses on getting more trees, of the right kind, in the right places; better care for all trees of all ages and inspiring effective action for trees.  For further information see:  THE TREE COUNCIL

The Tree Warden Network  There is no set definition of a Tree Warden’s role, each local Network is encouraged to work out its own ways of working in line with the local context. However a shared objective for all Tree Wardens is to ensure that rules set for trees within Conservation Areas (CAs) and trees with Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) are adhered to. It is important that the local Tree Warden is the “eyes and ears” in their community for anything tree related. In the South Hams The current South Hams Tree Warden Network (SHTWN) was officially established in early 2011. The new structure was set up in response to changes within South Hams District Council. Like other Tree Warden Networks, the SHTWN is formally affiliated to the Tree Council, with a constitution agreed with the latter. Although it works closely with SHDC, the Network is an independent body with its own Chair, Mark Long, and Co-ordinator, Thelma Rumsey. It has produced its own Handbook for its members which is available online at:  SOUTH HAMS TREE WARDEN NETWORK HANDBOOK 2017

The South Hams area has some 60 parishes lying between Wembury in the south west, Shaugh Prior in the north west, Marldon in the north east and East Prawle in the south east. It covers many locations on the south Devon coast but some parishes, and consequently tree warden activity, extend into Dartmoor National Park. The members of the SHTWN, up to 60 individual Tree Wardens spread throughout the South Hams, continue to work closely with the tree office within the District Council. Inevitably there is turnover and not every Parish has an active Tree Warden. SHTWN is always happy to hear from people who would like to become a Tree Warden where there currently isn’t one. If you are interested to find out more, please contact the SHTWN Co-ordinator at:

 Tree Warden – Handbook

With the ever-increasing pressure on Local Authorities to prioritise their allocation of spending budgets, it has become evident that the role of today’s parish tree warden needs to be reformed to meet these challenges. Tree wardens now need to be better informed of up to date legislation and planning matters if they are to play a more active role within their parishes.

Feedback from past tree warden meetings indicated that information available to the present network members was not sufficient and out of date, and did not relate to the new initiatives being proposed and carried out by Local Authorities. In fact they did not feel particularly well informed or involved in a strong, supportive network. It was obvious that this situation had to be addressed to reflect these considerable changes.

In the light of this the South Hams Tree Warden Network (SHTWN) committee decided to take action. It would review and update its present literature and information enabling tree wardens to be more informed, effective and functional within their local communities. A new revamped and relevant South Hams Tree Warden Handbook, containing essential information and reflecting conditions specific to the South Hams, was one thing that could be prepared fairly quickly. Pip Howard and Tommy Hutchinson, both tree wardens for Totnes, were asked to compile a document in conjunction with South Hams District Council.

This document would give an all-round, contemporary and informative overview of the role and importance of a tree warden that could also be of interest to a wider audience. We hope that you find this new handbook useful, interesting and above all, informative.

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