From the string-of-sausage lichen to the fish-smelling ‘stinky’ sticta lichen, the secret world of Britain’s rainforests is remarkable.

Whilst the Amazon’s tropical rainforest is a household name, not as many know about the damp, lush rainforests we have here at home on our western shores.

Also known as Atlantic or Celtic rainforest, this special habitat, pockets of which are found in the west of Scotland and Wales, Lake District and into south west England, is incredibly rare. In fact, it's thought to be more threatened than tropical rainforests.

Britain's rainforests, which used to cover a fifth of Britain but now cover just 1 per cent, range from mountains to lowlands and have an array of diversity and they are facing catastrophic threats. Many are choked with non-native conifers, rhododendron ponticum and cherry laurel.

They are being damaged by over grazing , and climate change is taking its toll on moisture levels. Air pollution is killing the fragile lichens and bryophytes, and tree disease is decimating the diverse canopy.

The Woodland Trust is highlighting the plight of its special rainforests to coincide with World Rainforest Day.

Bovey Woods is one great example of Atlantic rainforest in Teignbridge, alongside Wistman's Woods. This mix of ancient woodland and wildflower-rich wet meadows nestles in the steep-sided valley of the River Bovey in the dramatic Dartmoor landscape. Its abundance of wildlife fascinating flora and network of walks some of which are challenging makes it an enticing destination all year round. A well-known haunt for bird watchers, Bovey Valley is brimming with spring migrant birds, such as the rare Dartford warbler, the brightly-coloured kingfisher or the pied flycatcher, which arrives from Africa each spring to breed. The river is home to otter, salmon, brown and sea trout, as well as the rare bullhead fish, and Dartmoor ponies graze in the wildflower meadows.

Eleanor Lewis, the Woodland Trust’s rainforest lead in the south west, said:

'A healthy temperate rainforest is perfect for scarce plants, lichens and fungi, as well as remarkable birds and mammals. Such strange species lurk there like the Graphis scripta, or script lichen which literally looks like hieroglyphics, and Lobaria pulmonaria tree lungwort , which looks like the inside of lungs and was thought to be a treatment for lung ailments by Anglo Saxons/medieval peoples.

'A good example of this habitat could contain over 200 different species of bryophytes and 100-200 species of lichen. Unfortunately they are wonderful, rare habitats that are under a serious threat and Britain has an international responsibility to protect many of these species due to their scarce global distribution.'

Despite fears over the future of the Britain’s rainforests , much is being done on the ground to protect these special habitats. The Trust is part of the Alliance for Scotland’s Rainforest – a voluntary partnership of organisations committed to collaborating for the benefit of Scotland’s rainforest - and a similar alliance in its infancy in the south west of England. The Trust is also pushing the UK Government to realise its pledge to bring the majority of ancient woodlands into restoration by 2030, which includes rainforests.

The Trust owns several woods on the western seaboard of the British Isles – from the lost world of Ausewell Wood in Devon to Cwm Mynach in Snowdonia, Wales and Crinan Wood in Argyll, Scotland, where remarkably 245 species of lichen have recently been recorded.

Lichens are in important indicator of the health of a wood, which is important as the Trust’s recent State of Trees and Woods reported stated that just 7 per cent of woodlands are in 'good condition'.

Woodland Trust’s UK rainforest work is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People's Postcode Lottery, said: 'Saving the rainforest is a well-known cause but until recently few people realised we have temperate rainforests here in Britain too. They are as important as tropical rainforests, but more rare. Few people know they exist and fewer still know how globally significant they are. We are delighted that our players’ support is helping raise the profile of these precious places and helping the Woodland Trust work to protect them.'

Across the UK, several components influence the condition and species present at each rainforest site. The biodiversity of rainforests in south west England for example differ markedly to those in north west Scotland. Essentially the key factor in what makes a rainforest is the amount of rain it receives each year and relatively mild temperatures year round.