March 21st is International Day of Forests, raising awareness of the importance forests play in our lives. Forestry England are responsible for managing over 1,500 forests and woodlands in England. For over 100 years they have cared and managed sites for wildlife, people and the production of sustainably-sourced timber. They have constructed over 1,800 miles of walking, running and cycling trails allowing more and more people to access and enjoy benefits of being amongst nature and visiting the forest.
How important are forests?
Just some of the reasons forests are vital to the health and wellbeing to people and the planet:
How do forests benefit our lives?
As well as the health benefits, forests provide an economic benefit bringing people and communities together. Directly they offer the space for businesses and organisations (such as Go Ape, cafes and concert venues). But first and foremost the forests are a home for wildlife and nature. From deer to dormice, spiders to squirrels and butterflies to bees there is plenty of wildlife to spot on your next visit to the forest.
Did you know? Forestry England are one of the largest managers of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in England
Here’s our shortlist for some inspiration on your next visit to the forest:
Abbots Wood – Ancient woodland. Things to do: 2 walking trails, picnic area, horse riding. Address: Abbots Wood, Arlington, Polegate.
Sat Nav Postcode: BN26 6SL
Micheldever Wood – Ancient woodland. Things to do: 2 walking trails, picnic area. Address: Winchester (five miles northeast of Winchester, bordering the M3).
Sat Nav Postcode: SO24 9UB
Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest – Over 12,000 trees and world-leading collection of conifers. Things to do: 3 walking trails, 3 biking trails, 4 orienteering trails and waymarked running trails, horse riding, play areas, cafe. Address: Lady Oak Lane, Goudhurst
Sat Nav Postcode: TN17 2SJ
Birklands, Sherwood Forest – Explore the forest that dates back to 1251. Things to do: walking trails, historic features, cycling, horse riding. Address: Sherwood Forest car park, Edwinstowe, Mansfield
Sat Nav Postcode: NG21 9RN
Salcey Forest – Ancient wood banks, building remains and ancient trees some over 600 years old. Things to do: 3 walking trails, 1 cycling trail, 1 horse riding trail, play areas, picnic areas. Address: Quinton Road, Northamptonshire
Sat Nav Postcode: NN7 2HX
Wakerley Great Wood – Historic ancient woodland that contains archaeological remains. Things to do: walking trails, picnic areas. Address: Wakerley Great Wood, East Northamptonshire
Sat Nav Postcode: NN17 3BA
Thieves Wood – Long distance trail The Robin Hood Way, explores the legend of Robin Hood as it passes through the wood. Things to do: walking trails, picnic areas. Address: Nottinghamshire (located approximately two miles south of Mansfield).
Sat Nav Postcode: NG18 5BA
Dymock Woods – Ancient woodland with areas of SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). Things to do: walking trails, horse riding, picnic area. Address: Linton, Forest of Dean, Herefordshire
Sat Nav Postcode: HR9 7UT
Symonds Yat Rock – Ancient hill fort known as the best place in the UK to watch Peregrine Falcon’s. Things to do: 5 walking trails, 1 cycling trail, stunning views, picnic area. Address: near Coleford, Gloucestershire
Sat Nav Postcode: GL16 7NZ
Eggesford Forest – Home to the first planned tree by the Forestry Commission in 1919. Things to do: walking trails, picnic areas. Address: Eggesford Forest, Chulmleigh
Sat Nav Postcode: EX18 7LD
Savernake Forest – Registered important historic park and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Things to do: walking trails, ancient trees, picnic areas. Address: Postern Hill, Savernake Forest, Marlborough
Sat Nav Postcode: SN8 4ND
Nutcombe Bottom – Home to England’s Tallest Tree. Things to do: walking trail, picnic, play equipment. Address: Nutcombe Bottom, West Somerset
Sat Nav Postcode: TA24 6TA
Westonbirt, The National Arboretum – Home to 2,500 different species of trees from around the World. All tickets must be prebooked. Address: Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, Tetbury
Sat Nav Postcode: GL8 8QS
Ennerdale – One of the longest running wild land restoration projects offering a unique valley experience. Things to do: 5 walking trails, cycling, orienteering, horse riding, picnic area. Address: Ennerdale Valley , Cumbria
Sat Nav Postcode: CA23 3AS
Whinlatter Forest – Set within the Lake District, home to longest purpose built mountain bike trails. Things to do: 9 walking trails, 3 cycling trails, 2 running trails, play areas, picnic areas. Address: Whinlatter Pass, Keswick
Sat Nav Postcode: CA12 5TW
Isle of Wight
Parkhurst Forset – one of the oldest forest and consits of ancient woodland and heathland. Things to do: walking trails, picnic areas, horse riding. Address: Parkhurst Forest, Forest Road, Newport
Sat Nav Postcode: PO30 5UL
Rendlesham Forest – Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Walk the route of the famous UFO sighting in December 1980. Things to do: 3 walking trails, 2 cycling trails, orienteering trails. horse riding, play areas. Address: Tangham, Woodbridge
Sat Nav Postcode: IP12 3NF
Simonside – Breathtaking panoramic views from the hill that lies within Northumberland National Park. Things to do: stunning viewpoint, 2 walking trails, mountain biking, horse riding. Address: Rothbury, Northumberland
Sat Nav Postcode: NE65 7NW
Warksburn Picnic Area, Kielder Forest – Overlooked by the famous Totem Poles of Stonehaugh village. Things to do: walking trail, picnic area. Address: Hexham
Sat Nav Postcode: NE48 3DY
For a full list of forests and woodlands managed by Forestry England click here
Where’s your favourite forest?
Important: Please check current Government guidance and the Forestry England website advice before your next forest visit. Current Coronavirus advice from Forestry England can be found here.
LCC Founder & Creative Director
Hello and welcome to the LCC. I'm a rural-loving mum (of the horse, human and dog variety!) living in Cheshire in the North West of England. For as long as I can remember I have always had a fascination with the great outdoors. Eager to understand the 'how' and the 'why' of the world around us. I created this platform where we can connect and share our love of the the countryside and rural life.