March 25, 2014

In case it escaped your notice, and to be honest it did ours, last week saw the grand celebration known globally as World Forest Day. Yes, that’s right, there is such a date, and this year it was March 21st.

We think it is a great idea actually – the world’s forests should be celebrated. After all they are diminishing with each passing year yet play a vital role in recycling atmospheric carbon dioxide, a process which we need more than ever at this point in our history.

But as well as all the science stuff they have a romantic quality about them too, as places to wander in, to go when you want to see nature at its glorious best or when you want to be alone with your thoughts.

So it is with this in mind we thought we would bring you a list of some of the UK’s greatest forests so you too can get out and join in the celebrations.

In no particular order, they include:

  1. Hackfall, North Yorkshire.

Situated near the village of Grewelthorpe between the Dales and the North York Moors, Hackfall Wood was recommended by Wordsworth in his tour guide. And if it is good enough for old Will, well, it’s good enough for us.

  1. Grazedale, Cumbria

Home to England’s only remaining indigenous herd of Red Deer. Set in the heart of the Lake District, between Windermere and Coniston, you would have to travel a long way to better the views.

  1. Pressmennan, East Lothian

Located on the slopes of Deuchrie Dod, the forest is home to a variety of flora, from conifers, to wild garlic, dog’s mercury and wild raspberries. Pressmennan is also one of the UK’s most child-friendly forests.

  1. Priestly Wood, Suffolk

More than 130 plants and flowers have been identified in the woods with wild garlic making an appearance alongside various orchids, primrose and bluebells. In amongst the flowering plant-life, it is also possible to find one of the county’s two wild pear trees.

Priestly Wood is one of the UK’s best places to see spring blooms and is a carpet of colour from March onwards.

  1. Kielder Forest, Northumberland

Home to half of England’s Red Squirrel population, Kielder is also famous for its dark skies astronomical observations, and has some interesting art to engage children and adults alike.

  1. New Forest, Hampshire

A place to see some of the UK’s greatest fauna, including the famous New Forest ponies, grazing cattle, deer and red kites, the New Forest is one of England’s best known and best loved forests.

Don’t expect thick woodland however, forest here is used in its original capacity; a royal hunting ground, which means it is actually a mixture of heather moorland and coppices.

  1. Ingleton Falls, North Yorkshire

Situated on the edge of the Dales, Ingleton Falls Waterfall Trail is a 4.5 mile loop taking in nine woodland waterfalls along the rivers Twiss and Doe. Designated a site of special scientific interest, it is actually on private land and therefore a small fee applies, however, it is well worth every penny.

Of course, these are just a few of the many forests across the UK which provides public access for walking, mountain biking, horse riding and other outdoor pursuits.

To find your closest forest, visit

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