OUR FAVOURITE UK FORESTS


Forests are the lungs of our planet, and home to so much of the UK's diverse wildlife - but they're also one of the best and most accessible playgrounds for adventure that we have access to, especially when we can't travel far. Whether you're all about taking your yoga practice outdoors, a walk among the trees Japanese-style or tearing up the MTB trails, here's our round-up of the best forests here on home soil.

Kielder Forest, Northumberland

It's not an exaggeration to say Kielder has just about everything. If you're lucky enough to live near this awe-inspiring landscape, you won't be disappointed - it's home to England’s biggest remaining population of red squirrels and Northumberland's only breeding osprey population, as well as family-friendly surprises like the Minotaur Maze and sculptural artwork Skyspace. More into peaceful walking trails or epic mountain biking? Kielder Water, in the heart of the forest, has you covered there.

Grizedale Forest, Cumbria

As if the Lake District wasn't already an outdoor paradise, add Grizedale to the list of must-see spots for its seemingly endless forest trails, selection of the UK's best mountain bike routes and, of course, views of Cumbria's lakes and mountains that it's impossible to tire of. Art buffs will find themselves at home here, too, with unique sculptures by some leading names in contemporary art just waiting to be discovered throughout.

Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

Ancient and famous the world over, if it's a day out in the forest you're after, you can't do much better than our beloved Forest of Dean. The cycle centre at Cannop offers bike trails for all ages and abilities, and at the Cyril Hart Arboretum, nature buffs can see over 200 species of trees as well as THAT deservingly popular sculpture trail. Plenty of picnic spots cement its spot as one of the best days out around.

Dalby Forest, Yorkshire

MTB fans, this one's for you. Located on the southern slopes of the North York Moors, Dalby Forest is of course home to a UCI World Cup course, which is open not only to visit but to ride too. Once you've got your fill, stick around until the sun goes down to witness the Dalby Observatory in all its dark-sky-status glory,

Galloway Forest Park, Dumfries and Galloway

Galloway Forest Park, aka the "Highlands of the Lowlands" is the UK's largest forest park, featuring everything you could want from a woodland - think rolling lochs, glens and hills, forest trails, magnificent scenery, wonderful wildlife and a long and colourful history. Three visitor centres offering ample opportunity to spot the park's resident red deer, a 10-mile scenic forest drive and two of the world-famous 7stanes mountain bike trail centres secure its place as one of the many jewels in Scotland's crown.

Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, Loch Lomond

If 50,000 acres of forest park stretching from the east shore of Loch Lomond to the rugged terrain of Strathyre, encompassing mountain and moorland, forest and woodland, rivers and lochs sounds idyllic to you, you wouldn't be wrong. A haven of peace and quiet, magnificent views and a wide range of activities, the impressive Lodge Forest Visitor Centre allows you to get up close to a wide range of wildlife including Osprey with live CCTV viewing. The park is home to Britain’s largest off-road cycle network, ideal for families and mixed abilities, and offers pony treks along shady trails or gentle mountain ascents. A 7-mile forest drive takes you past the three picturesque lochs of Lochan Reòidhte, Loch Drunkie and Loch Achray where we challenge anyone to look away from the breathtaking Trossachs scenery even for a minute.

Coed Y Brenin, Snowdonia

It wouldn't be a forest round-up without Coed y Brenin Forest Park. The first forest to be developed for mountain biking, and now a spiritual home for those who love to explore on two wheels, there's also walking, running, orienteering, geocaching and an animal puzzle trail, plus a range of special events throughout the year - as if you needed an excuse to keep going back.


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