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Top 10 Woodland Walks

Sian Pilkington

Sian Pilkington



Carnmoney Hill

Carnmoney Hill, Newtown Abbey, Northern Ireland

Carnmoney Hill rises 232 m (761 ft) above Newtownabbey and offers breathtaking views over the City of Belfast, Belfast Lough and the coast. It is 171.66 acres of new woodland, comprising areas of semi-natural grassland, wetland and floral grassland. It is home to an abundance of wildlife, including Irish hares and long-eared owls, and has a range of walks to suit all abilities. Stroll around the foot of the hill or choose from the lower woodland walk (which takes about 45 minutes) or the more challenging hilltop walk (lasting around two hours).

Nidd Gorge

Nidd Gorge, North Yorkshire

Ancient broadleaf woodland covers the steep cliffs and slopes of Yorkshire’s Nidd Gorge, which is home to more than 80 species of bird and 30 different kinds of mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Its patchwork of habitats supports a wealth of wildlife and flora, including roe deer, tawny owls, herons and woodpeckers, and you’ll find relics of an intriguing history dating back to the Iron Age.

Cwm Mynach

Cwm Mynach, Wales

Cwm Mynach is a hidden valley running through the Rhinog Mountain range. The Woodland Trust has been working to restore this thousand-acre wood to native broadleaf woodland. Follow one of the many footpaths throughout the woodland to see how the area is being gradually transformed and enjoy breath-taking views of mountains, lakes and streams.

Tring Park

Tring Park, Hertfordshire

Discover varied wildlife and the legacy of the Rothschild family at Tring Park – over 300 acres of parkland rich in history. The site is believed to date back to 1066 and is one of Hertfordshire’s most important ecological areas and one of the Woodland Trust’s most exciting and diverse sites. Walk among mixed broadleaf woodland and explore one of the largest areas of unimproved chalk grassland in the county at this tranquil site just a 10-minute walk from the Natural History Museum at Tring. There are wonderful wildflowers and butterflies to see in spring and summer, as well as architectural features like the round pond, obelisk and summer house.

Glen Finglas

Glen Finglas, Trossachs, Scotland

Glen Finglas epitomises the Scottish Highlands with its rolling hills, hidden glens, ancient woodlands and glassy lochs. It is the Woodland Trust’s largest site, a staggering 12,044 acres, and it lies at the heart of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. It has all the breathtaking views you could possibly wish for, walks to suit all abilities and a diverse range of wildlife too.

Hainault Forest

Hainault Forest, Essex

Just 20 miles from the centre of London, Hainault Forest is a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. This 280 acre former hunting forest is one of the best surviving ancient woods of its kind and home to a wealth of wildlife and plant species. Ancient hornbeam pollards, majestic wellingtonia avenues and herds of red deer are the hidden treasures to be found.  Together with the southern section, owned by the London Borough of Redbridge, it forms Hainault Forest Country Park. The Redbridge section has a lake, petting zoo and orienteering course, making it the perfect destination for a family day out.

Hucking Estate

Hucking Estate, Kent

Walk along the way-marked trails and footpaths to discover ancient woods, flourishing new woodland, open grassland and breath-taking views on this 696 acre site. You can follow the sculpture trail, observe interesting wildlife or hunt for the 200-year-old majestic beech tree. The Hucking Estate is in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and one of the Woodland Trust’s top 10 bluebell woods – mid-April to early-June is the best time to see these beautiful flowers in bloom.

Ledmore & Migdale Wood

Ledmore & Migdale Wood, Scottish Highlands

These 1,707 acre woods in Spinningdale on the Dornoch Firth go back thousands of years, comprised of ancient woodland, broadleaved deciduous woodland, conifer plantations, heather moorland, marsh and rocky crags. With the possibility of spotting an otter, pine marten or even an elusive black grouse, they are one of the finest wildlife woods you will find and of immense importance to nature conservation. There are over six miles of tracks and paths for you to explore.

Fingle Woods

Fingle Woods, Dartmoor, Devon

This amazing 825 acre site is located on the southern side of the steep Teign Valley on the northern fringes of Dartmoor. Jointly owned by the Woodland Trust and the National Trust, Fingle Woods is undergoing extensive restoration to repair the 525 acres of ancient broadleaf woodland that were damaged by maturing conifers. Public access has already been improved with 45 km of new footpaths, which have opened up the area to provide a fantastic woodland landscape to explore. There are a number of fantastic routes to choose from and it’s a perfect place to explore year round, with each season bringing a new treasure. In spring, the woodland floor is carpeted with bluebell, wood anemone and ransom, while lichens festoon the trees, adding to the magical feel.

Heartwood Forest

Heartwood Forest, St Albans, Hertfordshire

Heartwood Forest is a vast, beautiful new forest that will be completed at the end of March. Already, nearly 600,000 trees have been planted, and along with the pockets of ancient woodland, new wildflower meadows, a community orchard in the making, and fantastic wildlife, it’s set to become one of The Woodland Trust’s top 10 destination sites.


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