For those lucky enough to have experienced the joys of the forest growing up, there’s a deep pull of memories that keep you coming back to them.
We believe forests are for everyone and, no matter your age, it’s never too late to discover and enjoy them. The nation's forests are for those looking for fun and excitement, but also for those looking for peace and quiet. New experiences lie behind each tree you pass, and you'll find simple pleasures to come back to again, season after season.
We went on a walk in the woods with Charlie Dimmock to hear why she chooses to spend time in the forest. Charlie grew up on the edge of the New Forest in Hampshire, where she later returned to live.
5 reasons to get back to basics in the forest
They’re near to you
The nation’s forests are closer than you might think with nearly 40% of England's population living within just 15 minutes' drive of a Forestry England location. With over 1,500 forests we look after the largest outdoor recreation landholding in the country for your enjoyment. As well as places to enjoy, they're habitats for wildlife, sites of forgotten heritage, and a source of sustainable timber for our homes and communities.
Places to enjoy family time and socialise
From volunteering opportunities, to play areas for the children, there’s everything in between for every member of the family to find something they love. Not only that, the forest is a great place to meet new friends. Did you know research shows that people are more likely to be more social with strangers in woodland activities than they might do through everyday life?
Good for your mental health
There’s unlimited ways that people experience the wellbeing benefits of time spent in the forest, all supported by science. The sense of loss of time, the running of the imagination, and childlike joy show the power of the forest on people's mindset. The feeling of shelter, the stimulation of the senses, and the changing experiences in each season make getting out in the forest, even on a rainy day, always feel worth it.
Good for your physical health
You don’t have to have high ambitions to reap the joy of being active in the forest. A short walk can often reveal a beautiful view, or a little wander off the path, the most amazing wildlife. With 3,000km of dedicated recreation trails across the nation's forests, there’s no shortage of options for all abilities to seek out the terrain to suit your needs.
Easy to plan your visit
A small bit of planning goes a long way. Our website will give you information about car parking, trails, what to wear, and other facilities and accessibility provision at each forest location. Our main visitor centres typically have a café for that lovely hot drink to round off the forest experience. Every pound spent at the forest supports work to protect the nation’s forests for future generations, and the work of forests in tackling the nature and climate crises.