Feel-good forest walks
This World WellBeing Week, Forestry England are encouraging people to try some forest bathing. Ease your stress and worries and let the trees in full leaf provide a glorious woodland canopy to shelter under as you breathe in scent of summer flowers in full bloom. Watch the butterflies flutter by and maybe spot a fledgling taking wing for the very first time.
Known in Japan as shinrin-yoku, forest bathing is simply being in nature, connecting with the forest through our senses of sight, hearing, taste, and touch. We all know how good being in nature can make us feel, so here at Forestry England, we have put together our top 10 mindful walks, guaranteed to refresh your body, mind, and spirit.
Alice Holt Forest, Surrey – Family trail (3 miles)
Offering the chance to explore with further into the forest with your senses, the wide forest track is an opening space where you can walk comfortably. The trail passes through an interesting variety of woodland habitats, from conifer plantation to mature broadleaf interspersed with woodland clearings. Enjoy a stop and take in your surroundings in one of the meadows along the route!
Blackwater Arboretum, Hampshire – Walk the Tall Trees trail (1.5 miles)
Walking the circular ‘Tall Trees Trail’ will take you through an impressive section of Rhinefield Drive amongst towering Douglas fir and mighty redwoods giving you plenty of opportunities to slow down and look up! The path is a flat and fairly smooth gravelled surface with frequent resting places to enjoy the forest atmosphere.
Cannock Chase Forest, Staffordshire – The Fairoak trail (2.5 miles)
An easy circular trail, the walk meanders through the forest and opens out into the Fairoak Valley. Here you’ll find the magnificent Fairoak Pools, a rich and important habitat that many wildlife species call home. Stop here and try and spot swans, ducks and deer whilst clearing your mind.
Dalby Forest, Yorkshire – The Adderson Rigg trail (1.7 miles)
Head into Dalby forest and explore with your senses the naturally sculpted Adderstone on this gentle walk. The trail follows forest paths and roads through a variety of woodland allowing you the opportunity to ease your stress. You will be met and awakened with stunning views over the forest.
High Lodge, Thetford Forest, Suffolk, The Fit Trail (3 miles)
This trail is perfect for those wanting to get away from it all and enjoy the peace and quiet of the forest. Far away from the visitor centre this trail takes you into the heart of the forest, allowing you to soak in the atmosphere with all your senses.
Jeskyns Community Woodland, Kent – The Broomfield Loop (1.5 miles)
A gentle, undulating walk on surfaced paths that leads you through new woodlands, grazed meadows, orchards and ponds. A walk guaranteed to restore your mood and give you back your energy.
Moors Valley Country Park, Dorset – The Look Out (1.5 miles)
This lovely meandering route takes you away from the visitor centre into the peace and quiet of the forest. The trail takes you to an amazing spot where you can let your stresses drift away, the Lookout. Once here you’ll be rewarded with stunning views across the valley.
Wareham Forest, Dorset – The Woodlark Trail (2 miles)
Wareham forest is a delight to discover on foot. The trail is generally flat, with a couple of slight inclines, ideal for bathing in the glory of the forest. As you walk slowly along the path, keep your senses open for the trail’s namesake, the rare Woodlark, who nests here between March and August.
Wyre Forest, Worcestershire – The Buzzard trail (3.25 miles)
The Buzzard trail explores the depths of the forest through beautiful mixed woodlands allowing your mind, body and soul to relax and unwind. The trail takes you along forest tracks and narrow paths, past majestic old oaks, as well as the Wyre Arboretum providing lots of opportunities to slow down and rejuvenate.
Haldon Forest, Devon – The butterfly trail (4 miles)
The butterfly trail leads you on a circular trail to the peaceful depths of the forest. Discover rare butterflies whilst bathing in the forest atmosphere. Meander slowly along the trail and take in the stunning views across the forest and over the Teign valley.
Notes to Editor
- Forestry England manages and cares for the nation’s 1,500 woods and forests, with over 296 million visits per year. As England’s largest land manager, we shape landscapes and enhance forests for people to enjoy, wildlife to flourish and businesses to grow. We are continuing the work we have already started to make the nation’s forests resilient to climate change and by 2026 we will:
- create at least 6,000 more hectares where we integrate wilding activities in our productive forests.
- increase the diversity of visitors to the nation’s forests and have one million hours of high-quality volunteer time given to the nation’s forests
- plant at least 2,000 hectares of new, high quality, predominantly broadleaf woodlands
- For more information visit forestryengland.uk Forestry England is an agency of the Forestry Commission.
Images available here. Please credit Forestry England/Crown copyright