Forestry England’s best woodland walks to inspire you to get outside this winter

Man and child in forest

Forestry England’s best woodland walks to inspire you to get outside this winter

Winter is an excellent time to get out and explore the nation’s forests and you'll feel the benefits of soaking up the mild sunshine during the shorter days too. Whether you're looking for winter walks to enjoy with your family, walks that offer something unique, or the perfect winter walks for wellbeing where you can slow down and truly appreciate the scenery, Forestry England has something for you.

Here is a roundup of some of Forestry England’s best walks to inspire you to get out and explore, even when it’s cold outside. Stretch your legs, breathe in some fresh air, and take in the frosty landscapes on a visit to one of the nation’s forests near you this winter.

Family-friendly walks:

Crosscliff View trail, Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire

A short, easy access trail on flat, even surface that is perfect for families with younger children. From the viewpoint, families can enjoy outstanding panorama of an ice-age sculpted landscape.

Whilst visiting Dalby Forest you will also be able to uncover many magical things to keep children entertained such as The Gruffalo orienteering course, Superworm trail and exciting adventure play equipment.

Habitat trail, Alice Holt Forest, Surrey

Starting at the Timberline playground, this is an easy walk, perfect for pushchairs or balance bikes to ride along. To keep kids entertained, there are lots of sculptures along the route and at just 0.6 miles long, it is perfect for little feet. There is a picnic area by one of the sculptures to enjoy a flask of hot chocolate and make sure you check out Glenbervie Meadow just off the trail. It’s great for kids who just want to run free.

Riverside trail, Hamsterley Forest, County Durham

This short walking trail is pushchair friendly and winds alongside the banks of Bedburn beck. As well as having fun exploring the woodland, children can discover the Gruffalo sculptures, adding excitement about what they’ll discover around the next corner.

Something a bit different:

Tall Trees trail, New Forest, Hampshire

This walk takes you past majestic conifers planted in the 1850s, some of the oldest Douglas fir trees in Britain and includes views of two enormous redwoods. Believed to have been planted in the 1850s or 1860s, today they stand at over 50 metres tall. Towering above the rest of the woodland they are thought to be the tallest trees in the New Forest. The trail covers 1.5 miles and is flat with a smooth gravelled surface.

Sculpture Trail, Beechenhurst, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

This is a beautiful, circular art walk in the Forest of Dean with sculptures inspired by the forest - its trees, wildlife, and industrial past. The full trail is just under 5 miles long, but there are shortcut options along the way.

White Horse trail, Kilburn Forest, North Yorkshire

From the white horse car park, after an initial climb up alongside the horse, you will be rewarded with fantastic views over the Vale of York on a clear winter’s day. The iconic White Horse is visible for many miles and covers half an acre. It has been overlooking the village of Kilburn since the late 1850s.

Disappearing Trees Trail, Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire

Did you know that some trees at Westonbirt Arboretum are as threatened as the most endangered animals on the planet? There are currently 100 of the world’s threatened trees in its collection and they work with others in the botanic garden community to support conservation efforts. See if you can find the endangered trees on their Disappearing Tree Trail around the Old Arboretum this winter.

Perfect for your wellbeing:

Green walk at Great Hockham, Thetford Forest, Norfolk/Suffolk

Wander amongst Scots and Corsican pine plantations that are blended with mature oak trees for a perfect winter walk. This quiet and relaxing place is the perfect place to enjoy nature and notice the sights and sounds of winter wildlife.

The Woodpecker trail, Salcey Forest, Northamptonshire

This medieval woodland near Northampton and Milton Keynes is the perfect place for a wintery wander. The Woodpecker trail at six miles long lets you really stretch your legs and appreciate the scenery. Look out for ancient oaks, deer, and the occasional red kite along the way.

Pinetum Trail, Bedgebury, Kent

Enjoy a walk in the National Pinetum on a waymarked trail amongst extraordinary trees which look beautiful throughout the winter months. This route is suitable for all ages and abilities. Be inspired by stunning vistas of majestic and unusual conifers, ancient oaks and a huge variety of remarkable trees all nestled in the rolling hills of the Kent High Weald.

Notes to Editor

  1. Images are available here. Please credit Forestry England/Crown copyright.
  2. Forestry England manages and cares for the nation’s 1,500 woods and forests, with over 363 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 Forestry England is an agency of the Forestry Commission.

Media Contact:

Rebecca Ulewicz, Media Relations Officer |  |T: 07771 971813|