Forestry England’s top 10 picnic spots
It has been proven that spending time in the forest is good for our wellbeing, and what could be more joyous than spending time with your friends and family, sharing a picnic nestled amongst the nation’s forests magnificent trees?
To help you plan the perfect picnic this summer, here are Forestry England’s top 10 spots:
1. Jeskyns Community Woodlands - Kent
Come and picnic under branches laden with fruit in our special Community Orchard – home to 756 different varieties of apple! Pick an apple straight from the tree to accompany your feast and enjoy the song of skylarks overhead on this unique site. The Orchard Picnic Area can be found on the right just 200m down the hill from the café.
2. Haughmond Hill – Shropshire
Haughmond Hill has a wealth of history from the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403 when King Henry IV’s armies amassed on the hill having marched from Worcester.
Take the Wilfred trail where you will see the remains of Nancy Sprag’s cottage garden, Nancy would provide tea for walkers who would catch the ferry from the river, though the cottage is long gone the lilac and plum trees remain. Continue along the trail where you will be rewarded with spectacular views, the perfect place to stop for a picnic. A toposcope will help you identify the hills of Shrewsbury and beyond.
3. New Forest - Hampshire
From the Knightwood car park it is a short walk to one of the most incredible trees in the New Forest. Believed to have been planted before 1600 this tree is still going strong and is a spectacular example of the ancient practice of pollarding. Stop a while for a picnic under the tree or on one of the many benches where you can marvel at this amazing oak and consider what it has witnessed over the last 400 years!
4. Wooler Common and Woodland Park - Northumberland
Wooler and the surrounding lands endured frequent raids by marauding Scots between the fourteenth and sixteenth century and later by the border raiders or 'Reivers'.
Wooler Common's recent past is less bloodthirsty and has a network of public paths. An easy access trail encircles two picturesque ponds providing the perfect picnic spot in this wild and beautiful area.
5. Sherwood Pines - Nottinghamshire
Sherwood Pines in Nottinghamshire offers plenty of secluded clearings nestled amongst a mixture of conifers and deciduous trees, there’s a good chance of finding your very own spot of woodland bliss for that perfect picnic.
Look out for squirrels, rabbits and even the odd deer. There’s also a barbecue area for visitors looking to rustle up something more substantial. If you’re looking to work up an appetite before your al-fresco feast there’s 16 miles of cycle and walking trails plus a fantastic children’s play area whilst adrenaline seekers can have a tree-top adventure at Go Ape Nets Kingdom.
6. Great Wood - Somerset
A stunning site in the Quantocks, the wide meadow in Great Wood is a perfect spot to enjoy a family picnic or BBQ. Spend some time exploring the nooks and crannies of Great Wood and admire some majestic Douglas fir along the two mile red walk, which is ideal for families.
7. Cardinham Woods - Cornwall
Nestling in a beautiful valley with a bubbling stream, Cardinham Woods is one of Cornwall’s hidden gems. This beautiful mixed woodland offers a scenic meadow for family-friendly picnics.
8. Wenchford, Forest of Dean - Gloucestershire
Cool off with a family picnic at Wenchford, Blackpool Brook trickles through the site under the dappled shade of the large oak trees. With picnic tables and grassy areas it is the perfect place for picnicking and BBQs. Make a family day of it and bring a towel, the stream is perfect for paddling.
9. St Helens, Thetford Forest – Norfolk
St Helen's picnic site, next to the river, is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the abundance of wildlife. The Little Ouse Valley between Brandon and Thetford has been designated a Forest Nature Reserve by Forestry England in recognition of its importance to wildlife. Along the valley, wetland areas of alder carr and fen, poplars, damp grazing meadows and reedbeds support a rich variety of plants, insects and birds.
10. Blakehopeburnhaugh, Kielder Water & Forest Park – Northumberland
Blakehopeburnhaugh, the longest place name in England, is home to a peaceful picnic spot at the eastern end of the Kielder Forest Drive. The picnic spot is also the start of a short walk that will take you to a magical waterfall called Hindhope Linn.
Over half the population lives within 6 miles of a Forestry England woodland or forest and as part of their centenary in 2019, Forestry England is encouraging people to explore the nation’s forests. With the promise of a tasty picnic and a variety of recreational activities to enjoy you’ll have no problem getting the whole family out this summer!
Notes to editor
1. Forestry England manages and cares for the nation’s 1,500 woods and forests, welcoming 230 million visits per year. As England’s largest land manager, we shape landscapes and are enhancing forests for people to enjoy, wildlife to flourish and businesses to grow. For more information visit forestryengland.uk. Forestry England is an agency of the Forestry Commission.
2. Forestry Commission 100 Years of Forestry: 1919 – 2019
Founded in 1919 to replenish the nation’s strategic timber reserves in the wake of WWI, the Forestry Commission is England’s largest public landowner. It leads world-class research and actively manages over 1500 public forests and woodlands to benefit people, nature and the economy. It acts as the Government’s expert forestry advisors, helping to protect, improve and expand England’s forests.
Throughout 2019 the Forestry Commission will celebrate 100 years of forestry with a programme of events taking place throughout England. It is marking this milestone by celebrating the vital contribution forests make to enhancing our wellbeing, economy and environment. It will also look ahead to the next hundred years, at how forests will continue to play a critical role in underpinning the resilience of our environment, landscapes and economy into the future.
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