Find a winter woodland walk near you

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The Woodland Trust has more than 1,000 woods which are free to visit and open every day. Woodland Trust site manager James Jesson said: “If you’d rather not spend the entire festive season overindulging, head out for a woodland adventure. Our woods are real winter wonderlands, so whether it’s a crisp, frosty morning or a damp soggy afternoon, it’s great to pull on your boots and thermals or waterproofs and head out for an invigorating stroll. Winter woods take on a whole new character. Spectacular, frosty landscapes and bare branches expose elusive wildlife and hidden history.” Locate a woodland by entering a postcode at woodlandtrust.org.uk/findawood

Here’s a selection of winter walks:

Archers Wood, Cambridgeshire is an ancient woodland nestling in an agricultural landscape, Archers is a real oasis for nature. Wander among majestic oak and field maple trees and watch carefully for a shy fox or deer in the distance.

Londonthorpe Wood, Lincolnshire is just a stone’s throw from historic Belton House and neighbouring a wild deer sanctuary. There are new all weather paths and there’s a mix of old and new woodland to explore.

Tring Park, Hertfordshire is a ten minute stroll from Tring’s famous Natural History Museum. Climb the hill for amazing views of Hertfordshire and the Chilterns.

Low Burnhall, Durham is an important haven for wildlife on the outskirts of Durham. Look out for signs of otters in the rivers which border the site. Owls, kestrels and sparrowhawks are known to frequent the area. Waymarked trails lead past some interesting features; including a sculpture of a miner in a nod to the wood’s historic coal mine.

Hackfall, Grewelthorpe, North Yorkshire is set in a 350ft gorge along the River Ure on the edge of the village of Grewelthorpe. This fragile ancient woodland habitat has been restored since the Woodland Trust took over. Footpaths and woodland walks take in glades, waterfalls, kingfisher and grey wagtail.

Smithhills Estate, Bolton, Lancashire is the Woodland Trust’s largest site. It’s steeped in history and shadowed by the famous Winter Hill TV mast, with panoramic views across to Bolton and Manchester. In its vast expanses of moorland there are patches of woodland, peat bog and elusive brown hare.

Hainault Forest, London boasts herds of majestic red deer roaming through this ancient hunting forest which once provided venison for the King’s table. Just 15 miles from central London with 158 species of bird recorded, it’s a popular destination for ornithologists.

Home Farm, Hampshire has eight miles of pathway winding through a mosaic of old and new woodland habitats. Red kite and kestrel can often be spotted wheeling overhead.

Hucking Estate, Kent has breathtaking views of the Kent Downs, ancient woodland to explore and swathes of open grassland.

Avon Valley Woods, Devon is set in the rolling hills of South Hams. Small birds tend to flock there in large groups during the winter months. While the riverside walk can be muddy, the extensive path network at the top of the site offers grassy tracks and views across Devon.

Credenhill Park Wood, Herefordshire is a local landmark on an imposing wooded hill topped by one of the largest Iron Age Hill forts in England. It’s thought to have once been an Iron Age tribal capital. The walk to the top has views across to Wales when the trees are bare.

Lineover Wood, Gloucestershire is a patchwork of ancient woodland. Recent planting and limestone grassland creates a diverse haven for wildlife where rare plants and fungi flourish. The wood lies within the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and offers views across Cheltenham and the Malvern Hills.

Carnmoney Hill, Northern Ireland offers views of Belfast and the coast. Steeped in history and folklore with a mix of ancient woodland, grassland and wetland, it’s home to a wealth of wildlife and has a range of walks to suit all abilities.

Val Fraser

Val Fraser is a trained journalist with over 12 years’ experience working on staff in various demanding media environments. She has authored/edited thousands of articles including news, travel and features. Val has authored/contributed to nine non-fiction books. A regular columnist, she stepped up to the role of Digital Editor in September 2022 and is responsible for the Sorted Magazine website.
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