Discover the freedom of the forest
Did you know that most people in England live within an hour’s drive of one of the 1500 forests managed by Forestry England? If you didn’t now is the time to discover your local forest!
Forests are incredible spaces and Forestry England are passionate about looking after them. As well as producing timber and providing homes for a range of wildlife they are also places that have so much to offer for our leisure time. They are good for your mental, physical and social wellbeing too. Whether you are looking for activities to improve your fitness, a meeting space to make memories with your grandchildren or a place to escape, research shows that spending just 2 hours a week in nature significantly improves your health and satisfaction.
There are over 1800 miles of trails to explore by foot or bike and to suit all abilities. Some of the bigger forests have a great range of facilities such as visitor centres, cafes, toilets, trampers for hire and picnic benches. However, if it’s solitude you’re after, or perhaps something off the beaten track, it’s not difficult to find with 250,000 hectares cared for by Forestry England. Their website has a search facility so you can find out what is near you and what’s on offer. Their forests are open every day so if you prefer peace and quiet mid-week visits are a great idea.
With such a diverse landscape (including moorland and heathland), Forestry England’s sites are havens for wildlife including an array of birds and butterflies. Many of England’s species are in decline and some are at immediate risk of extinction but Forestry England is committed to supporting wildlife in it’s woodlands and encouraging it to flourish. This includes reintroducing lost species and many exciting projects have taken place in recent years. For example in 2019, working with Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation they reintroduced white-tailed eagles on the Isle of Wight as part of a five year project – it is the first time the birds have graced the skies of southern England for 240 years.
As well as providing recreational opportunities for people and encouraging wildlife to thrive for future generations, Forestry England are also ensuring enough timber is produced sustainably for all the vital products we use daily. All their forests are managed sustainably and to keep up with the demand of selling 1.4 million tonnes of wood annually, they grow no fewer than 18 million saplings in their nurseries to be planted each year.
If you haven’t already discovered the joy of spending time in forests now is really a great time. As we come out of a year of restrictions our natural spaces are more important than ever, providing space and fresh air. To get inspired visit forestryengland.uk to find out what is on offer near you.
Sign up for Forestry England’s newsletter to be the first to receive news about seasonal events, days out, wildlife stories and activities for all ages.
What can you expect?
- Ideas for places and events to explore near you
- Updates from your favourite woodlands
- Family friendly activities and free downloads
- Competitions and offers
- Inspiring stories and photos
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