Winter: a time when people crank up their thermostats, load up their log baskets and stock-up on the de-icer. Nights are long, days are short, and summertime seems like a lifetime away. And when the weekend arrives, it’s all too tempting to spend our days indoors, sulking by an open fire and waiting for spring to arrive.
But, instead of wishing winter away, why not embrace it? Yes, it can be a pain having to spend ten minutes every morning scraping ice off your car, but there are plenty of good bits about winter, too. And to really make the most of it, you need to stop being such a wintertime hermit and get yourself outdoors.
When it comes to outdoor activities, how about a wintry forest walk? This season transforms our forests into beautiful winter wonderlands – think snow-capped trees, icy lakes and glistening forest floors. So, dig out your wellies, wrap up warm and pack your bags with a large flask of tea. It’s time to embrace winter.
Here are a few of our favourite wintertime forests:
Grizedale Forest, the Lake District
Set right in the heart of the magnificent Lake District, Grizedale Forest is the perfect spot for walkers, mountain bikers and adventurers (you can find one of our courses here). This forest gets our vote for its truly breath-taking views, with the lakes and mountains looking extra-spectacular in the wintertime.
The forest trails are suitable for all ages and abilities, whether you want to walk the ancient tracks or prefer the more modern pathways. The forest is also home to many different sculptures; some are in clear sight, while others are hidden behind the trees.
Haldon Forest Park, Devon
Haldon Forest Park boasts 3,500 acres of woodland and is just a stone’s throw from the historic town of Exeter. The area has cycle and walking trails for all abilities and on a clear and crisp winter’s day, you can see all the way to Dartmoor.
The Mamhead Sensory Trail is ideal for a wintertime walk with the kids. The trail is flat and well-surfaced, and has ‘sensory markers’ along the way to help walkers appreciate their beautiful surroundings. The route takes you through a beech-lined avenue, to a high viewpoint near the Obelisk where you can see all of Exeter. If you’ve still got energy left after your walk, how about rounding things off with an afternoon in the trees at Haldon’s Go Ape course?
Ashdown Forest, East Sussex
Ashdown Forest has gained status as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is the inspiration behind the famous Winnie the Pooh books, making it the perfect place to take the kids. In fact, the forest has a few ‘Pooh’ trails, taking you to many of the famous scenes written about in the books.
Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest, Kent
Bedgebury National Pinetum makes the perfect winter’s day out for several reasons. First, the National Pinetum is home to one of the world’s greatest collections of conifers, which look especially beautiful when covered in frost. Second, the infamous Gruffalo is hiding somewhere in Bedgebury, and up until February kids have the chance to try and find him on the Gruffalo’s Child Trail. And finally…well…Bedgebury is where you will find us!
Forest of Dean
Last but certainly not least, the Forest of Dean is one of our favourite locations for a spot of wintertime walking or cycling. We love it because there’s so much to explore and discover: from Iron Age forts to tranquil lakes and views over the River Wye, you name it; the Forest of Dean’s got it.
Or if you like the idea of a luxurious break in a Forest Holidays cabin, come tell us why you love adventure and be in with a chance to win!