If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise. The forests of the UK have a sense of history in almost every branch of every towering tree. Underneath all their flora and fauna are deeply rooted stories and myths. In our mind’s eye, they’re woodlands where outlaws have hidden from sheriffs with their bands of merry men by their sides.
Stepping forth into a UK forest never feels like a bore. Ancient trees hundreds and, very often, thousands of years old are now playgrounds for children (and adults alike) to climb and explore. Where once there were battles, now there are bird watchers. Yes, the forests of the United Kingdom are perfect for adventure.
Get inspired, and get informed, by our guide to the UK’s most tree-mendous places.
Hackfall, North Yorkshire
View this post on Instagram
The striking Hackfall Wood can be found near the village of Grewelthorpe in close proximity to the Yorkshire Dales and Moors. The landscape of this natural wood can be attributed to the work of John Aislabie, who bought the wood for £906 in 1731. John had a good pedigree after performing landscaping work at Fountains Abbey.
The popularity of the woodland gardens were at their highest in the Victorian times. English Romantic poet William Wordsworth even recommended the area in one of his guides for tourists. In modern-day times Hackfall Wood is still as popular. In 2007, a major restoration project got underway to restore the area. This included preserving buildings, water features and improving footpaths for the visitors.
Sherwood Forest, Nottingham
This enchanting forest is thought to have been the hiding spot for Robin Hood and his Merry Men as they tried to evade the consequences of robbing the rich and giving back to the poor.
In 1216, legend recalls that Robin Hood and his outlaws hid in the hollow inside the Major Oak; a gargantuan tree at the heart of Sherwood Forest. The tree itself is believed to be over 1000 years old. Today, its massive limbs are supported by a scaffolding system.
Oak trees aren’t the only sky blockers in this neck of the woods, chestnut trees and birch trees stand tall next to a great number of pine and beech. A visit to Sherwood Forest is a golden opportunity to get the binoculars out, and search for tawny owls and goldcrests.
Plas Power Woods, Wrexham
View this post on Instagram
Seekers of diverse flora and fauna will feel right at home in Plas Power Woods. The historic trails serve up loads of nice sights throughout your wanderings here. The wildlife in Plas Power Woods is also very active, and visitors will have a very good chance of spotting kingfishers darting to the river in search of their next meal.
A vast majority of the woodland is ancient, with over 60 species of plant and 50 types of fungi recorded. The notorious King Offa, considered to be one of the most powerful Anglo-Saxons rulers, had a strong connection with the woods. A dyke was built there in his name in 785 AD. In more recent times, a sculpture of King Offa was created by chainsaw artist Simon O’Rourke in 2012.