One thing that’s amazing about our YHA hostels is that they sit amongst some of the greatest forests across England and Wales, which is why we are bringing you our favourite destinations.
Let’s start with a well-known forest destination. Sherwood Forest, which is famed for the legend of Robin Hood. Sherwood Forest is home to the famous Major Oak. The largest oak in Britain and is supported by an array of scaffolding since Victorian times.
A week-long festival takes Sherwood Forest back to medieval times where you’ll find musicians, jesters and characters from the legends.
Forest of Dean
Another Royal Forest on our ‘forest destinations’ list and one with quite the history lesson. This ancient forest is home to over 26,000 acres of trees and has been inhabited for around 15,000 years. For us, the most interesting time in its long history was the medieval period, where St Briavels Castle would become the forests administrative centre and court.
It’s known for its history to be a source of wood for Tudor ships, becoming a large part of the coal industry a ground for riots. St Briavels would eventually become YHA St Briavels where you can stay and even dine like a king of the times.
This isn’t just a forest destination, it’s one of the largest environmental projects in the UK. From the mid 90’s, the National Forest Company have planted over 8.5 million new trees to create new landscapes in areas that had suffered from the closure of coal and clay industries. The scenery is pretty magical.
Sitting on the edge of the North York Moors National Park, Dalby Forest forms part of the North Riding Forest Park. This small forest is home to a variety of wildlife like badgers and deer. It’s also one of England’s largest mountain biking trail centres with routes ranging from beginner to world cup levels.
Proclaimed as a Royal Forest by William the Conqueror, The New Forest is now one of the largest areas of pasture and heathland in Southern England. The New Forest is home to a large variety of species because of its large areas of lowland habitat. Some of these include heathland birds, cattle, pigs, deer and even some snakes and lizards.
Coed y Brenin
Welsh for King’s Forest, Coed y Brenin sits in the heart of Snowdonia National park and is another popular destination for downhill mountain biking. Hiding among the 9000 acres of woodland, you’ll find almost 100 miles of man-made trails to explore ranging from novice (Green) to Severe (Black).
Lake District Forests
It seems that you can’t visit the Lake District without tripping over a tree! There are four main forests in the Lake District, which means if you go by name, there are technically more forests than lakes here.