At YHA, we’re proud to be in amongst some of the greatest forests destinations in England and Wales. Which is why we are bringing you eight forest destinations you can visit with YHA.
Let’s start with a well known UK forest destination. Sherwood Forest, well known for its ties with the legend of Robin Hood. A week-long festival takes Sherwood Forest back to medieval times where you’ll find musicians, jesters and characters from the legends. One of the most famous forest destinations in England and Wales.
Sherwood Forest is also home to the famous Major Oak. It’s the largest oak in Britain and is supported by an array of scaffolding since Victorian times.
Where to stay: YHA Sherwood Forest
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 it’s 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.
Where to stay: YHA National Forest
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.
Where to stay: YHA New Forest
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).
When you’re in the hustle and bustle of London, sometimes it can feel like you’re a long way away from nature. Epping Forest solves that issue by offering a corner of serenity not far from the centre of the capital. Covering over 1,700 acres, Epping Forest is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation due to its age and its varied wildlife.
Where to stay: YHA London
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.
Where to stay: YHA Lake District
We’ve listed the most iconic trees, from astonishing oaks to stand-out sycamores- here are the top famous trees in England and Wales.