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Absolute Escapes September 13 2021

The ever-changing canvas of a forest makes for a delightful walk year-round, with bright new leaves in spring, lush foliage in summer, orange and red tones through autumn, and crisp air in winter.

At Absolute Escapes we’re big fans of immersing ourselves in nature with a woodland walk. Here are our five picks for beautiful forest walks in the UK.

 

Thetford Forest

Located on the border of Norfolk and Suffolk, Thetford Forest is rich in flora and fauna. The 18,730 hectare forest contains a range of visitor attractions including historical sites and an Arboretum, making it a delightful additional day for those walking the Peddar’s Way which starts in the nearby market town of Thetford.

If you’ve just got a day to discover Thetford Forest, we would recommend following one of the well-marked trails around High Lodge. There are routes for all abilities conveniently located around the visitor centre.

 

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Rothiemurchus Forest

Set in Scotland’s magnificent Cairngorms National Park, Rothiemurchus is beloved by many as a respite from day-to-day life and a place to try out any number of outdoor activities. As well as being a popular destination for walkers, cyclists, watersports enthusiasts and fishers, the forest is also home to a number of more reclusive inhabitants. Lucky bird watchers may be able to catch a glimpse of the osprey, capercaillie, and other highland birds that call the forest their home, and though highly elusive, wildcats can also be seen in the park – if you know where to look!

Rothiemurchus Forest is also the final stop for walkers on the East Highland Way – a fantastic long-distance trail crossing through the heart of Scotland. For those looking for a shorter walk, we’d recommend a walk through the Caledonian pine where the rare Capercaillie and red squirrels can be spotted.

 

Grizedale Forest

While most would associate the Lake District with lakes, there is also much wonder to be found in the lovely Grizedale Forest. Set in the heart of the national park between Coniston Water and Windermere, the forest is home to the only indigenous herd of red deer in England, 10 walking trails, a sculpture trail, an aerial adventure course, and a visitor centre with a cafe and exhibition space.

For those interested in long-distance walking, the Tour of the Lake District passes through the forest, and for day visitors, there are several well-marked trails that can be followed.

 

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Galloway Forest

The remote Galloway Forest Park in south-west Scotland has such little light pollution that it was designated as the UK’s first official Dark Sky Park, and only the fourth in the world. At night it’s the ideal location for avid stargazers to see starry skies, and during the day it’s a fantastic base for a whole range of outdoor activities, including walks to secluded waterfalls, hills, and lochs, as well as a renowned range of mountain biking trails.

Walkers on the Southern Upland Way also pass through the forest during the western section of the walk.

 

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Kielder Forest

Last but certainly not least, the Kielder Forest in Northumberland is the largest forest in England. Together, Kielder Water & Forest Park make up a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife alike, and the forestry plantation is home to the largest population of red squirrels in the UK as well as at least seven active osprey nests.

Much like Galloway, the isolated location of Kielder Forest also results in fantastic dark skies for star-spotters. There are several walking trails and a fantastic lake-round route traversing Kielder Water.

The famous Hadrian’s Wall Path skirts the southern boundary of the forest, making for an ideal day off-trail for walkers looking for some different scenery.

 

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Whether you’re looking for a quick stroll on a cold winter day or looking to spend the weekend exploring somewhere new, why not visit one of Britain’s fantastic forests and get to know their inhabitants and flora.

Absolute Escapes offer award-winning walking holidays in the UK & Ireland, with our packages including carefully-selected accommodation and daily bag transfers. If we can help you plan a memorable walking adventure please then don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Pippa Robson

Best Trails for Forest Walking

East Highland Way

From £620pp

Walking Holidays
Distance 82 miles / 132 km
Duration 6 - 9 Nights
  • Experience fabulous views of Scotland's highest mountains including Ben Nevis and the mighty Cairngorms
  • Discover the abundant wildlife, flora and fauna of the Scottish Highlands
  • Enjoy enchanting forests, peaceful mountain wilderness and lochside trails

Peddars Way & Norfolk Coast Path

From £1010pp

Walking Holidays
Distance 133 miles / 214 km
Duration 10 - 13 Nights
  • Journey through a magical land of sand dunes and salt marshes on the Norfolk Coast
  • Castle Acre - a tranquil rural village which boasts an extraordinary wealth of history
  • Walk in the footsteps of the Romans along the Peddars Way

Rob Roy Way

From £625pp

Walking Holidays
Distance 79 miles / 126 km
Duration 7 - 8 Nights
  • Follow in the footsteps of legendary Scottish folk hero Rob Roy MacGregor
  • Walk through beautiful forests and alongside some of Scotland's finest lochs, rivers and waterfalls
  • Discover the well-worn track used during the dramatic Jacobite uprisings and clan feuds

Southern Upland Way

From £1320pp

Walking Holidays
Distance 212 miles / 341 km
Duration 14 - 16 Nights
  • Journey through a spectacular, remote and undiscovered part of the country
  • Discover the fascinating heritage of Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders
  • Explore the enchanting Galloway Forest and Dark Sky Park

Cateran Trail

From £580pp

Walking Holidays
Distance 64 miles / 103 km
Duration 6 - 7 Nights
  • The breathtaking scenery of Strathardle, Glenshee and Glen Isla
  • Walk in the footsteps of the ‘Caterans’ - marauding cattle thieves who flourished in this lawless part of Highland Scotland from the Middle Ages to the 17th century
  • The lively town of Blairgowrie, the focus of the Perthshire soft fruit growing industry
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