Feel-good forest walks

Forestry England shares 10 locations to experience the benefits of forest bathing this World Wellbeing Week

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

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Published: 29 June 2022

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

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This World Wellbeing Week (27 June – 01 July), Forestry England is encouraging people to try some forest bathing.

Ease your stress and worries and let the trees provide a glorious woodland canopy shelter as you breathe in the scent of summer flowers in full bloom. Watch the butterflies flutter by and maybe spot a fledgling taking wing for the very first time.
 
Known in Japan as shinrin-yoku, forest bathing is simply being in nature, connecting with the forest through our senses of sight, hearing, taste and touch.

Top 10 forest walks

Below is Forestry England’s top 10 mindful walks, guaranteed to refresh your body, mind and spirit.
 
1. ALICE HOLT, SURREY – FAMILY TRAIL (3 miles)

Offering the chance to explore further into the forest with your senses, the wide forest track is an open space where you are able to walk comfortably.

The trail passes through an interesting variety of woodland habitats, from conifer plantation to mature broadleaf interspersed with woodland clearings. Enjoy a stop and take in your surroundings in one of the meadows along the route!
 
2. BLACKWATER, NEW FOREST, SOUTHAMPTON – WALK THE TALL TREES TRAIL (1.5 miles)

Walking the circular ‘Tall Trees Trail’ will take you through an impressive section of the drive among towering Douglas fir and mighty redwoods, giving you plenty of opportunities to slow down and look up!

The path is a flat and has a fairly smooth, gravelled surface with frequent resting places to enjoy the forest atmosphere.
 
3. CANNOCK CHASE FOREST, STAFFORDSHIRE – THE FAIROAK TRAIL (2.5 miles)

An easy circular trail, the walk meanders through the forest and opens out into the Fairoak Valley. Here you’ll find the magnificent Fairoak Pools, a rich and important habitat that many wildlife species call home. Stop here and try and spot swans, ducks and deer while clearing your mind.
 
4. DALBY FOREST, YORKSHIRE – THE ADDERSON RIGG TRAIL (1.5 miles)

Head into Dalby forest and let your senses explore the naturally sculpted Adderstone on this gentle walk.

The trail follows forest paths and roads through a variety of woodland, allowing you the opportunity to ease your stress. You will be met and awakened with stunning views over the forest.
 

5. HIGH LODGE , THETFORD FOREST, SUFFOLK (3 miles)

This trail is perfect for those wanting to get away from it all and enjoy the peace and quiet of the forest.

Far away from the visitor centre this trail takes you into the heart of the forest, allowing you to soak in the atmosphere with all your senses.
 
6. JESKYNS COMMUNITY WOODLAND, KENT – THE BROOMFIELD LOOP (1.5 miles)

A gentle, undulating walk on surfaced paths that leads you through new woodlands, grazed meadows, orchards and ponds. A walk guaranteed to restore your mood and boost your energy.
 
7. MOORS VALLEY COUNTRY PARK, BOURNEMOUTH – THE LOOKOUT (1.5 miles)

This lovely meandering route takes you away from the visitor centre into the peace and quiet of the forest.

The trail takes you to an amazing spot – the Lookout – where you can let your stresses drift away. Once here you’ll be rewarded with stunning views across the valley.
 
8. WAREHAM FOREST, DORSETY – THE WOODLARK TRAIL (2 miles)

Wareham forest is a delight to discover on foot. The trail is generally flat with a couple of slight inclines – ideal for bathing in the glory of the forest.

As you walk slowly along the path, keep your senses open for the trail’s namesake – the rare woodlark who nests here between March and August.
 
9. WYRE FOREST, WORCESTERSHIRE – THE BUZZARD TRAIL (3.25 miles)

The Buzzard trail explores the depths of the forest through beautiful mixed woodlands allowing your mind, body and soul to relax and unwind.

The trail takes you along forest tracks and narrow paths, past majestic old oaks as well as the Wyre Arboretum, providing lots of opportunities to slow down and rejuvenate.
 
10. HALDON FOREST, DEVON – THE BUTTERFLY TRAIL (4 miles)

The butterfly trail leads you on a circular trail to the peaceful depths of the forest. Discover rare butterflies while bathing in the forest atmosphere. Meander slowly along the trail and take in the stunning views across the forest and over the Teign valley.

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