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Our Top Ten of everything

From peaceful walks through beautiful bluebells to the electrifying buzz of mountain biking, the Forestry Commission can provide everyone with something they love. To help make it easier for you, we're putting together ‘Top tens’ to show you the best Forestry Commission sites to do the things you love.

Top Ten Beautiful Bluebell Woods

A woodland carpeted with bluebells is one of the most iconic sights of spring - the best times to see them are at the end of April to the beginning of May. We’ve listed our top ten beautiful bluebell filled locations here – some of which have been closely guarded secrets for years.

  1. West Woods in Lockeridge, Marlborough  
  2. Silk Wood, Old Arboretum, Westonbirt Arboretum
  3. Wombwell Woods, Barnsley
  4. Grizedale Forest, North East England
  5. Idless Woods, Cornwall
  6. Bedgebury Arboretum, Kent
  7. Oversley Wood, near Alcester in Warwickshire
  8. Shrawley Wood, near Stourport on Severn in Worcestershire
  9. Hagg Wood, Dunnington, near York
  10. Pondhead Inclosure, near Lyndhurst, New Forest

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Top Ten Family Cycling trails

Taking your family for a bike ride in a Forestry Commission woodland couldn’t be easier. Many of our sites have bike hire and bike washing facilities so not only can you rent two wheels, you can clean them too! And with over 1000km of cycle trails to choose from, there’ll always be a new trail to ride - whatever your ability. Have a look at our top ten:

  1. Kielder Water and Forest Park in Northumberland
  2. Hamsterley Forest in Durham
  3. Dalby Forest in Yorkshire
  4. Cannock Chase in Stafford
  5. Hicks Lodge Cycle Centre, National Forest
  6. Delamere in the Midlands
  7. Alice Holt in Surrey
  8. Bedgebury Forest, South East England
  9. Thetford Forest in the East of England
  10. Haldon Forest near Exeter

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Top Ten Easy Access Trails

Here we’ve listed ten of the best Easy Access forest trails for you to visit across England. Come rain or shine, you’ll always be able to make your way around the forest via foot, pram or wheelchair. So now there’s no excuse not to experience the wonder of the woods!

  1. The Discovery Trail at Haldon Forest Park near Exeter
  2. The Challenge Trail at Discover Wistlandpound near Barnstaple
  3. Easy Access paths around the whole of Westonbirt Arboretum
  4. Blackwater Sensory Trail, New Forest
  5. Easy Access Discovery Trail at Alice Holt near Farnham
  6. The Pinetum Trail and Play Trail at Bedgebury Pinetum near Etchingham
  7. Easy Access Trail, St Helens at Thetford Forest in East Anglia
  8. Route to Health trail at Cannock Chase in Staffordshire
  9. White Trail at Sherwood Pines Forest in the East Midlands
  10. Revelin Moss Trail at Whinlatter Forest in the North West

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Top Ten Natural Play areas

Instead of keeping your kids cooped up inside, let them run wild in the great outdoors! Climbing trees, hunting for bugs and making dens are much more fun than playing computer games indoors – and better for their health, too. Take a look at our top ten locations for natural play:

  1. Discover Wistlandpound, Devon
  2. Haldon Forest, Devon
  3. Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire
  4. Whinlatter, Cumbria
  5. Moors Valley Country Park, Dorset
  6. Bedgebury Pinetum, Kent
  7. Sherwood Pines, Nottinghamshire
  8. Hamsterley Forest, Durham
  9. Thetford Forest, Suffolk
  10. Cannock Chase, Staffordshire

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Top Ten Picnic Spots

What could be better than enjoying a picnic in the lush, green environment of the forest? With so much wildlife to spot and so many woodland walks to enjoy, the forest makes for an exciting location to enjoy lunch. Here’s ten of the best.

  1. Fineshade woods, Northants
  2. Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire
  3. Mallards Pike, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
  4. Wendover Woods, Buckinghamshire
  5. New Forest, Dorset  
  6. Adderstone Field, Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire
  7. Delamere Forest, Cheshire
  8. Hamsterley Forest, Durham
  9. Thetford Forest, Suffolk
  10. Alice Holt Forest, Farnham, Surrey

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Top Ten Romantic Walks with the Forestry Commission

Here is a selection of ten of the most romantic spots in Forestry Commission woods and forests. From Iron Age forts at the top of Symonds Yat, to historical castle grounds at Kielder, there is something for every romantic to enjoy. You bring the romance, we’ll provide the location.

  1. Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, Gloucestershire
  2. Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
  3. New Forest, Hampshire
  4. Thetford Forest, Norfolk
  5. Kielder Forest Park, Northumberland
  6. Haldon Forest Park, Exeter
  7. Alice Holt, Surrey
  8. Sherwood Pines Forest, Nottinghamshire
  9. Dalby Forest, Yorkshire
  10. The National Pinetum at Bedgebury, Kent

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Last updated: 30th August 2016

What's of interest

Upcoming Top Tens:
Top Ten mountain biking trails
Top Ten autumn colours
Top Ten sites to see wildlife
Top Ten festive forests (Christmas)
Top Ten scenic views

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.