Belfast Telegraph

Britain’s top urban woods to explore this Boxing Day

A charity wants families to start a new tradition with ‘mini explorations’ of woods near towns and cities.

Big Wood, near Runcorn, Cheshire (Jill Jennings/The Woodland Trust/PA)
Big Wood, near Runcorn, Cheshire (Jill Jennings/The Woodland Trust/PA)

A charity is encouraging families to start a new Christmas tradition by exploring the UK’s “urban woods” this Boxing Day.

The Woodland Trust, along with Arctic explorer and adventurer Dwayne Fields, want people to have a “woodland adventure” and “experience something new”.

Mr Fields said: “I love woods in the winter. It’s the perfect time to take in great lungfuls of fresh cold air, and set out over crisp frozen ground.

“So be brave this Boxing Day; venture out, experience something new and take time to appreciate the woods near you. There’s a lot of woods near town and city centres – you just need to look for them.”

Dwayne Fields, arctic explorer and adventurer. (The Woodland Trust)

The Woodland Trust owns more than 1,200 woodlands which are free to access and located all over the UK.

But they are not as remote as you might expect and the charity has named its top five “urban woods” near towns and city centres.

Mr Fields said: “With over 1,000 woods that are free to visit across the UK, Woodland Trust sites are a great place to start your own mini explorations.”

Big Wood, near Runcorn, North England. (Jill Jennings/The Woodland Trust)

The trust’s number one choice, Big Wood, is located in the North West, near Runcorn in Cheshire, and was previously a landscaped garden.

The wood is pushchair- and wheelchair-accessible thanks to its surfaced path, and is great for wildlife spotters due to nearby streams.

Just a few miles from the centre of Plymouth, Devon, adventurers will find Hardwick Wood, which is home to ancient trees and all kinds of wildlife, including foxes and buzzards.

The woodland provides a welcome leafy break from the coastal city’s concrete centre.

Hardwick Wood in the centre of Plymouth, Devon. (Ceri Jones/The Woodland Trust).

Third on the list is Joyden’s Wood, which is only 13 miles south-east of central London, near Bexleyheath and Dartford.

The wood provides greenery all year round with large conifer trees and is great for budding archaeologists who can hunt for remains of Iron Age roundhouses.

Joyden’s Wood near Bexley, south-east London. (Joey Emery/The Woodland Trust).

Prehen Wood, located just a stone’s throw from Londonderry, Northern Ireland, is carpeted with bluebells in the spring, but its numbered eco-trail makes it a great place for young ones to explore all year round.

Finally, Lang Craigs, near Dumbarton, Scotland, is just two miles from the city, but, according to the Trust, it feels like “true wilderness”.

A mixture of “sheltered glens, jagged outcrops and rugged moorland” makes the site ideal for wildlife spotters, keen hikers and casual ramblers alike.

Lang Craigs, near Dumbarton, Scotland. (Niall Benvie/The Woodland Trust).



From Belfast Telegraph