1. Macclesfield Forest, Cheshire
Remnants of a Norman hunting chase dapple the ragged edge of the Peak District, high above Macclesfield. When frost arrives, it illuminates a captivating woodland landscape with quiet tracks leading out to reservoirs and moorland.
2. Coed y Brenin Forest Park, Gwynedd
Winter, waterfalls and woodland – a heady brew at the heart of Coed y Brenin, in the quieter southern realms of Snowdonia. Cold snaps can freeze the flow of the superb Rhaeadr Mawddach and Pistyll Cain falls deep in these mixed woodlands – walk out from the village of Ganllwyd on forestry roads to see the spectacle.
3. Highmeadow woods, Gloucestershire
Countless walks thread through the sublime Forest of Dean, including accessible routes at wildfowl-rich Soudley Ponds. On crisp, clear winter days follow tracks to the great bowl of Reddings Inclosure, where deer and boar forage widely.
4. Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, Stirlingshire
Umpteen acres of woodland make up the QE’s beautiful landscape of lochs and glens in the heart of the Trossachs. Stray a few miles further to Trossachs Pier on Loch Katrine for a hilly forest ramble along the Primrose Hill Path.
5. Woody Bay, Devon
There are surprisingly few places where woodland abuts the coast; this strip of North Devon bucks the trend, with access land and secluded lanes crossing the lovely old woods that fringe cliffs and headlands.
6. Staverton Thicks, Suffolk
A modest pocket of woodland in the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB; this fragment of ancient forest harbours some of Europe’s oldest trees. Dozens of contorted, centuries-old gentlemen of the woods contrast in winter with the rich green hollins (holly copses).
7. Stanley Ghyll Wood, Cumbria
Eskdale is the connoisseurs’ Lakeland – unhurried, uncrowded and unbelievably beautiful beneath a winter sky. The dale’s woodlands enhance this dramatic landscape; Stanley Ghyll Wood, near Dalegarth, is strung with paths, precipices, torrents and waterfalls with some dizzying vistas of the rushing becks.
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