One of the nicest things to do in the spring is to take in the wonderful sights of the season – and heading to a beautiful forest setting and enjoying a delicious picnic provides you with a great way of doing just this.
There will be plenty of stunning views and sounds to take in as you work up an appetite and walk through the woodland, ranging from wildflowers and green leaves on trees to the song of cuckoos and spotting house-martins. The scenery you can immerse yourself in can also have great benefits on your wellbeing.
Ellen Devine, Wellbeing Manager at Forestry England, said: “The dark and cold of winter can make it much more challenging to be outside regularly and a spring walk – preferably with a delicious picnic halfway – can be so beneficial for our wellbeing and help us get back into the habit of getting outside. Tuning in to the sights and sounds of the forest, from the gentle breeze rustling the new leaves in the tree canopy, to birdsong, and the blanket of blue or white as we gaze at a carpet of bluebells or wild garlic flowers on the woodland floor, can really benefit our mood. There’s so much evidence now of the health and wellbeing benefits of spending time in woodlands, and they are especially restorative as well as beautiful environments.”
If you’re wondering where you can head to, Forestry England have rounded up eight forests to visit, each of which provide you with the chance to immerse yourself in nature, while enjoying a delicious feast.
Don’t forget, if you’re still looking for some inspiration for where to stay when you’re on tour this year, our guide to the UK’s best motorhome sites is sure to help.
Lodge Pond Trail, Alice Holt Forest, Hampshire
If you want to immerse yourself in a peaceful setting, away from the stresses of modern life, a peaceful picnic at Lodge Pond in Hampshire could be for you. The Lodge Pond Trail passes through picturesque mixed broadleaf woodland and open mature pine forest. Picnic tables are also set up at a place that was supposedly created as a fishery by Medieval monks – they would have bred carp here.
Victory Glade, Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, Gloucestershire
The stunning Victory Glade is found in a quiet clearing, situated between Main Drive and Loop Walk. The area has been named after the prominent felled Douglas fir that can be found in the middle of the glade. Counting the rings on the fir reveals it was planted in 1856, which was the year that the Crimean War ended. When you’re in the area, you may also get to see a roe deer wander past.
Mortimer Forest, Herefordshire / Shropshire
Mortimer Forest is ideal for anyone who wants to spot the goshawk hunting in all its glory, as well as smaller birds including the pied flycatcher and warbler. The forest also has open spaces in it, with these warmer spots home to butterflies and reptiles who love to relax in the sun. If you’re lucky, you may get to see a long-haired fallow deer, with Mortimer Forest the only place they can be spotted in the world. The three car parks found in the forest each provide a great picnic location too.
The Elephant Trail, Salcey Forest, Northamptonshire
Sitting between Northampton and Milton Keynes, Salcey Forest is a great spot to head to for an outdoor picnic. The Elephant Trail’s distinctive name comes from the circus animals that played their part in the war effort by moving timber during World War Two.
The Blue Walk, Lynford Arboretum, Norfolk
Found near Thetford, Lynford Arboretum hosts more than 200 species of tree, as well as a range of birds and spring flowers. Another location that is ideal for peace and quiet, you can embark on the Blue Walk, that will take you through Sequoia Avenue, a double-rowed avenue of Sequoias that were planted in honour of the Duke of Wellington during the 19th century.
Staindale Lake, Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire
Staindale Lake is a picture perfect picnic spot. You can embark on the Lakeside Walk, an accessible route that lets you take in some of the beautiful sights and sounds of the season. Birdwatchers will love the chance to see migrating birds returning too.
National Pinetum, Bedgebury, Kent
Lovers of nature are sure to enjoy the sights on offer at Bedgebury National Pinetum. Whether you opt to relax in the shade beneath a giant redwood or walk to Redwood glade and spot magnolias and cherry blossom , there will be plenty of beautiful sights to take in. The accessible trail also takes you by Marshal’s Lake.
Whinlatter Forest, Cumbria
The only mountain forest to be found in England, Whinlatter has winding paths to explore as you weave your way through the trees. Red squirrels are among the inhabitants of the area, while a beautiful view is on offer if you head to Bob’s seat, where you can see across to Grizedale Pike and Keswick.
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