Sun, sea and sand are not for everyone. If you prefer a more temperate trip, stay at home and head for one of Britain’s wondrous woods. Here the Woodland Trust’s Andy Bond lists his favourite forest trails.


1 Great knott Wood,

For centuries, Great Knott Wood near Newby Bridge has been a working wood, providing oak bark for the tanning trade, charcoal for iron and gunpowder productions, something that continues to this day. The ancient woodland on the south-west shore of Lake Windermere within the Lake District, covers more than 40 hectares of sloping ground.
Plan your run A 5.5-mile run takes in the beautiful village of Finsthwaite and a circuit around High Dam.

2 Kings Wood, Cornwall
Kings Wood is ancient and atmospheric, set on the steep sides of the Pentewan Valley, between St Austell and the sea. In late spring it is carpeted in bluebells, though it is beautiful year-round.
Plan your run The Pentewan Leisure Trail follows the western boundary between the wood edge and the St Austell River, forming part of the Cornish Way and linking the wood
to local towns and villages. There are lots of steep and undulating trails to choose from.




3 Pepper Wood, Worcestershire
A mile from the M5 lies a fragment of medieval England. It’s alive with wildlife at any time of the year, so should come as no surprise that it’s a Site of Special Scientific Interest. In medieval times it was part of the Forest of Feckenham.
Plan your run A 6.5-mile route starts from Pepper Wood Car Park, on Dondale Road. Pepper Wood is a 10-minute walk from the village of Fairfield.

4 Hackfall Wood, North Yorkshire
This ancient woodland has been restored to its former glory. Hidden in among the trees are original features, such as grottoes, glades, rustic temples and waterfalls, as well as carpets of bluebells in spring, and a vast array of birds. It lies at the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, within the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The 120 acres of ancient semi-natural woodland sit within a steep rocky gorge of the River Ure, where a series of pools and weirs tumble into the mighty river.
Plan your run A four-mile run takes you around the site.

5 Joyden’s Wood, London
Set on a hilltop just 19 miles from London, Joyden’s is a hidden secret. An Anglo-Saxon bank runs through the ancient woodland. Some eight metres wide and two metres deep, it was constructed 1500 years ago to keep the Romans out of Kent.
Plan your run The run picks up the London Loop long-distance path. In spring there are dragonflies, damselflies and kingfishers darting along the banks of the River Cray.

Pic courtesy George Turnbull

Pic courtesy George Turnbull

6 Carnmoney Hill, Belfast
Stalked by the ghosts of Vikings, witches and highwaymen, a run on Carnmoney Hill offers balcony views of Belfast. The hill has hidden chambers used to house fleeing Vikings. There are ghosts about too, including the spirit of Mary Butters, who they say poisoned three people. It’s a steep climb but it’s worth it for the views of the city and the coast.
Plan your run Start this 8.5-mile run at the Valley Leisure Centre. Prepare to be awed by the vista from the top!

7 Smithills Estate, Bolton
Steeped in history and shadowed by the Winter Hill TV mast, the Smithills Estate is a rich mosaic of grassland, moorland and bog habitats.
Plan your run The rugged and numerous hills are not for the
faint-hearted. A tough but rewarding run takes you from Smithills Hall uphill to a telephone mast where the reward is great views across the countryside.

8 Glen Finglas, Scotland
Sitting at the heart of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, this is an expanse of ancient woodland, lochs and open heathland. The woods are buzzing with nature. Red deer and otters can be seen, and if you’re lucky, you may just catch sight of a golden eagle.Plan your run Running these hills is a real physical challenge, so be prepared! The loop starts at the Lendrick Hill car park and weaves its way between waterfalls, mountains and woodland.

9 Bovey Valley, Devon
Bovey Valley, in the south east corner of Dartmoor National Park, features an enchanting cluster of three woodlands, Hisley Wood, Houndtor Wood and Pullabrook Wood which contrasts with the starker landscape that inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles. There is some wonderful scenery and some brilliant fell running to be had here too. Each year the Woodland Trust runs the Bovey Beauty fell race (Sunday 23 September this year). This ten mile race is a real challenge across hilly terrain. It starts at Drakeford Bridge, climbing up to Hunters Tor in a circular route back to the start. Have a go at it!