The Woodland Trust have tracked down the UK's best forests to
see this autumn's fantastic range of colours
Greater London: Blackbush and Twenty Acre Shaw
Cudham, Borough of Bromley
These two magnificent adjacent woods lie in the Downe Valley near
the village of Cudham, in the London Borough of Bromley. The area is
famous as the home of the naturalist Charles Darwin, who lived at
nearby Downe House and is of such significance it is a proposed
World Heritage Site.
Blackbush Shaw has a mixture of ancient woodland, old coppiced
trees, younger trees and grassland while Twenty Acre Shaw is mainly
ancient woodland with notable old pollarded trees on the boundary.
Many of the plant species found in the woods were studied by Darwin,
of these Gentiana amarelle (autumn gentian) is rare in these parts.
The woods and surrounding area have much to offer the visitor and
are well served by paths.
South-east England: Brede High Woods
Cripps Corner, East Sussex
At 648 acres Brede is currently the second biggest Woodland Trust
site in England and lies within the High Weald AONB in East Sussex,
approximately six miles north of Hastings. The site comprises ten
separate ancient woods, some of which retain their original
broadleaved character with extensive areas of hornbeam and sweet
The woods undulate and change in the form of banks, ditches and
sunken tracks. Other past uses of the woods can be seen in the
extensive earthworks from the excavation of iron ore that
underpinned the historic Wealden iron industry. Varied autumn
colours and the chance to see some of the country’s most important
species including great crested newt, brook lamprey, dormouse,
badgers and fallow deer, make Brede High a wonderful place to enjoy
Beacon Hill Wood
Shepton Mallet, Somerset
Visitors to Beacon Hill can expect steep climbs and stunning autumn
scenery, a very popular place to visit for both locals and tourists.
A copse of large old beech trees, visible for miles, form a
distinctive crown on the ridge. The wood includes features dating
back to Neolithic, Bronze age and Roman periods. Bronze Age barrows
(burial mounds), old quarry pits and various standing stones are
just some of the features to look for, with the great Roman road the
Fosse Way crossing through the wood.
More recently the Auxiliary Unit, one of the most secret services of
the Second World War, had a base here, operating out of an
underground bunker. Today’s visitors can explore its springs,
gullies, ridges, ponds, rides and glades, soaking up the wonderful
colour of autumn.
Credenhill Park Wood is a local landmark with historical and
environmental importance and is designated a Scheduled Ancient
Monument and Special Wildlife Site. The site includes 13 hectares of
ancient semi natural wood. Walk along the tranquil paths among the
trees and spot rare small leaved limes, early purple orchids, and
fragrant wild garlic.
The Iron Age hill fort that is an integral part of the site is one
of the largest hill forts in England and it is thought to have been
an Iron Age tribal capital. The walk to the top is well worth it,
exploring the nature found within the woods along the way. At the
top you will see views across to Wales. Soak up the autumnal
landscape and let your imagination take you back to a time gone by.
Pulham Market, Norfolk
Quiet and off the beaten track, Tyrrels Wood is a welcome spot for
visitors and wildlife alike. At the centre is an ancient woodland
site, named Boscus de Grischave in records dating back to 1251, and
believed to have been around since the Ice Age. It has been
designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) because of
the immense variety of woodland packed into such a small area.
Paths wind through dense undergrowth, emerging in open areas that
boast big veteran oak trees. A circular route around the site can be
enjoyed and, despite no way markings or information board, is
relatively easy to follow and enjoy the diverse autumnal colours
created by native species such as oak, hazel, ash, field maple birch
Lumb Brook Valley
You get four woods for the price of one at Lumb Brook Valley as it
is in reality a collection of interconnected but distinctive
woodland sites. The Fords Rough contains an area of ancient woodland
while, in the valley, you will discover a diverse range of shrubs
and flowers. A surfaced, if sometimes waterlogged, footpath provides
access through the length of the wood.
he Dingle is a large wooded valley offering a variety of broadleaf
and conifers. A well used footpath meanders through sparse ground
vegetation but pockets of colourful flowers emerge here each spring.
By contrast, Long Wood has many maturing oaks with dense layers of
Crinan, Argyll and Bute
Crinan Wood rises 100 metres above the picturesque village of the
same name. The Crinan Canal borders the site and the famous
Corrievreckan whirlpool is a few miles out to sea (if it's really
wild you can hear it from the wood!) Crinan Wood is an exceptional
place; with its moist, warm climate it is often described as a
remnant of Scotland’s own rainforest
and it is home to a vast variety of ferns and lichens. 24 species of
birds can be found in the wood, including buzzard, tree creeper,
redstart and wood warbler. Such impressive natural diversity is
typical of the ancient Atlantic oakwoods of the west coast of
was a time when oakwoods stretched between countries. From Spain and
France, to England, Wales and Scotland a scattering of this native
oakwood still survives. Crinan Wood is one of them.
Carngafallt is a wonderful place to see birds or simply enjoy the
view. The moorland landscape looks especially colourful in late
summer and into autumn. Birds of prey are always present, including
red kites, buzzards and peregrines. Ravens, too, are easily seen.
Winter thrushes, redwings and fieldfares, feast among the berried
rowan trees, sometimes with ring ouzels.
Carpets of mosses and lichens are at their best at this time and
enhance the mystical feeling one experiences in the ancient
Take time out and discover the beauty of Drumlamph Wood, one of the
few remaining ancient woods in Northern Ireland. Just outside
Maghera, the wood lies adjacent to the Sperrin Hills Area of
Outstanding Natural Beauty and is, unquestionably, a beauty in its
own right. Drumlamph Wood has been traced back as far as 1599 and
was once part of the extensive oak forest of Killetra in south-east
The ancient woodland is buffered by rush meadow and wetland, with
recently planted woodland in the fields further north. All provide a
wonderful haven for wildlife, from sparrowhawks and buzzards to
mammals such as otters and the Irish hare. In winter especially, the
Irish hare frequents the wood edges as well as the surrounding
VisitWoods has been developed by the Woodland Trust, in partnership
with the National Trust, RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts and the Forestry
Commission. It is the UK's first woodland website designed to
promote the use of publicly-accessible woodland for health,
recreation and enjoyment to everyone. It maps over 10,000 woods
across the UK and anyone can find their nearest simply by entering