Retreats

Woodlands of the South West

The South West is home to many beautiful woodlands and forests, each providing tranquil settings for sylvan strolls and invaluable habitats for many species of plants and animals. 

Whether you are looking for an arboreal backdrop for a walk with your dog, want to recharge with nature or simply would like to discover somewhere new, here are some of our favourite areas of woodlands in the South West, just a stone’s throw from many of our Boutique Retreats.

Cornwall

Tehidy Woods

The largest area of woodland in West Cornwall, the verdant sprawl of Tehidy covers 250 acres of beautiful woodland. With nearly 10 miles of footpaths to tread year-round, you can amble besides lakes, streams and towering trees here, listening to the chorus of birdsong and enjoying the crunch of leaves underfoot.

St Nectan’s Glen 

One of the most magical woodlands in the South West, St Nectan’s Glen near Tintagel is nothing if not enchanting. Said to be home to Cornish piskies who hide within the wood’s adumbral midst, it is truly mysterious. As you wander deeper into the woods, keep on the look-out for St Nectan's Kieve, where a 60-foot waterfall thunders through a circular hole in the rockface. 

Cardinham Woods

With something for all the family, Cardinham Woods in central Cornwall makes for a great day out whatever the weather. Home to a children’s play area, four different walking trails and three cycling trails, it is an excellent destination for woodland-lovers of all ages. Once you’ve walked all you can walk, there is a great café too where you can refuel and revive.

Devon

Haldon Forest 

Haldon Forest Park, just 15 minutes from Exeter, covers an impressive 3,500 acres of woodland.  Whether you want a leisurely stroll, an exhilarating mountain biking experience or a chance to spy some of the local wildlife, the forest’s four trails cater to all interests. Making sure everyone can join in, the surfaced Discovery Trail is accessible to wheelchairs, pushchairs and mobility vehicles and has lots of rest spots along the way.

Bellever Forest

Located in the heart of Dartmoor, the wild Bellever Forest is the perfect place for wilderness vibes. Savour the tranquillity of a picnic on the banks of the East Dart river, take an invigorating hike up to the top of Bellever Tor, or look out for the ancient monuments, grazing Dartmoor ponies and abundant wildlife that can be found within the forest. 

Ashclyst Forest

Ashclyst Forest is one of the biggest woods in East Devon and is a real haven for flora and fauna of all sizes, from tiny butterflies and bluebells to shy deer and sky-high trees. With ample paths to follow and waymarked trails, you can park at various places around the forest, or at one of the main car parks – Ashclyst Forest car park and Caddihoe.

Dorset

Brownsea Island

At only 1.5 miles long, Brownsea Island is a miniature sanctuary for wildlife. Consisting of 500 acres of pine and oak woodland, heathland and salt-marsh, its diverse array of species is impressive to say the least. Some of the island’s most famous residents, though, are its 200 red squirrels. With the UK population having decreased from a one-time high of 3.5 million to under 140,000 today, safeguarding this little group is vital.

Langdon Hill 

A lovely circular woodland walk can be found at Langdon Hill, leading amblers through walls of Scots pine and larch that occasionally open up to reveal spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and coast. Set your own pace on this circular route, and if you fancy a detour, use it as a shortcut to the mighty Golden Cap.

Moors Valley Country Park

Moors Valley Country Park and Forest is the ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts and families looking for a taste of adventure. With 1,000 acres of land, there is no shortage of waymarked footpaths and fun-filled activities. That said, for a real adrenaline rush, check out the forest’s Go Ape’s Tree Top Challenge, which includes up to 2 hours of daring rope-course challenges, exhilarating swings and electrifying zip wires.

Somerset

Leigh Woods

The 490-acre Leigh Woods is a picturesque area of woodland on the south-west side of the Avon Gorge in North Somerset. Go for a wander amongst its beautiful, broadleaf depths and emerge to enjoy superb views across the city of Bristol from designated viewpoints. 

Blackdown Hills

Looked after by Forestry England, the Blackdown Hills’ forests and woodlands are a really tempting proposition for those looking for a wild escape. Spread across the Somerset-Devon border, you can relish miles of forested walkways, taking in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. For the best views, head up Staple Hill, the highest point in the Blackdown Hills.

Stockhill Wood

Stockhill Wood is located in the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, home to 484 hectares of woodland. Alongside Rowberrow Warren and East Harptree woods, which also perch on the Mendip plateau, Stockhill Wood has great walking trails and picnic spots. Another popular spot for local wildlife, this area is also renowned for its nightjar and long-eared owl populations.

 

Ssshhh... don't tell anyone

We can let you know about our newest retreats, exclusive offers, featured luxury properties and what's on. Just let us know your email address and we’ll keep you in the loop.