Forests in Cornwall

Forests in Cornwall

The county of Cornwall is famed for its stunning coastline, yet hidden within its striking landscapes are gorgeously rich woodland realms. From picturesque evergreen swathes and tangled river valleys to novel-worthy moorland forests in Cornwall, they awaken the senses and beckon for sun-streaked meanders.

Whether you are looking for beloved favourites served by shops and cafés or lesser-known gems residing in quiet corners, we have curated a list of some of the best woods in Cornwall for forested forays. Each woven with natural wonder, a whole world of woodland magic awaits to be uncovered.

Tehidy Woods

A stream flowing through the middle of Tehidy Woods in Cornwall

The largest area of woodland in West Cornwall, the verdant sprawl of Tehidy covers 250 acres of beautiful woodland close to the North Cliffs. Interlaced with nearly ten miles of footpaths to tread year-round, it encourages walkers to follow trails beside shimmering pools, streams and towering trees. In spring, listen to the chorus of birdsong and look out for the beautiful blanket of wildflowers that cloaks the forest floor. Later in the year in autumn, enjoy the satisfying crunch of leaves underfoot as you stroll and admire the fiery blaze of copper leaves that transforms forest trails into regal walkways. Particular highlights of this woodland idyll include the wildlife areas, home to adorable grey squirrels and pearl-white swans, and Tehidy Woods Café, open year-round.

St Nectan’s Glen

St Nectan's Kieve in St Nectan's Glen, Cornwall

One of the most magical woodlands in the South West, St Nectan’s Glen SSSI near Tintagel is simply enchanting. Only a mile from the coast yet exuding an ethereal, adumbral quality, it beckons for real-life fairytales. For a unique experience in Cornwall,  wend beneath the forest’s leafy canopies and seek out the magical St Nectan's Kieve, where a sixty-foot waterfall thunders through a circular hole in a moss-covered rockface. The perfect place to immerse yourself in the beauty of the great outdoors, it calls for year-round exploration and is a dreamy subject for photographs. To add extra enchantment to your day, head over to Tintagel Castle nearby to uncover the birthplace of King Arthur and walk the famous bridge that spans a two-hundred-foot sea-washed gorge.

Cardinham Woods

The mulit-coloured treetops of Cardinham Woods in Cornwall

The stunning Cardinham Woods resides in a verdant valley in central Cornwall and makes for a spellbinding destination for river walks and wildwood adventures. Covering 650 acres, this sweeping forest in Cornwall is intertwined with a number of waymarked and splinter trails that beckon for biking and hiking through the trees. Family-friendly, it also features different children’s play areas and accessible activity trails so that all generations can experience the wonder of nature. Select one of the walkways or cycling routes, choosing from a variety of grading options, and lose yourself to the tranquillity of this leafy haven. To reward yourself afterwards, pay a visit to the Cardinham Woods Café, one of the top hidden cafés in Cornwall.

Trelissick Gardens

Trelissick Gardens nestles within around four hundred acres of dog-friendly woodland estate on the banks of the River Fal near Truro. Affording some of the best summer and autumn walks in Cornwall, this forested sanctuary comprises some of the county’s prettiest gardens and woodland landscapes for unforgettable hours of soothing reverie. It is also home to a popular art gallery that rests beside its treeline and hosts seasonal exhibitions. Park in the car park of this National Trust-run estate and set off on foot to discover the dappled delights of the woods, heading north or south along one of two picturesque paths. With incredible views over undulating treetops, the river and the distant sea beyond, Trelissick promises something beautiful to see at every turn.

King’s Wood

Bluebells covering the forest floor of King's Wood in Cornwall

Situated only a few miles from the dog-friendly gardens of Heligan, the four-hundred-year-old Kings Wood is a hidden area of woodland in South Cornwall. Overlooking the coast and shrouded in mixed ancient and broadleaved woodland, this umbrageous idyll features mature oak, ash, sweet chestnut, birch trees and more and provides sanctuary for an array of flora and fauna. Especially beautiful are the delicate bluebells that decorate the woods in spring, as well as the red-berried holly bushes that lend a festive presence in winter. Arrive at the woods and trace part of the Pentewan Valley Trail along the banks of the St Austell River, or one of the naturally-surfaced trails through the 140-acre site. As you walk, retrace the footsteps of Cornwall’s royal and industrial heritage through land once owned by King Edward II and used by tin miners of old.

Penrose Estate

The gorgeous Penrose Estate is home to one of the most beautiful forests in the county. A beloved gem, it resides above the outer reaches of the Lizard Peninsula between the towns of Helston and Porthleven and shelters one of the largest natural lakes in the South West. A dream for carefree saunters and peaceful cycle rides, this National Trust-managed estate is woven with tarmacked, multipurpose, and traffic-free trails that are suitable for pushchairs and mobility scooters. The paths are often enjoyed by horse riders too. Follow the flow of the waymarked footpaths into the depths of the woodlands and wend under tangled canopies that change colour with the seasons. A charming pitstop, The Stables café is open throughout the year and promises a range of refreshments.

Lanhydrock Estate

A mountain biker biking along a forest trail at Lanhydrock Estate in Cornwall

Surrounding a romantic Victorian country house, Lanhydrock Estate near Bodmin stars some of the most famous woodland in Cornwall. Encompassing almost a thousand acres, it presents a jigsaw of pruned gardens, ancient trees and open heath and is engraved with the serpentine flow of the River Fowey. Renowned for its seasonal offerings, it proposes a vibrant calendar of inspiration, from the first magnolia blossoms in March to the fiery hues of autumn. Explore the estate’s paths on foot and absorb the captivating sights of the forest. Or, for a unique way to explore the estate, make magical memories horseriding and cycling instead. For mountain bikers, a range of bike trails run through the trees, as well as a dedicated skills area and balance bike track.

Draynes Wood

The waters of Golitha Falls flowing through an autumn woodland scene at Drayne's Wood in Cornwall

The winsome weald of Draynes Wood on Bodmin beckons for dreamy moments in nature. Set within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this National Nature Reserve and SSSI boasts breathtaking aesthetics and sweeps across a river valley. Well-known for its weaving woodland trails, this picturesque forest in Cornwall is especially beloved for the Golitha Falls that tumble through the middle of the valley along the River Fowey. Flowing through wooded glades and steep-sided gorges, the falls feature a series of cascades and waterfalls over a descent of around three hundred feet. Follow the different routes through the woodland and look out for the falls as they run their course, before stopping for a riverside picnic in summer to make the most of the halcyon setting.

Idless Woods

Mixed woodland at Idless Woods near Truro in Cornwall

The bewitching Idless Woods is located in central Cornwall near Truro and managed by Forestry England. Composed of Bishop’s, Lord’s, Lady’s and St Clement’s Woods, it collectively forms one forested realm nearly three miles in length. Just perfect for leisurely strolls, Idless Woods’ network of winding pathways ensures there is always a new route to take or a different direction to enjoy, while its ever-changing tapestry evolves with each season and proffers an endlessly inspiring backdrop. Take your time tracing footsteps through the trees, uncovering the beauty hiding in plain sight and breathing in fresh forest air. Upon your return, head into Truro and treat yourself to a bite to eat somewhere special.

Ladock Woods

A stream running Ladock Woods in Cornwall

Tread fallen leaves and pine needles underfoot and brush shoulders with the rich foliage and broad trunks of evergreen trees at Ladock Woods in Cornwall. Merging with St Enoder Wood near Probus, this peaceful woodland owned by the Duchy of Cornwall occupies a luscious pocket of rolling countryside and appeals to wanderers of all ages ready to roam along leaf-strewn paths. Petite in size, its trails can be enjoyed during slow mornings and relaxed afternoons, perfect for those looking for a gentle immersion into the wild. To extend your rambles, you can also branch into the surrounding countryside, seeking out the area’s holy well and the twelfth century, Grade I-listed Ladock Church.

Feeling inspired for a woodland retreat? Take a look at our luxury cottages in Cornwall


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