Looking for a low-carbon day trip? Leave the car at home, catch the next train and get set to explore some of our favourite woods that are a just a hop, skip and jump away from their nearest railway station. Feast your eyes on stunning scenery, spot wildlife and make the most of the fresh air while stretching your legs. Don’t forget your picnic!


1. Brooke Hill Wood, Oakham

Brooke Hill Wood is ripe for exploration. Scamper through grassland, look out for wildlife such as red kite, foxes and invertebrates, and take in the views over Rutland Water. Fancy a spot of forest bathing? Weave though avenues of young trees, many of which have prestigious pedigrees, having started life on royal estates. Or if history is more your bag, delve into the wood’s past and scout for evidence of medieval ploughing. And all just one mile from Oakham station.

2. Joyden's Wood, Bexley

Step into Joyden’s ancient woodland – a stone’s throw from London’s hustle and bustle and just one mile from Bexley station. Wander along waymarked trails and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. Buzzards and kestrels ride the thermals, all three newt species make their homes here, and invertebrates such as butterflies drift among bluebells and early purple orchids. Be swept along in the wood’s intriguing history – from the Romans to the Anglo-Saxons and the Second World War.

Check out the top spots before your visit with an audio tour of Joyden's Wood on our Woodland Walks podcast.   

3. Old Wood, Norfolk

Immerse yourself in history at Old Wood, home to veteran trees that are more than 100 years old. Just one mile from Sheringham station, it’s nestled in North Norfolk’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has views enough to take your breath away – and that’s before you spot the sculptures peeping out along the waymarked trail. There are abundant butterflies during spring and summer, as well as elusive adders, slow worms and bats, while the three ponds are a haven for frogs, toads, dragonflies and damselflies.

4. Miltonrigg Woods, Cumbria

Sitting just one mile south-east of Brampton station, Miltonrigg Woods is an atmospheric ancient woodland that’s home to solid veteran trees. And it’s teeming with wildlife: listen out for warblers’ bubbling songs and woodpeckers drumming in spring, spot sparrowhawk and kestrel and catch a glimpse of deer milling between the trees. Rest awhile on one of the benches and take in the views, before meandering along the waymarked trails – one of which goes past the pond – and look out for bluebells, early purple orchid and wood anemone.


5. Glencharnoch Wood, Carrbridge

Tucked into the Cairngorms National Park and sitting right next door to Carrbridge station, Glencharnoch Wood is an ancient woodland dominated by Scots pine and larch that’s a haven for quintessential Scottish wildlife. While you explore the waymarked trails, catch a glimpse of red squirrels and listen for capercaillie clicking through their lek while crested tits and crossbills flit through the trees. Keep one eye on the understory as important flowering plants such as chickweed, wintergreen and creeping lady’s-tresses bloom beneath the pines.

6. Dunollie Wood, Oban

Part of Scotland’s untamed rainforest with breathtaking views over Oban Bay to the isles beyond, Dunollie Wood ticks all the boxes. History buff? Take a stroll along the woodland edge to its castle, search for Viking runes carved into the cliffs and visit the small burial mound. Love wildlife? Keep your eyes peeled for otter, red squirrels, chequered skipper butterflies and white-tailed eagles soaring above the trees. Flora more your scene? Meander among Scots pine, alder, beech and ash, look for rare lichen, mosses and fungi, and in spring, be enchanted by bluebells lining the forest floor.

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7. Marl Hall Woods, Llandudno Junction

Venture into the ancient Marl Hall Woods at any time of year and be met with dazzling displays. Marvel at wildflowers such as wood anemone and wild garlic blooming during spring and summer and bask in the rich colours of oak, beech and spindle during autumn. Stroll through woodland and grassland, all while catching a glimpse of jays, warblers and moths and listening for the hammer of a great spotted woodpecker. Then explore the remnants of an 18th century walled garden – and its grotto - all just half a mile from Llandudno Junction station.

8. Coed Tregib, Llandeilo

From the burst of birdsong to the pungent waft of wild garlic and the steadfast hazel and blackthorn trees, every visit to Coed Tregib’s ancient woodland is a feast for the senses. A site of special scientific interest, it’s home to more than 100 plant species, as well as hazel dormice, fallow deer and myriad butterflies across its grassland, marshland and woodland habitats. The waymarked trail, bluebells, lesser celandine and early purple orchid are just half a mile from Ffairfach station and one mile from Llandeilo station.

Northern Ireland

9. Monkstown Wood, Newtownabbey

Step off the train at Mossley West station, meander half a mile down the road and you’ll find yourself in Monkstown Wood, a calm oasis in a busy urban area. A gallery of oak sculptures accompanies your wander, while otters play and hunt in the neighbouring river. In summer, the wood is visited by willow warblers and house martins, and springtime boasts carpets of lesser celandine, wood anemone and cow parsley. It’s also rich in folklore: it’s the rumoured burial place of Fergus Mór, the fabled founder of Scotland.

10. Oakfield Glen, Carrickfergus

Nestled in the heart of Carrickfergus and just one mile from its station, Oakfield Glen is an enchanting woodland filled with history – and magic. Mythical creatures peep at you from beneath the Irish yew, beech and cherry trees, and during spring and summer, the wood is alive with visiting warblers such as chiffchaff and willow warbler. Bluebells and wild garlic add colour to the warmer months, tracing a trail to the restored icehouse – once part of a Victorian estate.

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