With the cost-of-living crisis biting, a simpler, more environmentally friendly festive celebration is top of many people’s Christmas list this year – with fresh air and free fun on the cards instead of expensive gifts, excess and waste.
The Woodland Trust, the country’s largest woodland conservation charity, has come up with a guide to its best woods for a glorious – and completely free – winter walk for all the family to enjoy.
The Woodland Trust has more than 1,000 woods which are free to visit and open every day – so you’re spoilt for choice.
You can find the Trust’s woods closest to you with this exhaustive online guide: woodlandtrust.org.uk/findawood.
Christmas is a perfect time to embrace the simpler things in life, whether that’s time spent with friends and loved ones, enjoying nature’s magnificent scenery or just getting outdoors and enjoying some fresh air.
“If you’d rather not spend the entire festive season overindulging, head out for a woodland adventure,” said Woodland Trust site manager James Jesson.
“Woodland Trust woods are real winter wonderlands – so whether it’s a crisp, frosty morning or a damp soggy afternoon, it’s great to pull on your boots and thermals or waterproofs and head out for an invigorating stroll.
“Winter woods take on a whole new character. Spectacular, frosty landscapes and bare branches expose elusive wildlife and hidden history. The fact they are all free to visit is just the icing on the Christmas cake.”
Woodland Trust sites are open all year round so come prepared for nature in its natural state, unmissable views, clean air and birdsong. And by sticking to the woodland paths, you won’t disturb the winter wildlife and you’ll allow nature to thrive in its woodland surroundings.
And here’s the Trust’s pick of the best winter walks from south-east England:
Hucking Estate – Kent
Perfect for wintry family adventures, Hucking serves up breathtaking views of the Kent Downs, ancient woodland to explore and swathes of open grassland where the kids can run off steam. It’s a must-visit in the south-east – with a handy pub nearby for warming chilly toes.
Joydens Wood – Kent
Enjoy a winter walk exploring a tranquil, ancient woodland right on London’s doorstep. With its remarkable flora, abundant wildlife, and an intriguing history stretching back to Roman times, it’s a wonderful place to escape the hectic pace of city life.
- For more walks closer to Croydon, carefully mapped and ideal for dog walkers – they’ve all been approved by greyhounds – check out the excellent Walks With Rena website
- And don’t forget our own Inside Croydon archive of walks, inside and outside Croydon, compiled for us by Walker Dunelm and, more recently, by Ken Towl
- Inside Croydon has been delivering local community news since 2010. To support independent local journalism in Croydon, please sign up today as a supporter. Click here for more details
- If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Inside Croydon is a member of the Independent Community News Network
- By having a comment section, we provide all readers with an immediate “right of reply” on all our content. Details of how this works can be read by clicking here
- Inside Croydon works together with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, as well as BBC London News and ITV London
- Inside Croydon: 3.3million page views in 2021. Seen by 1.6million unique visitors in that 12-month period