I was reading an article in Country Living magazine about the most popular forests in the UK and as I sit here in the office watching the magnificent copper beech trees that surround us start to change colour it made me think that October really is the perfect month to explore these forests and marvel at the stunning array of colours that adorn the horizon.
If you are ready for a half term break or perhaps just a weekend away before any serious winter weather sets in then can I suggest that you get out and explore one of these fabulous forests on a luxury motorhome adventure with GlamperRV.
Number One on the list was the New Forest and being so close to both our Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire bases it makes for an easy break.
The New Forest is a nirvana for family days out with endless cycle and footpaths criss-crossing this stunning 145 square mile place of ancient history, fascinating wildlife and stunning beauty. Originally a royal hunting preserve, the thriving working forest that you see today has survived for nearly 1,000 years. Within the forest there are over 135 Forestry Commission car parks, most accessible by motorhome and plenty of activities to suit all ages. The Forestry Commission’s guide to the area is full of useful information and maps.
As many of our readers will know by now, the beauty of GlamperRV is that you have all your facilities on-board so you can overnight in some truly original locations. Our favourite is a cider farm based in the heart of the New Forest that hits the mark. Located on the edge of the picturesque village of Burley, you will be able to relax amongst the apple trees and stock up with plenty of fresh local produce!
A must for any visit to the New Forest is Beaulieu, an award-winning family visitor attraction with over 800 years of heritage. In addition to the stunning abbey, house and gardens it is home to the National Motor Museum which through its 250+ vehicle collection tells the story of motoring on the roads and circuits of Britain, from pioneering origins to the present day.
There are many pubs close to Beaulieu which through our memberships of Brit Stops provide some convenient places to stay overnight or visit the superb ‘Search for Sites’ website and you will be spoilt for choice with suitable locations!
In second place in the Country Living poll was The Royal Forest of Dean. Made up of over 20 million largely oak, beech and ash trees, it is nestled between the Wye Valley, the Vale of Leadon and the Severn Vale presenting some stunning landscapes for outdoor adventures. Its relative isolation created by the valleys of two great tidal rivers, the Severn and the Wye, together with its hilly terrain have helped preserve a pattern of land use, culture and heritage and makes a stunning region to explore on foot or bikes.
If you fancy a quiet, well equipped camping stopover then we recommend Cherry Orchard farm which is only 1/2 a mile from the historic Offa’s Dyke long distance footpath and ideally situated for enjoying the Royal Forest of Dean and the beautiful Wye valley. Another bonus is that the farm is only a five minute walk from the famous Ostrich Inn in Newland, which known throughout the realm for its superb food and wide range of real ales.
Did you know that Offa’s Dyke was built by the Anglo-Saxon King Offa of Mercia (757 to 796) to protect his territory from marauding Welsh raiders? The bank reaches 20 feet in height in some sections, even after the wear and tear of 12 centuries. The dyke is not continuous – either it was never finished or Offa decided to use natural geographic obstacles to deter the Welsh and save his people extra work!
The Forest of Dean is also home to Puzzle Wood which contains pre-Roman open cast iron workings and a maze covering 14 acres of pathways and rock ravines, with secret passages and hidden doorways. There is plenty in this region to keep you busy for a long weekend or longer and for a wide range of visitor attractions click here.
In third place was Robin Hood’s favourite, Sherwood Forest. Located north of our Buckinghamshire HQ, Sherwood Forest was once a medieval Royal hunting forest that stretched across thousands of acres – covering much of Nottinghamshire west and north of the River Trent. Over the centuries it has become fragmented however the now preserved remainder is well worth a visit.
Stay over at the Sherwood Forest Holiday Park whose 52 acres in the heart of Robin Hood Country is landscaped into several small areas, giving it an intimate feel.
Whilst the forest itself, best accessed from the visitor centre has plenty to keep you busy for a short trip, you are also on the edge of the Peak District National Park and for those with older children Alton Towers theme park is also within easy reach adding a different dimension to your outdoor GlamperRV adventure!
I simply love this time of year as I walk from our office up onto the Chiltern Hills and watch the seasons start to change – I think we may load up the bikes and head off to the Royal Forest of Dean for a weekend trip very soon! I hope this has inspired you too!