The UK is Europe’s second-least wooded country: only Ireland has less trees (read more). This does not mean that the UK is without large forests. I’ve compiled a top ten of the UK’s largest forests:
|1.||Galloway Forest Park||Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland||770||297|
|2.||Kielder Forest Park||Northumberland, England||610||235|
|3.||New Forest||Hampshire, England||270||104|
|4.||Dornoch Forest||Sutherland, Scotland||260||100|
|5.||Argyll Forest Park||Argyll, Scotland||210||81|
|6.||Queen Elizabeth Forest Park||Stirling, Scotland||200||77|
|7.||Thetford Forest Park||Norfolk / Suffolk, England||190||73|
|8.||Affric Forest||Invernesshire, Scotland||180||69|
|9.||Tay Forest Park||Perthshire, Scotland||170||65|
|10.||Glengarry Forest||Invernesshire, Scotland||165||63|
Seven out of the 10 are forests in Scotland, including the largest Galloway Forest Park. Three of the top 10 are in England, including the second largest in the UK; Kielder Forest. Welsh forests do not feature in the top 10 although a close contender is Clocaenog Forest in West Denbighshire/Conwy Wales, which is 100 km² (40 miles²) in area.
I’ve created a Google map showing the top ten forest locations in the UK (click on the image to view).
Such an interesting site, thank you.
Which are the best forests for riding a horse – I want to live where there is extensive out riding to explore on a horse in the UK.
Thanks Kim. I’ve not written a blog post about horses and access to woods yet – maybe I should. Also, I hope this will be one of the features in The Forest Book I’m working on currently. See http://www.copsewoodforest.com
Gabriel, fine work thank you. Tell me, where would you recommend to visit for someone who would like to walk through ancient native woodland, a sizeable walk.. imagining Sherwood of the 12th-century?
Yours, Josh from Devon
Savernake near Marlborough, Wiltshire; Thetford (be aware of possible tick concerns there); Wales also has very ancient areas of woodland.
Thanks for this very useful information – and thanks for the map too.
I’m part of a large team effort to plant many trees and mostly oak trees in the Midlands, onse it is done it will be the largest forest in the UK. We plant around 3000 trees a day.
Is that in the Heart of England Forest, a legacy of Felix Dennis, by any chance?
Excellent effort. X
Epping forest in London/Essex is 339 km2. Much bigger than some you have put in your “top10 largest forests” you obviously have favoured scotland and not done proper research.
Hi Natalie – thanks for your comment. You may want to check your own sources before being so openly critical. The ancient woodland of Epping Forest covers 2,400ha or 24km2 (9.3 sq miles) making it very much smaller than any of those listed in my top ten largest UK forests.
For instance, read this site (rather than the inaccurate Google result that appears at the top of a search): https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/green-spaces/epping-forest/Pages/default.aspx
Epping Forest is less than a mile wide at its widest, and not not more than two miles at its longest. While a sentimental favourite for outer Londoners, a vast forest it most certainly is NOT. And you know that very well, Natalie.
Would have been really nice if she came back and apologised for being so wrong while demeaning your sterling work. I think she got confused between Epping forest and Epping forest district. Better to have done her research first…
So woodlands in the UK are increasing in size again but still shockingly small compared to the EU. http://www.glitch-doctor.com/woodland.html
It was really helpful to me , I thank you for that 👌👍
Why can’t local councils agree to connect their woodlands together to create a giant network of woodlands. Sure it would require large scale tree planting to grow trees on the bare land the council owns between the woods. But this could be done with some determination and commitment. The public would back this IMO also.
Connecting woodlands together through planting would be an excellent idea, and one I am in favour of. There are many open treeless spaces in my (pardon the pun) neck of the woods. For example the disused Parkside colliery in Newton le Willows and the old Burtonwood airbase just outside Warrington. The latter is now a huge logistics and distribution centre and also houses. It was once the largest airbase in the world outside of the USA. However the local councils here seem to want to build houses and industrial units on every available space rather than plant trees. Trees don’t pay Council tax and business rates. I think that’s likely the reason why the local councils don’t connect their woodlands by way of tree planting. http://www.thisisparkside.co.uk
There is a lot of interest now in allowing ‘wilding’ to expand woodlands, copses, or hedgerows beyond their often small or narrow confines, and this may prove effective (economically and environmentally) in linking woodland habitats together too.
Hi, where do I find a link for this please?
Sorry. What link are you looking for? This one: https://gabrielhemery.com/the-top-ten-largest-forests-in-the-uk/ or this one http://goo.gl/maps/LP0u ?
Just thought I’d point out that the Forest of Dean is 526 square km yet doesn’t feature on this list 🙂
Thanks for the comment Natasia. The figures are correct as the forest cover in the Forest of Dean is nowhere near 526km2.
This harks back to what we mean by a Forest (note capital F), which is a royal hunting forest under ‘Forest Law’ but whose land which may or not have tree cover. Read more about definitions here: https://gabrielhemery.com/2011/08/01/forest-woodland-copse-or-spinney/
No Sherwood Forest and Robin Hood , Friar Tuck, the nasty Sheriff of Nottingham, and all that?!…if not im sad 🙁
What planet does gabor live on?
We have MANY forests here N I
Try fermanagh at 8500 hectares or glenarriff 1000 hectares.
Enough for anyone And unlike many uk forests you could find fotests with no human houses there just nature.
Gabor you couldn’t be too hgood at finding forests.
There is a forest in co fermanagh in N ire, that is 8500 hectares, also binevenagh forest is quite free of humans, there’s a Huge amount of forests here and many have No one living near them.
You musnt. Have a car or else you would have seen that. Within our 5200 square miles of road… We have forests that are very beautiful.
I found this blog after spending hours trying to find a REAL forest for camping in Northern Ireland, but apparently there is none. Now I can see that they have a massive 8% percent forest cover. Too bad I already bought the tent and the sleeping bags…
I think you’ll find the largest forest in Wales is Brechfa forest. Below are links to information (from http://www.forestry.gov.uk) about both Clocaenog (Clocaenog forest is actually a part of the larger Hiraethog forest) and Brechfa forest. As you will see, whilst Hiraethog forest is a large 6070 hectares (15,000 acres), Brechfa forest is even larger at 6500 hectares (16,061 acres):
Information about Hiraethog Forest (Clocaenog forest is a smaller forest within the larger Hiraethog forest):
Information about Brechfa forest:
wow thanks. Will keep the info filed. We ended up deciding to go to Amalfi Coast this time as we are visiting Europe in March so forests (which I really want to do) likely to be a little damp
is there anywhere in the UK you can do a walking holiday that includes quite a lot of forest? Would b nice to know about the trees
Forest of Dean. It is a beautiful forest full of wildlife.
You must have sent me the wrong reply. My question was why have you omitted The Royal Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. Very ancient and important forest.
What about the Royal Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire????
The forests that are left are precious. Although this post dates from 2011, I do hope that you will continue to write about them. Maybe you’ve taken up Mike’s suggestion & moved to the USA or Canada! Mind you, it won’t be long till those forests are gone too!
A pathetic state of affairs. England was covered in oak forest once.Years ago when i was young I came to the conclusion you can hardly walk a mile without encountering someones property, fence; road or boundry, Pathetic.I gave up. You’ve got to go to Canada or the US.
Much closer than Canada or US from UK is east Europe which is full of beautiful massive forests. I’m from Poland and there for sure you can find lovely natural untouched by human hands lands. Is becoming to be worse now but still is good, there are places where you can walk miles and miles away naked and don’t worry that anybody will see you:)
Is that really true? I’ll have to look into that, i love the idea of being in the middle of natural landscapes with nothing for miles but the wild.
Yes it is still true. I’m from Poland too and I can confirm. Currently I live in the UK and that’s what I miss the most,forests where you can get completely lost.
thank you nice info
For a forest lover your blog is brilliant! Lot of interesting stuff being mentioned.
Thank you so much. Being relatively new to blogging I really appreciate positive encouragement. Gabriel