Take cover! Autumn and winter are the ultimate seasons for a forest walk in Cornwall. Take a woodland stroll through crisp autumn leaves, or head beneath the trees for your Boxing Day calorie burn!
There are beautiful pockets of woodland right across Cornwall, from secluded valleys to the forest tracks of famous estates. So grab your hiking boots and head to the trees, where a good dose of pine-scented air is sure to lift the spirits (tofind out more about ‘forest bathing’ as a method of stress relief, click here.)
Idless Woods, Truro
Conveniently located on the edge of Truro, Idless Woods is managed by Forestry England. It features a well-laid path that runs for 2.8 miles, making it good for those with accessibility needs.
Meanwhile, mini-explorers will love striking off on small tracks and exploring deeper into the forest; there are many varieties of trees to spot at Idless woods, and it’s a great place to practice your tree climbing skills!
Find out more about visiting Idless Woods here.
Carwinion Valley, Falmouth
The Carwinion Valley takes you from the village of Mawnan Smith near Falmouth down to the Helford River, where you emerge onto the sand and shingle beach of Porth Saxon
The valley is close to Glendurgan and Trebah Gardens, and in places has a similarly sub-tropical feel, with all sorts of beautiful ferns and tree ferns to admire.
All the family will love the adventure of this walk, and the beach makes a great spot for a flask of hot chocolate before embarking on the return journey…
Find out more about Carwinion and other routes around the Helford River here.
Tehidy Woods, Illogan
As you head further into West Cornwall, large swathes of woodland become harder to find, but Tehidy is one notable exception.
There are car parks giving access to this diverse area of woodland on four different sides and lots of intersecting pathways. You could visit 50 times and never do the same route!
On the south side of the woods there is a wildfowl nature reserve and in this area dogs are not permitted, but there are plenty of other areas of woodland for them to explore.
Visit Cornwall has a handy map and useful visiting info for Tehidy – click here.
Cardinham Woods, Bodmin
Near Bodmin and not far off the A30, though you’d never know it, Cardinham Woods is a thickly forested expanse of undulating terrain, centred on the great Woods Cafe and a wonderful outdoor play area.
There are several walking trails ranging from easy to hard, and every day of the year the woods attract walkers, mountain bikers, trail runners and families making the most of this great natural playground.
Forestry England manages Cardinham Woods, and you can find all the latest info on access and events on their website.
Luxulyan Valley, St Austell
This picturesque valley is dotted with mine ruins, making it both a historical and natural wonder.
The steep-sided valley has been carved out by the River Par and connects Luxulyan to St Blazey. This area of woodland is now home to a multitude of flora and fauna, but was once a busy industrial landscape.
Luxulyan Valley was a source of wood and charcoal used to power the smelting of copper and tin, and it was an important transportation route for taking ore to the sea at Par. The traces of this activity can be seen in ruins such as the Treffry Viaduct.
Find out more about the history of the valley and walking routes here.
Golitha Falls, Liskeard
Managed by Natural England, Golitha Falls is one of Bodmin Moor’s most spectacular spots. These ancient woods are a special, protected habitat for many species of moss and lichen and are also home to a rich variety of bird and animal life.
The falls consist of a series of cascades and pools scattered along the valley. The most spectacular time to visit is after a period of heavy rain, when the water runs off the moors and comes pouring down the valley.
Keen photographers will enjoy capturing the beauty of the falls, and wild swimmers may be tempted to have a dip during the warmer months.
Discover more info about walking routes and parking at Golitha Falls here.
Lanhydrock Estate, Bodmin
This historic estate covers a vast area and is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts all year round.
The woods surrounding the main visitor attractions of the house and gardens are the place to head for meandering woodland trails (we recommend picking up a map at reception). Four-legged friends will love exploring the River Fowey!
Read our full article about the joys of Lanhydrock Estate here.
For more ideas on great walking routes in Cornwall, read this article over on our Journal. The Harding Laity team have done all the research for you – all you need to do is get those walking boots on!