8 of the loveliest woodland walks to take in London

Looking to make the most out of your outdoors time as lockdown restrictions continue to ease? These woodland walks in London might inspire some plans for July.

As lockdown restrictions continue to ease, the weekends are starting to become something we can look forward to again. Although we are now allowed to eat and drink out at bars, restaurants and pubs, many of us are still reluctant to jump straight back into the socialising game. 

That’s why planning a lovely woodland walk is a great idea for the weekend. 

Although the summer weather is changing daily, a little bit of rain shouldn’t stop anyone from getting out there and enjoying a nice, long social-distanced stroll with family and friends. 

Because, as much as we love the buzz of city life, many of us are aching for the great outdoors right now. Birdsong, rustling leaves, bluebell carpeted ground – ah yes, they’re calling to us.

So let’s take a look at eight of the best woodland walks in London…

North London woodland walks

Queen’s Wood

Queen’s Wood is one of four ancient woodlands in Haringey, sandwiched in between Highgate and Crouch End. Fascinating fact: these woods are thought to be the direct descendants of the original ‘wildwood’, which covered most of Britain about five thousand years ago. Expect your walk to be coloured with flowers such as wood anemone, native bluebells, wood goldilocks and wood sorrel.

Find more information about Queen’s Wood on the Haringey Council website.

Hampstead Heath Woods

Head to London’s iconic heath and get lost in the woods between Kenwood House and Hampstead Lane. Listen and look out for the all-singing and swooshing parakeets overhead. Then wander around the heath, up to Primrose Hill, to enjoy that infamous view of the cityscape. 

Find more information on Hampstead Heath Wood on the Woodland Trust website.

South London woodland walks

Sydenham Hill Wood

This is the largest remaining part of what was once the Great North Wood. Wander around the remnants of old Victorian folly, or follow the tracks of the run-down Nunhead to Crystal Palace railway. You can also explore the 18th century path of Cox’s Walk, lined with ancient oaks.

Find more information on Sydenham Hill Wood on the Southward Council website.

Oxleas Wood

Oxleas Wood is an ancient woodland area on the top of Shooter’s Hill in Greenwich.  The woodland is quiet and peaceful, considering how close it is to central London.  At the top of the hill is Severndroog Castle, a folly with fantastic views over London.

Find more information on Oxleas Wood on the Visit London website.

West London woodland walks

Osterley Park

For those who live a bit further out west, Osterley Park is a huge Georgian estate in Hounslow. Operated by the National Trust, it has a spectacular mansion surrounded by gardens, a park and farmland and woodland. Expect to see bluebells on your exploration and listen out listen out for cuckoos – staff recently heard cuckoos calling there for the first time in 20 years.

Find more information on Osterley Park on the National Trust website.

Richmond Park

Fancy spotting some wild deer? Richmond Park is famous for its wide grasslands, open waters  and deer herds. The park, which is by far the largest of London’s Royal Parks, is also an important site for ancient trees, particularly oaks, which have great historic and wildlife importance. 

Find more information on Richmond Park on the London Royal Parks website.

East London woodland walks

Wick Woodland

Tucked alongside the Lea Navigation canal is this small  but perfectly formed peaceful woodland. It is a little haven of calm with a mixture of older, statuesque trees and younger woodland. Known for being a woodland rave spot in the past, we’re confident none of that will be happening right now.

Find more information on Wick Woodland on the Woodland Trust website.

Epping Forest (Chalet Wood)

Epping Forest is an ancient woodland and former royal hunting forest stretching 12 miles from London to Epping. It’s an expanse of mature native trees with more than 100 lakes and ponds among them. Walking routes are signposted through the area, and you should head to the Chalet Wood area to spot the bluebells.

Find more information on Epping Forest on the Green Acres Group website.

Images: Getty

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