Where? – 12 – Forests

Last week’s battlefields were tricky, weren’t they?  Some of these forests cover quite a large area.  Does that make it easier?

Once again print out a blank outline map.  You can use the one below.

The best way to learn where things are is to put them on a map, but if I just give you a completed map, that won’t help much, so grab a blank map and a pencil, find somebody for a bit of competition, and let’s see what you know already.

Here are Britain’s ten biggest forest areas, plus some of the more well-known smaller ones.

  1. Affric Forest Park
  2. Argyll Forest Park
  3. Brechfa Forest
  4. Camore Wood
  5. Cannock Chase
  6. Castlewellan Forest Park
  7. Epping Forest
  8. Forest of Dean
  9. Galloway Forest Park
  10. Glenariff Forest Park
  11. Glengarry Forest Park
  12. Kielder Forest Park
  13. National Forest
  14. New Forest
  15. Queen Elizabeth Forest Park
  16. Sherwood Forest
  17. Tay Forest Park
  18. Thetford Forest Park

Britain’s forest cover is low compared with the rest of Europe, but Ireland has even less.  Ireland’s Millennium Forests project has been set up to establish 16 new forests in the 21st century.  Find out about them here.

Now scroll past my pictures for your quiz answers.  I’ve tried to put my spots roughly in the centre of each forest area, so if you are within 1cm of mine then count it as correct.

Forest of Dean
Bit of a clue there!

If you are signed up for worksheets, check your inbox for a map of the correct locations, ready for you to label. (If you want to sign up, the form is in the side bar.)

The National Forest

Covering an area of 200 square miles in the English Midland counties of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire, the National Forest is an ambitious plan to take one of the least wooded regions of Britain and transform it, so that about a third of its land is wooded.

The site links the ancient woodlands of Charnwood in the east and Needwood in the west and is within 1½ hours travel time of 10 million people, with 4 towns within the area of the forest itself. (map)

Millions of trees are being planted and other habitats are planned too, to increase wildlife.

Sale of the wood and an increase in visitors will bring money into the area, and local people will have improved opportunities for recreation, which may benefit health.

Existing land owners keep their land but are encouraged to plant trees.  Sometimes this is farm land, but the area contains many coal mining sites which are no longer used for mining.  Planting them with trees improves the look of the landscape and makes the land useful again.

You can find out more from the National Forest website.


Bradgate Park

Last week we looked at Britain’s first country park: a local council owned, repurposed railway line, on the Wirral.  Bradgate Park is another excellent country park, but in this case the land is a historical estate and deer park, which is owned by a trust.

Described as “Leicestershire’s most popular countryside destination” and having a huge ‘local’ population, Bradgate Park is 830 acres of wild and rugged landscape, just outside of the city of Leicester.

It contains the ruins of one of the first unfortified, brick-built country houses in England, which was the birthplace and childhood home of Lady Jane Grey.

In 1928 the estate was purchased by a local industrialist and was given to the people of Leicestershire, with Bradgate Park Trust being set up to manage the area for the benefit of all.  It was designated a Country Park in 1970.

The underlying volcanic rocks produce an interesting landscape, with rugged hills and rocky outcrops, steep slopes and thin soils, providing habitats for plants and animals not usually found in the central England.

The Visitor Centre houses an exhibition of the story of the park, and a tarmac driveway crossing through the park allows easy access for pushchairs and wheelchairs.  There is even an off-road mobility scooter that can be borrowed by the adventurous!  All of this is free, the only cost being your space in the car park.

If you live within reach of Bradgate Park I would encourage you to go and explore for yourself, but if not then you can take a virtual tour on your computer or tablet.

Check out the 18th century folly of Old John Tower, on the 2nd highest point in Leicestershire, for some fantastic views.

There is a full programme of events and walks.  You can join a 1 hour guided history walk on March 8th 2018. It is free but only 12 places so booking is essential.

But Bradgate Park is part of something much, much larger.  Join me next Friday to find out more.