In partnership with Forestry England, Camping in the Forest is a collection of 15 woodland campsites across England and Scotland, from the diverse Cairngorms to the space of the New Forest. All of their Camping in the Forest campsites have direct access to the forest and the miles of footpaths on the doorstep.
Hipcamp have hand-picked this collection of forest campsites and believe that only the very best camping sites deserve to be on the list. Some are small scale, traditional tent and campervan sites, while there are also some excellent woodland glamping sites in our collection too, from yurts and bell tents in the trees to shepherd's huts and pods in the woods. The choices on offer are varied. Some campsites or glamping sites are situated in small areas of trees and miniature woodlands, while others occupy vast forests or huge stretches of land in well-know location like the Forest of Dean, the New Forest or the Forest of Bowland. The one thing they all have in common? They're the very best woodland campsites out there!
The internet is awash with images of spectacular woodland campsites, some carpeted in spring bluebells others basking in the varied colours of autumn. And throughout these photographs one thing is consistently clear, despite being a small island, here in the UK we have some of the most magnificent woods of the lot! Whether you're heading to the highlands and discovering forgotten forests in Scotland's most far flung spots, or venturing a few miles from London to camp in Kent, Suffolk or the Home Counties, the UK is a real treasure trove for woodland camping locations. In Wales, popular locations include Snowdonia National Park and the Brecon Beacons, where the landscapes protected status helps maintain miles upon miles of woodland, while in England there's a great number of designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty that offer similar opportunities for woodland adventures. The Hipcamp guidebooks started here in England and it's safe to say we have a particular fondness for pitching our tent in the woods and hiding away from the frantic modern world. If you're looking for a special escape, then scroll up and browse our collection of the best woodland campsites now, and discover your next wooded wonderland today.
While the forest is a natural wonderland for camping, ruts and roots don't always make it the smoothest of places to pitch your tent. So it's worth planning ahead to make the most of your woodland camping trip. If possible, ensure you've booked a pitch that has plenty of space for your tent and bring rock pegs incase the ground is particularly compressed and hard. An extra blanket or two to go underneath you helps protect your from any knobbly roots and, before you lay down your groundsheet, you should always check and clear the area underneath, removing any pinecones, twigs or bark. For some campers, a hammock is the way to go, with a range of technical, camping hammocks now available to buy from most outdoors shops. This will suspend you above the roots so you don't have to worry about finding flat ground. It is, however, always worth double checking with the campsite you are booking if hammocks are allowed (if it is not already made clear on the Hipcamp website) as some locations have protection rules around their trees that may require you to bring extra tree straps. Finally, if your looking for campsites that allow campfires be sure to abide by the rules of the site. To preserve the rich eco systems of most forests, many woodland campsites will not let you forage for wood from the ground or the trees, so, even if campfires are allowed, it does not necessarily mean you can simply turn up and a light a fire with twigs from the site. In most cases you will still be required to purchase logs from the campsite. You may also not be permitted to bring your own logs – this is to protect forests against the spread of disease such as ash-dieback which can be accidentally be brought to an area if you carry in logs from elsewhere.
Here in the UK, we are lucky enough to have some rare wildlife living in our forests and woodlands, and around our campsites too. The New Forest home to five species of deer, two of which you won’t find outside of the UK. Also, during autumn, once the acorns and chestnuts have fallen to the ground, pigs are released to eat them up. Birdwatchers will be in heaven at Snowdonia National Park. Come sunrise, you’ll hear birdsong from all manner of feathered friends. The Cormorant – a black-water bird, prone to holding its impressive wings up to dry after a dip – can be spotted, as well as Ospreys, once thought to have vanished from the country more than 100 years ago. A trip to the Cairngorms National Park gives campers the chance of seeing something you probably haven’t seen before. Scotland’s only wildcat – the appropriately-named highland tiger – is now one of the most endangered animals in Great Britain, and some estimate there are only fifty or so wildcats in existence now. The park is also home to several nesting sites of the famed golden eagle.
In the hot climes of sunny France or along the shores of the Italian coast, camping in the woods is a wonderful way to enjoy the best of the European climate whilst still being able to cool off in the shade of tent pitches among the trees. All around Europe there are woodland campsites and camping parks that offer that perfect blend of sun, shade and perhaps a river or lake to lounge by – many with swimming pools that you can pitch your tent by too. As always, Hipcamp have been out and about in campervans and heavily-laden cars to find the very best woodland campsites in France and forest hideaways on the continent so that you can browse them all in one place. We're not talking about campsites near the woods, we're talking about proper getaways among the trees. From tree-covered dunes on the Atlantic coast, to Alpine forests and woodland escapes on the outskirts of cities, we've uncovered some truly incredible camping and touring locations. Browse all of our woodland campsites above or head to our specific country guides to search by location.
Cardinham Woods, near Bodmin, is a beautiful mixed woodland, popular with cyclists and dog walkers – so campers on the hunt for dog-friendly campsites should take note. There are easy strolls around Lady Vale Bridge, and a more demanding uphill walk brings you to Wheal Glynn – an old engine house and chimney that can be seen through the trees. Waymarked trails will take you right into the woodland to discover gorgeous look-out points, and the Woods Cafe will help you refuel after your stroll. Coed Cefn in Powys occupies a hilltop overlooking Crickhowell, a pretty Welsh town. The ancient woodland features a canopy of beech, oak and ground flora, as well as an Iron Age hilltop fort alongside dry stonewalls. The woods are crucial pockets of biodiversity, providing a habitat for a huge variety of fungi, trees, birds and insects. If you can, try and visit in spring when the woodland is dominated by beautiful bluebells. As of April 2018, Herefordshire’s Heartwood Forest became the largest native forest in England as the Woodland Trust completed its planting programme, which saw 600,000 trees planted by 40,000 volunteers. The forest – located just 25 miles from central London – covers 45 acres of ancient woodland, and is home to an abundance of bird of prey, including barn owls. If you like your woodland walks with secrets, try the Lake District’s Grizedale Forest, found between Windermere and Coniston Water. There are ancient tracks and waymarked paths snaking through 8,000 acres of mixed forest. Check out the series of sculptures, including a Trompe L'oeil Elephant on a rock – and there’s even a carving on a trunk made by German POWs. An enchanting Scottish walk steeped in local folklore, the Doon Hill fairy trail is a nice easy loop passing woodland, open countryside and riverside. Sunlight through oak and birch trees offers a magical atmosphere, and legend has it Reverend Robert Kirk mysteriously disappeared here (thought to have been taken by fairies). Easily accessible from Aberfoyle, the flat circuit makes a perfect walk for families – but watch out for those fairies.
Woodland glamping has come of age in the last decade and if your the type of person that prefers luxury living to a rough-nights sleep among the trees then it could be perfect for you. When it comes to glamping in the woods, many structures, like shepherd's huts and insulated glamping pods offer solid wood floors that lift you away from the roots and ruts of the ground, while even the likes of bell tents and Mongolian-style yurts will usually be pitched on a wooden platform to ensure the ground is even, flat and comfortable. Camping pods are also a classic choice for woodland camping and popular across the UK. Then, of course, there's the glamping accommodation that only woodland glamping can boast – treehouses! We love treehouses and have a dedicated treehouse collection on our website where you can find all our favourite places. So, whether its kipping high up in the canopy or booking a more basic glamping structure like a bell tent, pod or cabin, we're sure to have a location to suit.
1) Pinecone shot put: First, all campers help collect a pile of pinecones, and then draw a big circle on the ground with a stick. Each player is given five pinecones, and must aim to throw the cones inside the circle from a distance of the judge's choosing. If there’s a tie, the two children should have a sudden-death shoot-out. 2) Spring treasure hunt: Next time you’re camping in the woods, grab a bag and hunt for spring treasures! Search for flowers, leaves, twigs, and hunt down different textures – soft feathers, smooth pebbles, sticky plants and silky petals. Ask kid campers to check the woodland floor, in the trees and among the bluebells. What other spring treasures will they find? 3) Build a den: This is a great way for children to encourage teamwork. For the best dens, kids will need to get creative with different woodland materials: fallen branches, sticks, twigs, logs and moss. Maybe add camping equipment such as tent poles and pegs, and older kids could get creative and make a front garden with a fence of sticks plonked into the ground. 4) Leaf long jump: Make a gigantic leaf pile (the bigger the better) and let battle commence Greg Rutherford style. Of course, the time of year might mean that there are not enough leaves for a game, but then, there's always mud. But only if the camper responsible for washing is guaranteed a cool reward beer. 5) Sticky hat: Give the kid campers a piece of cardboard with double-sided sticky tape attached and ask them to make a hat, collecting natural objects. This could be free choice or maybe have a colour theme. You could even ask the little ‘uns to create a pattern, or find specific items. 6) Catch the falling leaf: This is a great camping game for a windy Autumnal day. Ask the children to look up into the sky and watch the tall trees, waiting for a gust of wind. When leaves begin to fall, it's a race to catch one. The winner is the kid who catches the most leaves. But no cheating by picking leaves from the ground! 7) Tree-trunk balance beam: It's time for a spot of woodland gymnastics. Find a fallen tree-trunk that can be carefully walked along (with a guiding hand for younger campers). How far can your brave little ‘uns go without touching the forest floor? Extra points for straight arms, or a cute song.
Camping in the woods, is there anything better? Forest camping and glamping is one of the best ways to get back to nature and, if you're a fan of woodland camping, this collection of campsites in the trees is sure to whet your appetite.
Camping in the woods or 'forest camping' offers a truly unique chance to embrace and reconnect with nature. Thankfully, the UK and France are alive with natural woodland wonders, and here at Hipcamp we know the very best woodland campsites and glamping sites – perfect for your next adventure. So if you fancy camping in an ancient Devon forest, or want to find a secluded pitch among tall trees in a spectacular Scottish valley, you've come to the right place.