Ancient Woodland and Forest

Ancient forests are a precious remnant of the vast primordial woodland that once covered the UK. Some trees, such as yew, are the oldest living creatures on earth and some of those found in churchyards predate Christianity. Oaks can live to be thousands of years old, becoming hollow over time and with massive boughs that are perfect to climb. As a rough guide, an oak with a girth of 12 feet is about 170 years old.

Discovering such venerable trees, climbing up and into them and imagining their history can be a memorable experience. Older woodland, too, can offer excellent trees for climbing freestyle. Experienced climbers bring ropes and harnesses to penetrate higher into the canopy of tall trees, and some even string up special night-hammocks to sleep among the boughs.

If you bring your own rope, you can easily set up a tree swing. Use a smaller string with a stone to hoist a larger rope up over a branch, then tighten with a lasso knot. Or try den-building, which is the perfect activity in any woodland, and guaranteed to keep older children amused for hours.