Down to the woods: five family forest adventures for 2022

To mark Earth Day on 22 April, consider a trip that celebrates all the natural beauty and diversity of the world’s forests.

By Mark Rowe
Published 20 Apr 2022, 15:00 BST
A family explores Sequoia National Park, California.

A family explores Sequoia National Park, California.

Photograph by Getty Images

1. Carmarthenshire 

In the foothills of the Cambrian Mountains, you’ll find Cwm Rhaedr, with its mixed woodland of broadleaf trees and conifers, including sky-high Douglas fir trees. Activities include mountain biking in the Tywi Valley and waterfall hikes with views across the Brecon Beacons. Book the beautifully restored Glan-yr-Afon Riverside Cottage, an 18th-century woollen mill that’s surrounded by meadows and mountain streams. From £597 for three nights, based on four sharing.  

2. Isle of Wight

A safe bet for spotting the elusive red squirrel is Brighstone Forest where, in the summer, you might also hear the call of the nightjar, a bird known as the ‘corpse hound’ on account of its rather chilling ‘churr’ call. Stay in an eco log cabin near Calbourne and fuel up on breakfast — with eggs laid on site by free-range hens recovered from a battery farm — before setting off into the woods. Tom’s Eco Lodges at Tapnell Farm Park has several options for families, from £900 per week, including log cabins and safari tents.

The vast pine forests of central Sweden are a superb place to enjoy a true back-to-nature experience. In the daytime, you can hike, swim or canoe before returning to enjoy a campfire dinner of locally sourced and foraged ingredients. Alternatively, set off on a guided moose safari at dusk, when these magnificent beasts come out to graze on track verges. Responsible Travel has a three-night eco-lodge break from £630 per adult, children (12-15) from £303, excluding international flights.

Red-headed barbet spotted at Mashpi Lodge, Ecuador.

Photograph by Carlos Morochz

4. Ecuador 

In Ecuador’s Choco cloud forest, more than 3,000ft above sea level, follow misty trails around species of flora found nowhere else on the planet, such as rare magnolias and orchids. You’ll also spot hummingbirds among the 400 avian species in the area as you pick your way between huge buttresses of strangler figs. Black Tomato offers five nights in Ecuador, from £3,875 per person including international flights and three nights’ full-board, at the eco Mashpi Lodge.

5. California 

The contiguous Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks are truly a land of giants. Inland from the Californian coast, you’ll find tree specimens that routinely grow up to 220ft high. Audley Travel offers a 21-day California Explored trip, including a visit to Sequoia National Park, from £4,535 per person, including international flights. 

Published in the May 2022 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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