Cornwall is best known for its long sandy beaches and rugged coastline, but it also has beautiful forests nestled in valleys, coves and quarries.
For those looking for secret spots and off the beaten track adventures, Cornwall’s forests are a great place to start. And, sheltered as they are, these precious patches of forest are ideal destinations for a rainy day in Cornwall.
A walk in the woods is a real treat for the senses, with different things to see, hear, smell and touch. This simple pleasure even gave birth to its own concept of well-being; Forest bathing received official status in Japan in the 1980s when studies showed that two hours spent quietly in the company of trees resulted in reduced blood pressure, decreased stress levels, and improved concentration and of memory.
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We’ve put together a list of the county’s best kept secret woodland walks to help you get away from it all and indulge in a swim in the Cornish Forest!
Coosebean Woodland Enchanted Trail, Truro
Kids will love this Enchanted Trail in Truro, which is maintained by the Countryside Ranger for Truro City Council and its team, as well as many inspired volunteers and artisans. There are a number of fairy houses dotted around the woods, with secret messages, painted stones, and seashells to be found.
the Coosebean Forest Trail takes you along the Kenwyn River, close to Victoria Gardens. In winter it can become swampy and muddy – rubber boots are recommended. How many fairy houses can you spot?
Golitha Falls at Draynes Wood, near Liskeard
Not to be missed, Golitha Falls is a series of breathtaking waterfalls along the River Fowey, crossing the ancient Draynes Wood. Steeped in, the wooded valley has spectacular waterfalls that descend to 90 meters.
This ancient forest was recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086 and the River Fowey is still home to otters, sea trout and salmon. Winter storms can cause the river to swell, making it particularly impressive, but extra care should be taken when visiting after heavy rains.
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Kennall Vale, between Redruth and Penryn
Once one of Cornwall’s most important industrial sites and now a nature reserve, the woods around the River Kennall are dotted with the ancient granite ruins of a gunpowder factory.
Descend into the densely wooded Kennall Valley, you will only hear streams and birdsong. The buildings of the old gunpowder factories can still be found, but gradually invaded by the plants that surround them and covered with a soft layer of moss and ferns. It’s a great place for budding photographers!
Tehidy Woodland, near Illogan
Tehidy is West Cornwall’s largest forested area with over nine miles of trails and 250 acres of quiet woods and lakes to explore. There are several access points, making it easy to find quiet and peaceful routes.
These sprawling picturesque woods have walking trails, regular outdoor theater productions (you’re likely to encounter a stage or two on your hike!), And a cafe to refuel.
An area of the woods is set aside as a wildlife area with no dogs allowed, but other than that it’s a great place to bring an energetic dog. There is so much countryside to go through that you will have to keep coming back to cover it all …
Luxulyan Valley, near Par
The densely wooded land of the Luxulienne Valley played a major role in the tin and copper mining industry in Cornwall. The woods themselves were important for making charcoal which was needed in large quantities for smelting tin from the rich alluvial deposits of the heathlands to the northwest. Charcoal platforms can still be found near the nearby Chateau de Prideaux.
You can still explore many of the industrial remains of the valley, including old tram routes and the imposing Treffry Viaduct, which spans the site.
Trébarwith Valley, near Tintagel
Designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the beautiful circular woodland promenade at Trébarwith Valley has a beautiful carpet of hyacinths in spring.
With rare and delicate flowers and wildlife including deer and frogs, this is a wonderful woodland walk to add to your North Cornwall list.
Devchoys Wood, between Truro and Falmouth
Drive the busy road between Falmouth and Truro and you could easily miss this patch of old growth forest. Devchoys The wood dates from at least the 1650s, or perhaps earlier.
Rich in history, it contains many sessile oaks which bear witness to coppice, a traditional technique of forest management. For many decades this has shaped the forest you can walk through today.
Cardinham Wood, near Bodmin
Cardinham Wood in central Cornwall is perfect for an outdoor adventure in the woods and the chance to rejuvenate in the great outdoors. Secret glades, streamside paths, fresh air, and breathtaking views allow you to step back from the hustle and bustle of life in a haven of natural beauty.
Cardinham is also a great stopover on the A30 if you are heading in or out of Cornwall and need to stretch your legs!
Do you know of any other Cornish woodland gems? Let us know in the comments below