Visiting a wooded area or forest in South Devon is something to be enjoyed at all times of the year by all ages. Whether it’s a romantic stroll in the winter months, a brisk bike ride during spring, a family day out in the summer or bird watching during autumn, whatever time of the year and whomever you’re with, the ever changing colours, wildlife and plants in the woods make it an enjoyable location throughout the seasons.

There are so many beautiful woods and forests to be explored in South Devon, and plenty of great activities to do whilst there, especially for families; it’s a great way to get the little ones (and older kids) to spend more time with nature and less in front of the television! With that being said, we have put together our top ten things to do when visiting the woods.

Build a Den

Finding broken logs, twigs and leaves is the perfect way to keep children active and engaged, why not collect as much as you can and use then to build a den for the kids to play in. If you’re struggling to find things big enough to make a den for yourselves, you could always make a home for the fairies or pixies! Just remember to only collect things that are on the ground and have already fallen, and only use natural building materials, that way when you leave, you needn’t worry about tidying or taking anything with you!

Cycling

Whether you want a relaxing bicycle ride through the bluebells in the spring or a bracing mountain bike jaunt in the autumn, taking to two wheels to see the forest is a fantastic way to exercise and cover ground in larger woodland faster. Plymbridge Woods is a great place to go cycling, with a family cycle trail to steer you through the towering trees.

Nature Rubbings

Pack up your kiddies backpacks with paper and crayons and head to a wooded area to do some rubbings. Simply place some paper over some bark or a leaf and use the side of a crayon to colour over the top, textured trees or leaves work best. You can do this anywhere but Becky Falls Woodland Park near Bovey Tracey is a great spot as they have plenty of rocks and trees to discover, the entry fee also includes access to all activities so there will be tons for your tots to enjoy!

Poohsticks

No matter your age, poohsticks will never get old. For children and adults alike the aim of the game is to see whose stick races down a river fastest after dropping them into the water from a bridge. You must each choose a stick and in unison drop them from the upstream side of a bridge, get to the other side of the bridge and the first stick to emerge from underneath is the winner! Whilst exploring woodland, keep an eye out for a stream or river with a bridge and you can play this game to your heart’s content.

Wildlife Spotting

Throughout the year our forests and woodlands in South Devon are graced with lots of species of bird, insects and flora. Take a visit to a nearby woods to discover what beautiful creatures and wildlife call this place home, one setting to head to is Stover Country Park, resting on the outskirts of Newton Abbot, Stover combines woodland with marshland and a large lake making it an ideal place to investigate the habitat. Don’t forget to take your camera too!

Walking

Strolling through the woods is relaxing and energising, getting back to nature is a peaceful way to spend an afternoon for all of us. Lydford Gorge, run by the National Trust is the deepest river gorge in the South West, complete with beautiful walks along the river path and a mesmerising cascading waterfall.

Activity Trail

One way to keep the kiddies entertained whilst being outside in the fresh air is to take them along to a forest where there are activity trails for them to do. Haldon Forest Park is near Exeter and has a wide variety of trails to discover; with walking trails, bike trails and even segway tours, there’s plenty for the whole family to get involved in! New to the forest is the Highway Rat activity trail, you can get the activity pack for just £3 when you visit the rangers office.

Create a Picture

Most children love to get hands-on and arty so why not let them collect things off the ground of the woods and use them to make a picture or sculpture. Either by laying leaves, twigs and pinecones on the floor, or by taking a few home and gluing them on paper, scavenging for items is a great way to keep kids active and entertained. Holyford Woods Local Nature Reserve is nuzzled in a beautiful valley near the coastal town of Seaton and is a great place to enjoy the wooded areas and the Stafford Brook.

Climb Trees

Whatever woods you end up, you’re destined to find a bountiful supply of trees to scale. Just make sure the tree you decide to climb is strong enough to hold your weight and little ones should always be spotted and supervised. If you fancy something a little more daring than just climbing trees you can find, why not take a trip to Go Ape! Haldon, where you can glide through the treetops on zip lines and make your way across high paths through the trees. River Dart Country Park also has high ropes and zip wires for the whole family to enjoy.

Have a Picnic

It may seem like an obvious one but often we’re all guilty of heading to the beach or a local park for our picnic during the summer, but why not take to the forest and combine it with any of the above for an exciting day out. Bellever Forest on Dartmoor is a stunning place to do just that, with tall trees, facilities and a picturesque open area great for settling down a blanket. There is also a tranquil stream and tor to climb if you’re feeling more energetic!

So, whatever your taste and whatever your age, visiting woodlands or forests in South Devon make for a fantastic day out throughout the year. Don’t forget to share your pictures of your great times with us on Instagram by using the hashtag #southdevon or by tagging us, @visitsouthdevon.

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