Despite its small size, the United Kingdom is full of woodland and wild spaces. A holiday resort company, Away Resorts, recently looked at these places to figure out which are the most popular forests in the UK when it comes to Instagram posts.
The UK based company looked at hashtags on Instagram relating to 70 different forests around England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to see which ones got the most posts. They also used this to compile a list of the most popular forests in the UK (according to Instagram), places that “offer an escape from the noise and hurry of everyday life, a space of nature, peace and reflection.”
As of 2018, woodland covers an area of 3.17 million hectares in the UK. This covers 13% of the country’s total land area. 10% of this cover is in England, 15% in Wales, 19% in Scotland and 8% in Northern Ireland. While England may not have the most woodlands, it does have the larger collection of named forests. Consequently, of the 25 forests that made the list, 22 were in England.
These are the most popular forests in the UK according to Instagram
Occupying the top spot was the New Forest in Hampshire. The third largest forest in the country, it was created as a royal hunting preserve in 1079. It was also made a national park in 2005 and is known for its heathland, forest trails and the native wild ponies that inhabit it. As Away Resorts found, hashtags such as #thenewforest and #newforest were used 452,854 times.
Coming second is the Forest of Dean (used 102,955 times). Known for its mixed woodlands and its bright bluebells, it is certainly one of the oldest surviving ancient woodlands in England. It was also featured in Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, renewing interest in the site. In third place sits Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire (used 98,672 times), which has been immortalised because of the legendary tales of the heroic outlaw Robin Hood, who is said to have lived here with his band of merry men.
The entire list is as follows:
- New Forest, Hampshire
- Royal Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire
- Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire
- Epping Forest, Essex
- Hamsterley Forest, County Durham
- Delamere Forest, Cheshire
- Dalby Forest, Yorkshire
- Ashdown Forest, Sussex
- Thetford Forest, Norfolk
- Swinley Forest, Surrey
- Wyre Forest, Worcestershire
- Haldon Forest, Devon
- Burnham Beeches, Buckinghamshire
- Tollymore Forest Park, Northern Ireland
- Grizedale Forest, Cumbria
- Gisburn Forest, Lancashire
- Forest of Bowland, Lancashire
- Salcey Forest, Northamptonshire
- Hatfield Forest, Essex
- Macclesfield Forest, Cheshire
- Kielder Forest, Northumberland
- Whinlatter Forest, Cumbria
- Moors Valley Country Park and Forest, Dorset
- Friston Forest, Sussex
- Castlewellan Forest Park, Northern Ireland
- Galloway Forest, Scotland