Now is the ideal time to soak up the colours and scents of autumn, and our ancient woodlands make the experience extra special
An ancient wood in autumn – with the golden colours, the impressive fungi and the abundant creatures – is a wonderful place in which to take a walk.
What makes it even more special is that there’s so little of it. In the UK, just 2.4 percent of our land is regarded as ancient woodland – that is, forest in continuous existence since 1600 (1750 in Scotland).
It’s irreplaceable habitat, as the complex biodiversity takes hundreds of years to build up, and these woods protect more threatened species than any other environment.
Take Wenlock Edge – an escarpment with the largest continuous stretch of ancient woodland in Shropshire. It’s home to the struggling hazel dormouse, and the National Trust, who own part of the edge, have put in a nest box scheme to boost their numbers.
Our first walk begins from just outside the pretty market town of Much Wenlock and heads along the top of the edge with terrific views of the Shropshire Hills, then back through the woodland that adorns the slopes of the escarpment.
Our second walk is just west of Wrexham town in popular Plas Power Woods. This woodland surrounds the River Clywedog, where several mills dot the valley. In years gone by this would have been something of an industrial scene, but these days it’s a mix of trees, weirs and people enjoying a day out in nature.
We enjoy what’s known as the Seasonal Loop – a route created by the Woodland Trust, who manage the wood. Keep your eyes peeled for kingfishers darting up and down the river, and keep your balance when using the stepping stones to cross the river!
ROUTE 1: Enjoy grand views and golden woodland from Shropshire's magical Wenlock Edge
ROUTE 2: Stroll through a wooded valley of mills in Wrexham