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Frequently asked questions about visiting woods

When can I visit a wood?
Where can I go in the woods?
What can I do in the woods?
I can't find my local wood on visitwoods.org.uk
Some of your woods are quite unusual... should I be visiting them?
I went to a wood featured on VisitWoods.org.uk and it was closed. How do I report this?
Can I take my cycle/motorbike/quad bike/electric scooter in to the woods?
Is this wood wheelchair/pushchair friendly?
Can I fish in the woods?
What is this plant/tree/fungus/bird?
How do I report a blocked public right of way?
How do I report a damaged stile or bridge?
I am worried about tree felling in a wood. Who do I contact?
I’ve spotted a tree which I think may be diseased. Who do I contact?
How do I report fly-tipping in my local wood?
How do I report a car that has been dumped in the woods?
How do I report a polluted pond, lake, river or canal in the woods?
I would like to set up a Forest School - can you help?
I’ve heard about a condition that’s been affecting dogs in woodland.  Do you have any more information?
 

When can I visit a wood?
Many of the woods on visitwoods.org.uk are open all day, every day of the year. Some woods have specific opening times and, where we have the information, these are indicated by the icon below.

If you are in doubt, you should visit the landowner's website to check whether any opening hours are in operation. Why not come back to VisitWoods.org.uk after your visit and share information about opening times with others? You can add the restricted opening hours icon by clicking 'Add more features' on any wood's home page.

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Where can I go in the woods?
All woodlands will have different levels of public access. Some will have clearly marked footpaths and trails provided by the landowner, others will include Public Rights of Way or Permissive Paths.

Some woods will have open access which means you can go wherever you wish within the wood.  The best way to check whether a site includes Public Rights of Way or Open Access is by looking at an Ordnance Survey map of the wood, available as a layer on the wood's map on VisitWoods, or at www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk.

Some woods will clearly show where you can go by displaying information at their entrances, but if you are in any doubt please check with the landowner.  Why not come back to VisitWoods.org.uk after your visit and share information about paths with others?

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What can I do in the woods?
Woods are a great place to relax and spend your free time. In addition to the obvious outdoor pastimes such as walking, running and nature spotting, there are many more unusual things you can do in woods.

Take a look at our articles for inspiration, download an activity sheet or come up with something new yourself. Many hobbies can be undertaken with the woods as a backdrop!

Different woods have different rules, so you should check the landowner's own website before visiting. For example, mountain biking is allowed in some woods and not others. Why not come back to VisitWoods.org.uk after your visit and share information about your activities with others?

Just remember not to do anything that damages the environment or is antisocial and always follow the Countryside Code.

Main landowners' guidance:

Other sites, not owned by these organisations, will have their own rules so please check their own websites.

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I can't find my local wood on visitwoods.org.uk
If you searched for the wood by name, check whether the woods are already listed, by entering the name of the nearest town or a postcode on our interactive maps. You can then move around in the map to see if it is already there but listed under a different name.

Some woods, where we have not been given a name by the landowner, have generic titles such as 'a Forestry Commission wood' or 'a private wood open to the public'. If you do find your wood, please let us know which wood it is listed as followed by the name you are familiar with locally.

If you cannot find the wood on the map, you can suggest the wood to us. See the next section entitled 'Adding, removing and amending woods”

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Some of your woods are quite unusual... should I be visiting them?
VisitWoods includes some unusual places, such as woodland burial sites. If a wood is listed on VisitWoods, we have been told by one of our partners that it is open for people to visit. If you get to a wood and signs say that access is not permitted, please obey these signs and let us know as soon as possible.

When visiting a wood that is a woodland burial site, or is adjacent to a cemetery or crematorium, please be sensitive to the needs of others. These woods are probably best for quiet reflection or a gentle stroll. Use the advanced search function to find a wood that best suits your needs. Using the advanced search you can find the local wood that is best for certain activities, such as mountain biking.

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I went to a wood featured on VisitWoods.org.uk and it was closed. How do I report this?
To report a closed wood please use the form below to contact VisitWoods.

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Can I take my cycle/motorbike/quad bike/electric scooter in to the woods?
Different landowners have different rules about what is and isn’t allowed in the woods. We are trying to find as much of this information as possible but we are a new project so we don’t have it all yet.

For the best information visit the landowner’s website where possible. There is usually a link to the landowner's website on the wood's home page. Always obey any signs in the woods which may overrule information given on this or any other website.

Why not come back to VisitWoods.org.uk after your visit and share information about the wood with others?

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Is this wood wheelchair/pushchair friendly?
We are trying to find this information, and some woods have already had guides produced by DisabledGo. More woods will have guides produced in the near future.

For the best information please contact the woodland’s owner where possible. Why not come back to VisitWoods.org.uk after your visit and share information about access with others?

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Can I fish in the woods?
As above, different landowners have different rules. Visit the landowner’s website or contact them for the best information. You will need a licence to fish anywhere. You can buy a fishing licence from the Environment Agency’s website. Why not come back to VisitWoods.org.uk after your visit and share information about fishing with others?

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What is this plant/tree/fungus/bird?
Unfortunately, VisitWoods cannot help you to identify a particular species, but there are lots of people that can. Why not try one of the websites listed below?

It's always best to take a photograph of the item rather than collecting it. You could upload a picture to the home page of the wood where it was found, and ask other VisitWoods users to help too.

iSpot

Get help identifying birds, plants, fungi, fish, invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians, mammals and lichens

Try Tree Index or British Trees For tree identification

Try the RSPB's Bird Identifier for bird identification

Try PlantLife for wild plant identification

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How do I report a blocked public right of way?
Contact your local highways agency. You can find contact details on the DirectGov website or by calling 08459 556575.

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How do I report a damaged stile or bridge?
Contact your local highways agency. You can find contact details on the DirectGov website or by calling 08459 556575.

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I am worried about tree felling in a wood. Who do I contact?
A licence from the Forestry Commission is required to fell trees to help protect Britain’s forests. If you are concerned about tree-felling you should contact them in the first instance. You can find your local Forestry Commission office on their website.

Some of the woods listed on visitwoods.org.uk are managed for timber production. These are still great places to visit, but there may be signs of trees being felled or new trees being planted. In other woods, tree felling may form part of a management plan for the benefit of the habitats present. Logs are often left to form a habitat for wildlife, so you should not move or take away any logs without the landowner's permission.

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I’ve spotted a tree which I think may be diseased. Who do I contact?
You should report diseased trees to your local authority tree officer or to Forest Research. You can find contact details for your local authority on the DirectGov website.

To contact Forest Research visit their website.

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How do I report fly-tipping in my local wood?
You should contact your local council’s Environmental Health office to report fly-tipping. You can find contact details for your local council on the DirectGov website.

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How do I report a car that has been dumped in the woods?
You should report dumped cars to your local council. You can find the contact details for your local council on the DirectGov website.

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How do I report a polluted pond, lake, river or canal in the woods?
You should contact the Environment Agency to report any polluted water courses. You can find their contact details on their website.

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I would like to set up a Forest School - can you help?
Permission to set up a Forest School that is based in a wood would be granted by that wood's landowner. You can contact the landowner by visiting the wood's microsite (accessed via the link below the landowner icon on each wood page) or by clicking the 'Contact the Landowner' link which is present if the wood does not have a microsite.

The Woodland Trust only allows Forest Schools to be established by persons qualified as a Level 3 Forest School Leader.

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I’ve heard about a condition that’s been affecting dogs in woodland.  Do you have any more information?
There has been a condition recently identified (known as Seasonal Canine Illness) affecting dogs, which has been linked to a small number of woods.  At this stage, it is unclear what causes the illness and whether factors at individual woodland sites are a cause of the illness.  The illness appears to be active between the months of August and November and symptoms include lethargy, diarrhoea and vomiting.  If you have concerns about your dog, you should always take them to a vet to be checked immediately.  For further information and details of the sites where cases have been reported, the Animal Health Trust has a dedicated website on Seasonal Canine Illness.

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