Lonely Planet Writer

Are these the most attractive forests in the UK?

A great way to get away from it all – without needing to book a flight – is heading to your nearest forest. The United Kingdom still boasts plenty of wild spaces, but some are more popular than others when it comes to racking up posts on Instagram.

The New Forest in the United Kingdom. Image by Tommy Clark/Getty Images

UK holiday resort company Away Resorts analysed hashtags on Instagram to find out which of 70 different forests around England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland get the most posts.

Ponies and frost covered grass in New Forest National Park, England. Image by ©Chris Balcombe/500px

If you want to know where everyone is going to get a great forest photo, then look no further than the New Forest in Hampshire, in the southeast of England. Despite its name, the New Forest was actually created as a royal hunting preserve back in 1079 and became a national park in 2005. While much of the land is actually heathland, getting out of the trees makes it easier to see the incredible wild ponies that live on the land. It’s no surprise that the hashtags #thenewforest and #newforest were used a total of 452,854 times, as the region is a top attraction for those who want to enjoy a bit of wild England.

Beautiful bluebells brighten up the Forest of Dean, England. Image by joe daniel price/Getty Images

Following behind was the Forest of Dean, which was used 102,955 times. As England’s oldest oak forest, the site was made England’s first National Forest Park in 1983 but saw renewed interest in recent years after important scenes from the film Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows were filmed there.

In third place is Sherwood Forest, made famous by the tale of Robin Hood and used 98,672 times on Instagram. The park is a top attraction from Nottingham and in 2018, a new visitor centre opened there.

It’s unsurprising that some of the more remote forests received fewer posts. But those may be the perfect places for those looking to get away from the crowds. Only one forest in Scotland – Galloway Forest – made it into the top 25. Two forests from Northern Ireland – Tollymore Forest Park and Castlewellan Forest Park – also made it into the top 25. Find out more about the forests and Away Resorts here.