If you go down to the woods today you could get a bit of a surprise. It seems that Britons are snapping up some areas of the country’s beautiful woodlands in their post lockdown desperation for open spaces.
Estate agents are apparently reporting prices have gone up by 25 per cent in the last 12 months and each plot that becomes available can have more than 50 inquiries from keen buyers.
So what is it like owning your own piece of forest?
‘At this time of year, it’s magical to walk into our woods in the morning as the sunlight illuminates the bluebells. A month ago, the ground was carpeted with wood anemones, and as they died the bluebells emerged,’ says Helena Douch, 72 who lives near Chesterfield in Derbyshire.
She and husband Colin bought their family home in 1977 and a public footpath meant that they were often overlooked by passing walkers, so when the Forestry Commission decided to sell some of the woodland, Helena and five neighbours decided to buy a chunk each.
During the first lockdown my husband and I would take lunch into the woods and eat it while watching the heron swoop into the pond. Colin also used that time to craft a bug hotel from wooden pallets. And our sons put up a zipwire for the grandchildren.
Every November it’s become a family tradition to have burgers and sparklers around a bonfire we build in a clearing and, pre-Covid, camp in tents.
When our grandchildren visit, they gravitate to our woodland, which is two thirds of an acre and borders the back garden. It’s wonderful listening to them playing’.
Helena Douch, 72, is a retired start-up business adviser and lives near Chesterfield, Derbyshire.
Fed up of aeroplanes from London’s Gatwick Airport flying over their home, Jane Hawkes, 45, decided to buy a two-bedroom cottage near the beautiful Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire.
When in 2015 the owner of nearby woodland died, Jane and her husband bought a chunk of it for just under £10,000.
‘My husband always says everyone should have their own piece of woodland to retreat to and now I totally understand why.
‘It’s the most beautiful space to wander through, although it’s not as tranquil as people imagine! On the contrary, it’s a hive of activity with roe deer and muntjac barking, birds in the trees and foxes, pheasants, badgers and hedgehogs rustling around’.
‘Thankfully, our wood is low maintenance and largely takes care of itself. Even from inside the house, looking at our woodland while I work makes me smile,’ says Jane, a consumer expert and author.