Haunted forests and spooky woods

Cracking twigs, branches catching in your hair, and creeping tendrils of mist swirling around your ankles - there’s no doubt that woods can be spooky places sometimes. Feeling brave? Venture into the depths of our spookiest woods to uncover historical horrors and spine-chilling legends.

Spooky woods near you
Cycling on the estate at Blickling, Norfolk
Walking trail

Great Wood, Blickling Estate, Norfolk 

The eeriest route through the woodlands at Blickling winds its way through the oak and beech trees of Great Wood to the Mausoleum, built in 1793 to commemorate the 2nd Earl of Buckingham. Blickling was the ancestral home of the Boleyn family, and Anne Boleyn's father, Sir Thomas, is said to haunt the woodlands and grounds, having been cursed for failing to stop Henry VIII from executing both Anne and her brother. Anne herself is said to appear here on 19 May – the anniversary of her execution.

View from the Sailor's Stone at Hindhead Commons
Walking trail

Hindhead Commons and the Devil's Punchbowl, Surrey 

At Hindhead Commons, a brutal murder took place in 1786. On his journey from London to the Portsmouth docks, a sailor was killed by three men he'd befriended in a local pub. Make your way through the woodland and up to the summit at Gibbet Hill, where you can discover the stone that marks the spot where he met his death.

Visitors looking into the River Lyd at Lydford Gorge, Devon

Lydford Gorge, Devon 

Tucked away on the edge of Dartmoor, this ancient wooded gorge is awash with myths and mysteries. Follow the path to the Whitelady Waterfall, named for the ghostly figure that is sometimes said to appear nearby. If that's not scary enough, you can imagine that you're back in the 16th century when a notorious outlaw band called the Gubbins are said to have made their home in the gorge. Just make sure they don't steal your sheep.

Sunrise on Pinkneys Drive common, Berkshire

Maidenhead Thicket, Berkshire 

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the stretch of the Bath Road that ran through Maidenhead Thicket was notorious countrywide for the number of highwaymen who patrolled along it. The dense vegetation allowed them to spring from the shadows, rob unwary travellers of their possessions and then melt back into the darkness. One such highwayman who operated in the Thicket was Captain James Hind - among his many famous exploits was a failed attempt to rob Oliver Cromwell and his seven bodyguards.

A couple walking in the woodland at Rowallane Garden, County Down

Rowallane Garden, County Down 

Become lost to time and place when you investigate the folklore in the old wood at Rowallane Garden. It has been said that many fairies make their home among the trees, which is a familiar part of the local folklore here. Connect with nature and see if you can spot evidence of supernatural goings-on.

Path through the woods at St Marys Vale

St Mary's Vale, Monmouthshire 

Walking under the woodland canopy of St Mary’s Vale, you might catch the occasional glimpse of the Sugar Loaf mountain looming high above you. The whole place has an air of mystery about it, especially in autumn when the twisted tree trunks loom out of the mist, and the only sounds are the gentle trickle of the Nant Iago stream, and the bare branches creaking in the wind. According to local legend the area is a frequent haunt of Jack O’Kent the giant, so be careful how you go.

Woodland path at Wenlock Edge
Walking trail

Wenlock Edge, Shropshire 

Creeping through the gnarled and twisted tree trunks at Wenlock Edge, it’s easy to imagine that you might come across the ghosts of Ippikin, a 13th-century highwayman who made his home in the woods. Or maybe you’ll meet Major Smallman, who galloped his horse off the Edge to escape capture during the English Civil War. He survived the 200 foot drop, but his spirit is said to have returned here after he died.

Latest visiting update 

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