March 21 is the UN’s International Day of Forests – so what better way to celebrate than by rounding up the world's best tree-filled sites?
Here are some of the best locations out there:
1. Hallerbos, Belgium
Visit this Belgian forest at just the right time and you’ll be welcomed by a sea of colourful bluebells. Whilst bluebells are common in European forests, The Hallerbos – also known as the Blue Forest – is unique for the density and beauty of its blooms. In spring, you’ll see the 1,360-acre woodland floor transform into a colourful, floral carpet of millions of bluebells.
2. The Black Forest, Germany
Said to be the inspiration behind countless Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales, the Black Forest in Germany – also known as Schwarzwald – is renowned for its half-timber houses, picturesque villages and dark evergreen trees. It is also famed for the cuckoo clocks that have been produced in the region since the 1700s.
3. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Japan
If you’ve been planning a trip to Kyoto, you’ll know that Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is a must-see, where you can see bamboo trees growing in their natural state – tall, thin and lining the paths, it's almost otherworldly.
4. Waipoua Forest, New Zealand
Declared a sanctuary in 1952, the Waipoua Forest, located on the west coast of New Zealand, is arguably the country’s most famous kauri forest. Waipoua is an ancient green world of towering trees and rare birds and is the largest remaining native forest in Northland. It is also the home of Tane Mahuta, the country’s largest kauri tree, which is 18m from ground to the first branch, and 4m in diameter.
5. Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Costa Rica
Costa Rica's cloud forests – high-elevation forests that seem to sit in the clouds - are rare and occur only in tropical or subtropical mountainous environments. The Monteverde Cloud Forest is situated on both the Pacific and Atlantic slopes of the continental divide and extends over 35,000 acres.
Home to more than 400 species of birds including the famously shy Quetzal bird, Monteverde Cloud Forest is one of the few remaining habitats that support all six species of the cat family – jaguars, ocelots, pumas, oncillas, margays, and jaguarundis.
6. Stone Forest, China
The Kunming Stone Forest in China covers 96,000 acres and includes both large and small stone forests. The tall rocks look like stalagmites, creating the illusion of a forest made from stone. The formations were caused by the erosion of limestone and are believed to be over 270 million years old.
7. Sherwood Forest
The spectacular Sherwood Forest – formerly a Royal hunting forest – is not only famed for its Robin Hood legacy, but was chosen as one of the BBC’s seven natural wonders of The Midlands.