5 Great Forests for a Holiday

Newly-released film The Hunger Games continues the Hollywood tradition of setting action sequences in beautiful, leafy forests.

The movie’s popularity has provided a boost to tourism in the US state of North Carolina – the home of the forest in which a gladiator-style televised contest takes place in the film’s most dramatic scenes.

Holidaymakers can now go on a Hunger Games-themed tour of North Carolina – the reason why the state is the number one location in this list of 5 great forests to take a holiday in.

1.     Du Pont State Recreational Forest, North Carolina, USA

Hunger Games’ tours take in a place called Big Ivy in Pisgah National Forest’s Coleman Boundary. This is where pre-Games scenes of Gale and Katniss hunting deer and birds with bows and arrows were filmed.

However, the real climax of the tour takes place in DuPont State Recreational Forest where you can see the waterfalls, hidden lakes, fields and fishing streams which provided such a dramatic backdrop in the film. If you’ve watched Hunger Games you’ll know to watch out for any bee-hives hanging from forest trees and realise that the birds in the treetops will happily mimic any tunes you care to whistle!

Find out more details at Visit North Carolina

2. Transylvanian Forests of Romania

If you go on a holiday to the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania you are sure to get the royal seal of approval.

In October 2011, Prince Charles gave his support to a campaign to save the Transylvanian forests from the clutches of developers and loggers.

Commenting on the campaign, our future king joked: “The genealogy shows I am descended from Vlad the Impaler [the inspiration for Dracula] so you could say that I have a bit of a stake in the area.”

Charles’ poor humour hides a serious point; the forests are among some of the last untouched wilderness areas of Europe. In the areas visited by happy tourists, zip-wiring, walks and rope adventures are popular activities. You can also visit a bear sanctuary and Dracula’s castle in a forest inhabited by brown bears, wolves and lynx.

3. Germany’s Black Forest

This is the scary forest where Hansel and Gretel met a witch with a taste for human flesh but don’t let that put you off! Measuring 120 miles long and 37 miles wide, the Black Forest is located in south-western Germany and has the Rhine Valley as its southern and western border.

An area so large naturally has an amazing variety of scenery near its pine and conifer trees – rivers, waterfalls, mountains, coal mines, lakes and moorland ensure that the human eye can never get bored on walking tours there.

Logging has naturally reduced the size of the actual forest but, considering that a third of Amsterdam was built on Black Forest stumps, there is still an amazing amount of foliage to survey as you breathe in the pine air.

No article with information about the Black Forest can fail to mention Black Forest Gateau and this article is no exception – don’t forget to sample this delicious mixture of chocolate cake, cream, sour cherries and brandy in one of the forest’s 13 Michelin-starred restaurants!

4. Ardennes, France

Travel to Chêne Perché (it translates as ‘Oak Perched’) at Signy-Abbey in the Ardennes region of northern France and you can stay in tree-houses which are perched as high as 16 metres off the ground.

These unusual living quarters are sturdy enough to support up to eight people depending on the model (and the weight of the people). Expert guides can help you follow the trail of badger, wild boar, fox and wild cat.

Find out more at http://www.lecheneperche.com/.

5. Sherwood Forest

[The Major Oak in Sherwood Forest: said to be Robin Hood’s hiding place. Photo by woodsboard.]

English folklore and forests have always had a close connection. Dick Turpin for instance, is said to have had a hide-out in Epping Forest.

Sherwood Forest is even more famous than Epping Forest – its history shows that it used to be the playground of Kings and Dukes who loved to hunt deer in its cool shade. Legend has it that Robin Hood was also hunted among the trees and steams – Robin is the outlaw who has made Sherwood such a popular tourist attraction.

The Major Oak is the place to visit for fans of this wealth-redistributing hero; it’s an oak tree which is reputed to be Robin’ principle hide-out.

The tree could be up to a 1,000 years old – if it could talk it would sure to have some tales to tell!

James Christie writes for Thomson Local, a great business directory in which to find details about travel agents