The outside of the new holiday lets. The black roof is fitted with solar panels and the light front wall is broken up by three big windows.

Staycation in the Forest

17 December 2021
Heart of England Forest

With the pandemic severely curtailing international travel, many people are choosing to holiday closer to home. As demand for staycations is on the rise, the Heart of England Forest is ideally placed for visitors to extend their stay in the Forest and truly reconnect with nature. Chris Brook, Commercial Director, highlights a variety of holiday options to extend your stay in the Forest.

Holidaying closer to home 

Many of us have noticed the environmental benefits of a smaller carbon footprint during the COVID-19 lockdowns. It has also prompted people to explore our countryside and realise the physical and mental benefits that immersion in nature can bring. It is perhaps not surprising that sustainable holidays are gaining in popularity.

There are several options for visitors to extend their time in the Forest by staying overnight or for longer. The Forest comprises a mosaic of habitats from flower-rich meadows to newly planted woodland, from ponds and other wetland areas to mature and ancient woodland. There are miles of public and permissive footpaths to explore from the doorstep to enable visitors to really discover the woodlands and get back to nature. 

Visiting by boat 

Close up of some canal boats moored to the bank at Dovecote moorings. River reeds and plants sit on the left side of the canal.
Riverside berths at Dovecote Moorings


If you are visiting the Forest by boat, there are two location for moorings. Forest Bank Moorings provides pontoon moorings in a picturesque flood-safe location for boats of up to 60 feet long. Dovecote Moorings has riverside berths for narrowboats, widebeams and cruisers. 

Our mooring sites are surrounded by tranquil countryside and provide electrical hook-ups, water points, calor gas, chemical toilet disposal, refuse disposal and dedicated berth holder car parking. Step off the boat and straight into Dorothy’s Wood and either follow the Founder's Trail to explore the arboretum or stroll along the River Avon to try and spot kingfishers and otters.

Aerial view of the flood-safe pontoon berths at Forest Bank Moorings with autumnal trees in the background.
Flood-safe pontoon berths at Forest Bank Moorings


Setting up camp 

Pilgrim’s Lock is in a meadow on the banks of the River Avon and is a certified Camping and Caravanning Club site with 5 pitches for either tents, caravans or motorhomes. The site provides plenty of space to enjoy the surroundings and a chance to explore the immediate locality. Head east and walk alongside the River Avon to the historic Anglo-Saxon settlement of Bidford-on-Avon or west to Welford-on-Avon. Both villages offer provisions and riverside dining options.

Touring caravan pitches are also available for Caravan and Motorhome Club members at Dovecote Moorings, with glorious river views and extensive facilities including electric hook-ups, water points, wi-fi, calor gas, chemical toilet disposal, and refuse disposal. For visitors with children, follow the family trail through Robert’s Wood and enjoy a paddle in Noleham Brook to cool off.

A caravan and tent pitched on a grassy area in front of some mature trees
Campsite at Dovecote Moorings


For visitors wanting to stay regularly in the Forest, we have a holiday caravan park at Dovecote Riverside Caravan Park. This is a small and friendly 38-pitch site, with riverside views. We currently have a couple of plots available for hire, ready for static caravans, including river frontage plots. The Cottage of Content pub in Barton is only a stone’s throw away. For those looking to stretch their legs further, why not follow the Heart of England Way long distance footpath which wends its way through much of the Forest, giving direct access to new, mature, and ancient woodlands.

Eco-friendly holiday cottages

Two brand new dog-friendly holiday cottages are available to hire from 1st October in the heart of the Forest near Dorsington. Two bedroom Acorn Cottage can sleep up to three people, and four bedroom Oak Cottage can sleep up to eight people. The two cottages have interconnecting doors and so can also accommodate large family groups of up to 11 people. Oak Cottage is wheelchair friendly with a ground-floor king-size bedroom and a wet room. 

Converted from a redundant agricultural barn, the cottages have high thermal efficiency and have an environmentally sensitive design. The oak cladding is FSC certified. Low energy mechanical and electrical fittings have been installed throughout. There are solar panels and Tesla Power walls to generate and store electricity. Electric vehicle charging points have been fitted. Even the furniture has been hand-crafted from reclaimed materials. The imported energy for both properties is EKO credited – 100% renewable and from energy farms that minimise their environmental impact and are not located in areas that affect bird and marine habitats. To encourage cycling as a means of exploring the area, secure bike storage is provided at both cottages.

Find out more about Oak Cottage that can sleep up to 8 people, and book today.

Find out more about Acorn Cottage that can sleep up to 3 people, and book today.

Stroll across to Colletts Pond to spot dragonflies and damselflies as they dart across the water. A walk through Dorsington Wood to see the spring and autumn colours, as well as the summer orchid display, is not to be missed.


The benefits of a Forest staycation

Aerial shot of autumnal trees next to a grassy path in Dorothy's wood
Autumn trees in Dorothy's Wood


By staycationing in the Heart of England Forest, you can benefit both the environment, by participating in more sustainable tourism, and your own health and wellbeing. All our staycation options are well placed to thoroughly explore the Heart of England Forest or as a base for touring with locations such as Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon, historic Warwick, and the Cotswolds close by. Wherever possible the charity appoints local contractors and suppliers in and around the Forest to support local businesses and benefit the local economy.

All profits from our staycation options are Gift-Aided to the charity, and so our guests are supporting our work to grow a 30,000-acre forest to benefit generations to come.