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How big is an acre? – Measuring Your Woodland ~ by Angus

How big is an acre? – Measuring Your Woodland

People who have not owned forestry or agricultural land can often find it hard to visualise what an acre looks like. This is an attempt to help you visualise how big an area one acre is.

An acre measures an area of land and is about 70 yards by 70 yards, which means about 4,900 square yards (or roughly 44,000 square feet).

A typical football pitch is about 110 yards by about 70 yards (the rules allow some flexibility in the size) so that a pitch covers about one and a half acres of field or, including the immediately surrounding land that goes with it, the football pitch takes up about 2 acres.

Another way to visualise one acre is as the area in which you could park about 150 cars. A typical supermarket, excluding the car park, covers about 0.6 of an acre (about 26,000 square feet).

A 9 acre woodland might be only equivalent to about 6 football pitches, but it will usually appear bigger than that for various reasons: you can’t see across it and a wood will have bumps and dips and other features, but the main thing is that a forest is three-dimensional. The trees give the extra dimension which makes a woodland so much more interesting and so much richer in biodiversity, and make it seem much bigger.

The other measurement often used for surface area is the metric measure – hectares. A hectare is precisely 100 metres by 100 metres and is much larger than an acre. About 2.47 acres make up one hectare, so an acre is only about 40% of the size of a hectare. One reason that acres, rather than hectares, are used in the UK is that, being a smaller measure, you get more of them in a given piece of land and it is easier to remember a round number of acres than a hectare measurement with a decimal point. However, one advantage of using hectares is that more detailed maps use grid lines where the distance between the lines is equivalent to 100 metres. The result of this is that each square covers exactly one hectare or approximately two and a half acres.

If you are trying to measure in approximate terms an acre of woodland you can pace it out as about 80 paces by 80 paces, though in woodlands people often take shorter paces so 70 yards may take more like 90 paces.

Posted in: Practical Guides, Woodland Activities ~ On: 13 December, 2007

50 comments so far

Ron Byng
14 December, 2007

Thanks, it puts things in prospective.
Now how big is my garden?

Ron Graham
14 December, 2007

Glad someone cleared that up, thanks.

Tracy Pepler
14 December, 2007

Well Ron, how many cars can you park in your garden? ;-)

I think that helps Angus! I certainly know that an 8 acre wood feels plenty big enough when you are looking after it!

Ron Byng
15 December, 2007

Does someone out there know me?
My last house had a large garden and I did actually have 24 cv’s in it.[Citroens}

Tracy Pepler
15 December, 2007

LOL :-)
I must have a special gift!
So, Ron, using Angus’s’s’s maths, that makes your garden smaller than a supermarket carpark.
Glad to help! ;-)

12 April, 2008

thanks now i no how big my land is going to be

27 June, 2008

It’s taken me 51 years to find out how big an acre is! Brilliantly and simply explained. I’m off to pace out the bit of land at the back of my house.

28 June, 2008

Excellent explanation, much better than the algebra way!!

24 August, 2008

That’s brilliant, I can now work out how big the horses fields are by just looking at them.

5 January, 2009

Thank you i needed to find out something about the rainforest inacres and now i can

10 February, 2009

Thanks iv just strided my pad out & its 90yds x 40ydy 3600sq yds just trying 2 work out how many houses i can fit in the garden cos times r hard & im getting fed up with mowing harlf an acre.

4 March, 2009

Thanks, hope to buy approx. 6 acres and needed to get some idea of size.

22 May, 2009

Thanks for this, now I can go and pace out my one hectare for my kins domain.

12 July, 2009

ok but 70 paces from where? i mean how do you know where to start?

Andy Triggs
7 August, 2009

Traci: start at the edge, but stride backwards as a normal forward stride will be too long.

8 August, 2009

thanks so much for the simple xplanation.it’s unbelievable that five years as a survey student,i am just getting to knw and understand what an acre mean

I an atkinson
25 August, 2009

Thanks I have to quote for 20 acres of woodland and I couldn’t visualise the size.

Adrian faife
18 January, 2010

any one help me find some woods near teeside area
or near north with pond or lake(2,3 acres)

paul redfearn_glen miller
14 February, 2010

can you tell me if i can buy up some arable approx 30 acres
land and turn that land into a forest.
with small lake

22 February, 2010

Thanks but i can’t figure out how big an eigth of an acre is….

4 April, 2010

I’ve been looking for something this simple for ages on the net. thanks very much!

9 April, 2010

Thanks! I’m a student, forever asking farmers “how many acres the animals are grazing” without having any idea how big that is! Now it seems so simple!

28 May, 2010

Can anyone help me? Looking for a small woodland Welsh borders area

28 May, 2010

Have you had a look at the front page of the website?
Hope that helps.

27 June, 2010

I am 11 and I was doing a rainforest subject and I needed to find how many yards an acre was, and I did! This site is really helpful. Thank you!
(By the way I got a merit for my subject)

24 July, 2010

my son just asked how bigs an acre, brill i will explain football picth,he will understand thank you, as my dad just bought 5 acres in wales for us all to enjoy,hoildays,campfires,planting,birds,wildlife,teepee up, what best ways for my children to grow up with, nature and wilflife,can’t wait for our first weekend stay,loving this site,so much to read and look forward to doing,brillant site!!!

21 March, 2011

Land for sale Exeter, Devon. Suit equine, orchard, meadow. South facing. 2/3 grass, 1/3 wood. Approx 6 acres but need to pace it out, now I know how.

21 June, 2011

Thanks a million. I am almost 80 and finally I have an idea about the size of an acre. Really grateful.

4 April, 2012

finally understood how big an acre is, wonder why it wasnt explained to me like this in high school.

Mick Mallender
17 May, 2012

How big is 3millon acres in respect to England please

Manj Singh
28 May, 2012

Thank you. Great help…

Google Calculator
16 June, 2012


if you google: england area
google calc tells that it is 50,346 square miles

if you google: 3000000 acres in square miles
google calc performs the conversion and tells it is 4687.5 square miles

so 3 million acres is about 9% of the size of England :)

Google Calculator
16 June, 2012

typo: 11%

Alden Tagg
26 August, 2012

One thing about an acre no one has mentioned here. An acre is any area of 43,560 square feet. Conceivably an acre could be 1 foot wide and 43,560 feet long. A square acre is about 208′ X 208′. Finding that in the field would also be a bit unusual.

21 January, 2013

Have just watched the final part of Living with Monkeys during the program the narrator stated 125 million square yards a week of forest is being lost to illegal logging,

17 February, 2013

hi looking at my deeds to the house, the land is 1 acre 2 rods and 39 perches.

could some please tell me how big the land is in laymans terms

thanks andy

25 April, 2013

Hello we are selling our 3 wood lots of 73 Hectares about 184 acres., a person asked me how many cords of wood are in an acre of land. I am in Sackville, New Brunswick, so not the B.C. woods where you would get a lot more cords per acre., so anyway any idea on an answer to this one?

Thank You,

damilola silas
2 May, 2013

firstly, I dont know the differance between acres and hectares, but now this website have explain it to me, though am a farmer and tractor driver do cheat me, but now is not so again. Thank you!

17 June, 2013

The best explanation ever for some of us visual people. Figures very difficult to put into perspective. Thank-you ever so much. Now I know how my 5 hectares is in a visual sense.

7 July, 2013

Tehre is this site as well which will help convert between different land areas: http://www.worldlandtrust.org/education/area-converter#.UdixTDtvPH8
hope it helps someone!

1 August, 2013

So very helpful!!!!

23 August, 2013

I have been longing to know the measurements of my land, now that I have known, its easy for me to plan for it productively.

Big up to you.

4 October, 2013

Thank you for your nice clear and reasonable explanation.

21 November, 2013

Thank you!! I purchased 1.25 acres of vacant land with nothing marking out the land so I had no real idea of the size of it. This was so helpful!

18 December, 2013

Thank you for clarifying my land situation, I had no idea

Mr Clark
26 January, 2014

Can anyone help? I own a round field so I can’t pace out any of its sides….how do I work out its size in acres? It measures 167metres in diameter equally at any point, which makes a perfect circle.

26 January, 2014

Well, you know the diameter (167 metres),
and hence the radius (83.5 M)
the area of a circle is πr2
(see http://www.mathsisfun.com/geometry/circle-area.html)

3.142 x (83.5)2 = 3.142 x 6972 M2 = 21907 M Sq

One acre = 4046.9 M Sq
(see http://www.metric-conversions.org/area/square-meters-to-acres.htm)

Hence 21907 M Sq is approx. 5.4 acres

Mr Clark
27 January, 2014

Thanks blogs, you have been very helpful.

7 April, 2014

A Big Thanks to Woodland.co.uk for the education and a BIG thanks to those leaving your post answering questions and your stories…


Stu H
18 June, 2014

Roughly how many broad leaved trees would you tend to plant for an acre of wood? I’m guessing roughly 1 every 6 feet = circa 1200 max?

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