How big is an acre? – Measuring Your Woodland

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.

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The actual area of an acre is 4,840 square yards. Your approximations are useful but it would be nice to be given the full facts too

Robert Eagle

16 February, 2022

Thank you so much for sharing this has helped us immensely ✌️ have walked from England to see our land for the first time today ☀️
it was your site and inspiration that got us this far
thank you so very much santuaricatalunya.com


30 July, 2020

I know that there are strict rules regarding living on a woodland plot. Does this extend to lakes? For instance, would a person working on the woodland, planting trees and the like, be able to live aboard a boat on the lake itself?


31 October, 2018

Following on my previous post regarding moving to France and how much space we would need, how much woodland would one need to take firewood and not deplete the woods itself ?


10 April, 2018

Very helpful, it’s one of those things an acre, I have never been sure of it’s size now we’re onto hectares and I have even less idea. We are thinking of moving to France and trying to gauge what space wr need is priiving difficult. Can a family of 3 be self sufficient on 2 acres of land and one of woodland ?

Panda Waddup

10 April, 2018