Hamsterley Forest is a delightful 2000 hectare oasis, sprawling along the sides of a sheltered valley. Visitors to Hamsterley have no shortage of options when it comes to forest adventure or a tranquil getaway from the hustles of modern living.
From wildlife watching and dark sky gazing to adventure play and high octane mountain biking, there is something here for everyone. Go on, explore!
Hamsterley Forest is one of Durham's most popular visitor destinations. To ensure that this continues, the Forestry Commission has commissioned a report from independent consultants on the status and potential of Hamsterley Forest for visitors. Read more.
6 amazing forests in 6 breath-taking locations. Chopwell, Gisburn, Grizedale, Hamsterley, Kielder, Whinlatter are the Super 6! Grab your bike and discover our exhilarating trails!
Stickman Trail is here!
Stickman needs your help to return to the family tree. A brand new Stickman activity trail has been launched which will be on site until the autumn. Activity packs cost £3 and will be available from the cafe and information point on weekends and school holidays until Easter, then daily after that date.
The information point, where you can pick up maps and leaflets, is open 9am-5pm daily (4pm Nov-Feb inclusive). Please note that the information point at times is unstaffed. The cafe will be open daily from March to end of october (10am-5pm) and then weekends and school holidays only at other times. Wood n Wheels cycle hire is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday (10am-5pm), and also daily during school holidays.
The walking trails will take you right into the heart of the forest for some spectacular wildlife watching opportunities. Early morning walkers may spot roe deer feeding, adders basking on rocks or even salmon leaping upstream on the beck.
Hamsterley is one of the top destinations for mountain biking in Northern England. Hone your skills on our training loop before exploring the wide network of trails, from blue grade right up to extreme downhill trails at Descend Hamsterley. Bikes available to hire from Hamsterley Forest Cycle Centre.
Calling all young adventurers!
Climb, swing, crawl, balance along the adventure play trail before setting off on a real adventure in the wilds of the forest. Explore secluded dells, build a forest hideaway or beachcomb.....in a forest! New for 2016 are some brilliant new Viking themed play areas, including the Ghostship, Dragon Swing, Thor's Workshop and Odin's keep....
Miles of waymarked horse riding trails through the high forest
Check out what's happening at Hamsterley using our calendar of events in the forest over the coming months.
Food and drink
After all that exercise in the fresh air, why not sample some of Hamsterley Forest Cafe's famous cakes? Open from 10am to 5pm daily until 31st October, the cafe serves soup, hot and cold sandwiches, and a range of drinks and home-baked cakes.
Hamsterley Forest has been awarded a CLOtC Site Provider Award. The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC) is the national voice for learning outside the classroom. This award recognises organisations which actively welcome schools onto their site/s for self-led visits and ensure that the sites and any other services provided meet the needs of schools.
Led sessions for schools and other groups are also available to be booked with our learning partner OASES.
What do other visitors say?
5 StarsAnonymous, 23/Aug/2016
Brilliant day out with kids hunting gruffalo, Everyone enjoyed themselves. easy to follow trail nice flat paths for the pram. all the staff polite and helpful. plenty of parking and picnic tables. would of liked to buy the kids stickman/gruffalo merchandise at the end of day
3 StarsGeoff Barber, 22/Aug/2016
Ran over to Hamsterley from Wolsingham entering the forest on the public footpath on Black Hill/Hamsterley Common at NGR NZ038305 where it becomes a public bridleway. Partway down the bridleway there are signs saying not to proceed any further but no alternative or diversion. There is no Highway Closure Order displayed which I beleive would be required assuming that one is in place .............. Having run such a distance we were not going to turn around and go back and the bridleway was clear and only bounded the harvesting area.
It would be so easy to post maps of harvesting areas on your website and clearly show "no go" areas. This would enable people to plan their routes and not end up in difficulties as so many people seem to be doing from the posts here on your site.
We had a clear run back once we had reached Euden Beck but it could so easily have been very awkward.
Forestry Commission Response
Sorry for the confusion on your visit. This appears to be signage warning of a forest operations site and we will review signage in this area to avoid future issues.
3 StarsAnonymous, 16/Aug/2016
Lovely Forrest but beware while the diversions are in place. We followed the blue cycle trail with our 2 young children, fully prepared for a more lengthy ride and aware diversions were in place on this route but we didn't expect to spend 5 hours in the Forrest trying to get back to the visitors centre. At one point the diversions just disappear and we were just met with 'road closed' signs. I know this wasn't just our error as we met other people at the same spot with the same issue and also with children in their group. We all made our way along the only track available which was not in any way rideable for a 5 and 7 year old. I did complain to the visitors centre and the gentleman was very apologetic but I just hope the diversions are made clearer as that could prove dangerous for young families.
Forestry Commission Response
Sorry to hear you found it difficult to navigate around the road closure. We have recently increased the prominence of the diversion signage which will hopefully reduce any confusion. It is hoped the road will be re-opened to non-vehicular access by the start of September.