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. 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.
If you enjoyed the Gruffalo Trail, you'll love the Gruffalo Child's Trail, which will be coming to our forest from Friday 3rd October. Sign up to hear more about our plans.
The information point, where you can pick up maps and leaflets, is open 9am-5pm daily. The cafe will be open weekends (11am-4pm) until 3 April, then daily from this date to end of October. Wood n Wheels cycle hire is open at weekends (10am-5pm), and then daily from the start of April. The toilet block is currently undergoing refurbishment and temporary toilets have been provided in the interim. It is hoped the new block will be opened by February half-term holiday.
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.
Calling all young adventurers!
Climb, swing, crawl, balance through the adventure play area 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! During the coming weeks, work will start on adding to our play offer with two new activity trails where balancing and climbing skills can be honed for the big adventure to be found in the rest of the forest. It is hoped the new equipment will be ready to use by March.
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 throughout the summer season (Apr-Sept), the cafe serves soup, hot and cold sandwiches, and a range of drinks and home-baked cakes. Winter opening: The cafe is open daily 11am to 4pm (5pm at weekends) in October and December up to the 21st. The cafe is open weekends at other times.