When you walk around Hamsterley Forest you are walking through a former agricultural and shooting estate owned by the Surtees family and centred on the Grove House.
The Forestry Commission purchased the land in 1927 and extended the planting so today the forest covers the steep valley sides of Bedburn, Euden and Spurlswood Becks and the high plateau of former moorland on the edge of the Pennines to the west.
In 1934, the Ministry of Labour set up a work camp for the unemployed in Hamsterley Forest, undertaking forestry work. During the Second World War Italian and German prisoners ‘enjoyed’ the tranquil forest surroundings when the forest played host to a PoW camp. The site of the camp is where the Bedburn Car Park is located today.
Three walks start from the notice board in the Bedburn car park opposite the cycle hire and two further walks start along the valley from Grove and Blackling Hole car parks. Map available here.