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.
Superworm is here!
If you enjoyed the Gruffalo and Gruffalo Child's trails then you'll love the new Superworm trail, based on the children's book by Julia Donaldson. Activity packs to go with the trail can be bought onsite at the cafe (£3.50 and include a special edition book). The trail starts on Saturday 14th March and runs to the end of October.
The information point, where you can pick up maps and leaflets, is open 9am-5pm daily. The cafe will be open weekends (11am-4pm) from November to Easter, then daily from this date to end of October. 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 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! Come and have a go on our brand new activity trail and practice your own version of forest 'free-running'! Can you get from one end of the trail to the other without your feet touching the ground?
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 (14 March- 30 September), the cafe serves soup, hot and cold sandwiches, and a range of drinks and home-baked cakes. Winter opening: October daily 11am to 4pm (5pm at weekends); November to February weekends only (plus daily between Christmas & New Year and February school half term week).
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?
Hi I was wondering if you are doin a Santa this year
2 StarsMark, 20/Sep/2015
Dog owners don't respect that the childrens play area is a dog free zone. Allowing them to run freely off leads around chilren playing in the park. The childrens superworm trail again dogs off leads running free approaching families with young children. Picnic again children couldn't relax pestered by dogs. There is no safe environment for children to walk, play or eat. (Rubbish left by visitors in the toilets and carpark, and the cafe serving bottles of orange juice best before June 2015. Only 3 months out of date)
Forestry Commission Response
Sorry to hear your visit was spoiled by the thoughtless actions of a few dog owners. We have created a dogs on lead zone between the two bridges nearest the visitor centre, so it is disappointing to hear this and the dog free play area signage is being ignored. We will continue to work with visitors with dogs to ensure they are aware of the need to manage their dog responsibly and thoughtfully. Your comments re orange juice will be raised with the cafe.
5 Starstonne699, 19/Sep/2015
Went today and was fantasic . wish there were more detailed maps available. Will be back again very soon