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Love walking my to get far out away from the bike riders who think they own the place...most are polite...however even father out I was verbally abused when a speeding 35/40 mph at a guess ...sped passed .... what is this place coming too?

John, 15/May/2016

An amazing place to be...usually best through the week as weekend full of abusive cyclists going too fast and rude if you signal to slow down. One nearly hit my child as he was at a speed he couldn't slow down.....what a shame the place is slowly getting worse.....

Enjoy while you can.

Anonymous, 15/May/2016
4 Stars 4 Stars

First visit for cycling, did the red routes, what a brilliant combination of single track, climbs, spectacular scenery, then the play parks, we did Transmission, Accelerator and Nitreous. Congratulations to the CRT manager and cycle route design team. We were disappointed at the debris of plastic drink bottles and inner tubes discarded by cyclists along some of the routes. Not a good advert for environmental respect from forest users.

Kim Watt, 17/Apr/2016
3 Stars 3 Stars

Been coming to the Forest for over 40 year as a child myself and a mother and grandmother, been there recently and must say I'm shocked at the damage the bikes are doing to the tracks, it's do dangerous in some places wormholes flying all over, and some of the riders are so rude, it's not a pleasure to come for a walk now as you have to dodge he bikes, it's spoilt now as nature has taken a back seat to bikes, very sad,

Sharon Black, 11/Apr/2016
5 Stars 5 Stars

Visit at least twice a month and thoroughly enjoy every visit. Lots of new play areas for children to enjoy. Being a senior citizen I find the walking trails a joy but was dismayed to find seat overlooking meadow no longer there. This was a lovely place to sit and watch the world go by and have a rest

Anonymous, 11/Apr/2016

We will be installing new benches and picnic tables over the coming months and replacing the damaged bench next to the meadow is one of those on the agenda.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

We always enjoy forest but took kids on stick man trail and I think we were quite dissapointed that there isn't a large stick man at the end,it would be gud if this could be made thanks

H, 10/Apr/2016
1 Star 1 Star

went to hamsterly forest today for the first time in a good few years. Took my 8 month puppy and two older dogs. I was disgusted at how very little area we had to let our dogs off of the leader. all of the parts of the river we used to go in and play with our dogs it much more accessible now with children's play trails where we then can't let them off the leader. The whole family is vey disappointed that after a two hour walk we could only let our dogs off for ten minutes. Maybe there should be for trails for dogs for no bikes and children at the parents decision. My dogs are not vicious in anyway and would never hurt children. Just very disappointed in the change hamsterly.

what happened to hamsterly being dog friendly? , 10/Apr/2016

Sorry to read you were disappointed in your visit to the forest. The 'dogs on lead' area is a relatively small zone on both sides of the river between the bridge below the visitor centre and the next bridge upstream at the main play area - a total of 800m or 1/2 mile of path. The rest of the forest walking trail network is available for dogs to be walked off lead as long as they are under control.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

brilliant place to visit , ive noticed a lot more for the younger ones to play on this year, you can walk or cycle at all levels and easily spend a full day .visits to the web site will tell you of any forthcoming events ,my little ones always liked splashing about in the stream when possible , lots to do, take a ball , take a bike , walking boots , picnic ,fishing net to list but a few. I recommend the discovery pass if you visit often enough.

mr michael smith, 7/Apr/2016
5 Stars 5 Stars

This place is great and has come on leaps and bounds in the eight years I've been visiting. I use the forest trails for running and mountain biking, both are excellent and worth the trip from further afield (wasn't always the case for mountain biking but now is).

The staff work hard to keep the place tidy and it really shows. Keep up the good work!

Local motorists on the forest drive are courteous if you're out on foot or bike.

If you have kids the children's play areas will keep them entertained for at least a few hours and then there's the wider forest to explore.

The only comment I'd make is that the otherwise excellent cafe was a little cramped the one time I used it (I can understand the need to maximize the number of seats), but to be honest I'd rather be outside!

A discovery pass is a must for regular visitors.

Cheaper than therapy, 6/Apr/2016

Hi can you tell me your policy on dog waste ? Im confused i always picked up and was then informed not to by a warden . I was told to kock it into the forest as so many peopke were leaving discarded poo bags. Thank again

Confused, 5/Apr/2016

To clarify, this is what we would like you to do with your dog's waste: 1. Bag it and bin it in the dog bins around the children's play trail or 2. Bag it and take it home for disposal or 3. If out in the wider forest, use a stick and flick it into deep undergrowth (such as nettle or bramble) where people unlikely to walk/play

Forestry Commission Response
1 Star 1 Star

Firstly, let me set this straight; the 1* rating is purely for the tea room (as they like to call it) and not for the forest itself. If it wasn't for what we experienced today by a certain waitress in the cafe, then this review would definitely be 5*.

We arrived today at lunch time (27th March - Easter Sunday) so decided before we set off with out nearly 2 year old little girl on the stick man trail, we'll go and eat our lunch somewhere in the forest. However, the weather decided to knock all plans on the head and the heavens opened. We took shelter in the annex part of the 'tea room' and made sure our little girl was dry and comfortable, as any good parent would.

Having a picnic area directly outside the door and garden-like furnishings inside the annex, we presumed we'd be able to eat our packed lunch there.

We began to eat our lunch. Suddenly, the cafe door swung open and a waitress in a very rude, loud and bolshy manner said "can you put your food away. You can't eat your own food in here. Look, there's a sign (pointed to a very poorly place and badly typed up A4 poster). You'll have to put it away or eat elsewhere' and as quick as that, closed the door again and went back in the cafe leaving us very embarrassed because the volume of her voice caused the crowd in the annex to stop and look at us. She never gave us a fraction of a second to begin to explain our situation.

A very angry Mammy! , 27/Mar/2016

Sorry to hear your trip did not live up to expectations due to an incident in the cafe. I do know that on Sunday the cafe was very busy and there was a queue for tables hence why you were asked not to eat your own food at their tables. If you would like to discuss the incident further with the cafe manager, please forward your contact details to the email address on this page and we will pass this on so you receive a personal reply.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

We had a lovely visit on Good Friday however it was marred by the ridiculous parking arrangements. Having been waved past the payment machine on entry by one of your employees, we were given no guidance as to where to park and ended up in a field with no payment machine or instructions on how to pay. Returning to our car we found a parking ticket warning us of further fines if it wasn't paid. We had no intention of not paying. Clear instructions could have avoided us leaving with a ' sour taste'. It was not a welcoming attitude to any visitors and ruined a lovely day.

Anonymous, 26/Mar/2016

Thank you for your feedback which we will take on board for future exceptionally busy days. The staff waving you past the toll point at the entrance were doing so to prevent a traffic jam on the entrance road. They should have also informed you of the payment options available once you had parked. We'll make sure this information is passed on in future.

Forestry Commission Response
2 Stars 2 Stars

Great day out to do your own thing but if you want to go to any of the events then expect to pay exorbitant prices!

Anonymous, 14/Mar/2016
5 Stars 5 Stars

Just got my annual pass (best 40 you can send) and I will be on a mission to locate benches (commemorative or other) within the forest.

I try and use these benches as a place to have a break half way through a walk in the forest.

So far I have found the following:

54 39 43.9 N 1 57 34.89 W

54 40 41.32 N 1 53 50.17 W

54 38 34.01 N 1 57 43.54 W

54 38 28.24 N 1 56 35.10 W

54 40 07.39 N 1 52 38.76 W

54 40 08.61 N 1 52 55.47 W

Is anyone aware of any others?



John Brown, 12/Feb/2016
5 Stars 5 Stars

Had a great time there Today we went to do the stick man trail. A lot longer than the gruffalo trail. It was nice to see the Gruffalo's child as when we did the Gruffalo trail that wasn't there. We thought we were doing great on the trail but we couldn't find the swan picture. I went back round again to see if we missed it but still couldn't find it. I assumed it was near the bridge and it has broken off. We still had a great time. My Daughter loved walking in the mud and it was a lovely family day out. We will be back again and again.

Anonymous, 7/Feb/2016
4 Stars 4 Stars

We just had a lovely day with the family. Our children had a great time running, climbing exploring the forest. We also took our dog who had a great time too. The superworm trail was fun & the children loved it!

Hayley , 19/Oct/2015

Bought a walking stick from there at a very nice price also spoke to the gentleman who makes them, they alll look very nice, i do recommend people looking for one to use or just to show to have a look in the cafeteria where they are placed.

Anonymous, 15/Oct/2015

Hi I was wondering if you are doin a Santa this year

Anonymous, 6/Oct/2015
2 Stars 2 Stars

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)

Mark, 20/Sep/2015

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.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Went today and was fantasic . wish there were more detailed maps available. Will be back again very soon

tonne699, 19/Sep/2015
4 Stars 4 Stars

On my mountain bike today I hit a dog on a shared trail. I told the owner the dog should be on a leash, what is the forest policy for controlling dogs?

Graeme, 22/Aug/2015

Sorry to hear about the accident. Dogs should be 'under control' at all times - not necessarily on a lead.

Forestry Commission Response


I visited Hamsterley a couple of years ago and measured many trees with my laser whilst I was there but had heard rumours of tall Sequoiadendron at Hamsterley but failed to find them? The tree in the link above, 200 feet, 61 metres, I measured the Sequoiadendron on the corner nearly spot on this location and which I think must be this tree as 33 metres, c110 feet, is this the tallest at Hamsterley or have I missed something very tall?

Thank you for your time and help.



Rob Lynley, 15/Jun/2015

I don't believe there is a tree anywhere near 60m tall at the location you mention (next to Grove House) or indeed in Hamsterley Forest. The tallest redwood trees around there are in the region of 30-40m in height. Happy tree hunting!

Forestry Commission Response
2 Stars 2 Stars

Well horses cant go on cycle tails but bikes can go on horse trails.bikes seem to come first.

Im not impressed

Anonymous, 14/Jun/2015

Cycle trails are a mixture of forest road and purpose built single track. Where the trail is on a road, all users share access. However, the single track sections are rode at speed and sharing with horses would be very dangerous as I'm sure you would agree. The mountain bike community have raised a lot of money and dedicated a lot of time to building their single track trails. Without this support these sections would not have been built and cycle trails would still be entirely on shared forest road, as is the current situation with horse routes.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Been walking Hamsterley forest for years. Fantastic walks and wildlife.

Last visit on 27/05/2015. Cool!

Jay, 31/May/2015
4 Stars 4 Stars

Been a couple of years since visiting Hamsterley. We had a lovely afternoon spent in the forest with the kids. Plenty of well-behaved dogs (and owners), no noticeable littering. A few cyclists who could be slightly more courteous around walkers and children, but the forest is multi-user! Kids enjoyed the playground, their only gripe is the lack of a gift shop which seems to have disappeared.

Martin Stand, 25/May/2015
4 Stars 4 Stars

Always a fantastic walk out, sometimes spoilt by the odd idiot but even the country side has those. I do think dog owners should always take ownership of animal foul. If there animal is deep in the undergrowth no problem leave it where it is foxes do. If it's on the path ways or roads move take it with you, you wouldn't leave it on your path in your garden.

Longngood, 10/May/2015
1 Star 1 Star

Too many dogs off leads running around without any supervision by owners. with so many children using the Forest dogs should always be on a short lead like you expect in the countryside. shocked and disgusted how many dog bags were all over the area.

Gary, 4/May/2015

Ridiculous to leave the issue of rubbish and dog waste to a hope that people will take their rubbish home! Large waste bins will last years and they should be sited around the forest . It is common sense.

Dave, 3/May/2015

Thank you for your comments. It is saddening to read that you don't believe people should take responsibility for their own rubbish. Unfortunately, even if we were in the position to provide and maintain large numbers of bins, those who will discard their rubbish in the undergrowth will likely still do it - bin or no bin.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

I think one dog waste bin in the visitors car parking area would certainly not create an adverse impact on the forest as it would be within an area dominated by a visitor center, a cafe, car parks, toilet blocks, picnic benches, large footbridge, adventure play area, trim trails, sculptures, Tarmac road, Forestry Commission office and cycle hire. Not a town park no but also not highly remote wilderness either. Give it a try, you might be surprised!

Anonymous, 15/Apr/2015
4 Stars 4 Stars

We love the Forest and really appreciate being able to walk our dogs so freely. 40 a year is well worth it.

We are however sad to see bike inner tubes discarded, energy drink bottles thoughtlessly floating in pools and full dog poo bags hanging from trees. Thoughtless people won't disappear but perhaps volunteer litter picking sessions widely advertised might raise awareness amongst all user groups.

KEEP our Forest CLEAN!

Sara Jenkins, 12/Apr/2015

Area was enjoyable, but the total lack of dog waste bins is unacceptable. This shows the forestry commission to be totally ignorant towards some of the persons who pay to visit this area. Why not display that bins are not provided before you take our money. The comments on here and other persons we spoke to on our visit show that you could do a lot better .

John Cockroft, 10/Apr/2015

The reasons why there are no bins in Hamsterley Forest has been covered on previous posts, but in summary Hamsterley Forest is a countryside site, not a town park so the level of facilities you may expect to find are different. We operate following the Countryside Code which states visitors should take their waste home with them. We do not provide bins for litter, BBQ waste or dog waste. Bins for specific purposes, such as dog bins, would attract everyone else's rubbish and be expensive and intensive to manage. To help us manage the forest we hope that dog owners take responsibility for their own dog's waste by either bagging and removing for disposal at home or if in the wider forest, flick the waste off paths and into deep undergrowth (such as nettles) to decompose.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

We have had a lovely day here today with the children and our dog on a wonderfully warm spring day as we followed the Superworm trail. It was a lovely surprise to see the wooden Gruffalo too which is still hiding in the deep dark wood. We read on the website that it had now gone. My one big shock and disappointment was the total lack of a dog waste bin. As a responsible dog owner I cleaned up my dog's waste from the footpath near the car park but found no where other than the cafe bin to put it. A member of staff explained there are no dog waste bins. As a publicly funded body that actively encourages families to use this forest, it is just one of the first basic things to do in an area heavily used by children playing and families having picnics. To have a policy that expects the visitors to store dog waste in their warm car all afternoon is totally unacceptable.

Jo, 8/Apr/2015
4 Stars 4 Stars

We went to Hamsterley today and had a really nice day, the only point that seemed to be a problem for many people was the lack of bins for dog waste. This was apparent around the routes we walked, owners had been responsible and picked up after their dogs but because there was nowhere to put the waste, we saw lots of the plastic bags dotted about and tied to trees etc. Unfortunately it seemed quite a few people had put their dog waste in the bin outside the cafe and given the hot weather, wasn't nice to be near. Are there any plans to rectify this?

Richard, 6/Apr/2015

Thank you for your comments. The current policy is we expect dog owners to abide by the Countryside Code and bag and take their dog waste home with them. In the wider forest it is acceptable to use a stick and flick the waste off paths into deep undergrowth where it will decompose naturally.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

As a regular visitor to the forest over the past xx years I feel the parking fee of 3 (soon 4) is the best 3 you can spend.

What does puzzle me is the high number of cars parked at Windy Bank side roads, The Grove access road from Windy Back, and also Blacking Hole who are not paying any parking or entrance fees but still want to enjoy the rewards of the forest, walking their dogs and riding their bike. Cars are even parked along Redford Lane at the ex-booth site in order to avoid paying.

I feel that there should be more enforcement which will secure more finance so these people can contribute to the up keep of the forest.

John Brown, 15/Mar/2015

John, thank you for your comments. Not surprisingly, I agree with you regarding Hamsterley Forest being the best value day out around! Raising the admission charge is not something that is done lightly but is necessary to continue to invest in the site (it is also the first increase in 8 years). Even knowing that the money is used to maintain and improve the facilities on site, some people are always going to find a way of entering without paying. We will continue to promote what we do at Hamsterley and hope those individuals see that their contribution is important for the forest to continue to be the best value day out in the Northeast.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

With reference to my previous comment you still didn't answer the question , why the event wasn't listed ? I was there at 09.30 struggled to get parked

geoff, 24/Feb/2015

The event calendar is designed to promote FC and partner events for visitors to book onto. Where an event is anticipated to have a major impact on other visitors, such as car park or trail closures, we endeavour to flag these up in advance on a 'latest news' banner on the top of this page. Although the Duathlon event you refer to was not the only cause of the parking difficulties you encountered, we will review future timetabling of events to avoid potentially busy weekends such as February Half-term.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

Not impressed today , not only was the event held in forest today. Not listed in events but sections of car park barriered off till 11 am , with the amount of cyclists walkers etc that come on a Sunday this wasn't very good , I use the forest at least twice a week , if I had known about the event beforehand I wouldn't have come today , adding to someone else's comment about events I would have thought you would have sorted this

geoff, 22/Feb/2015

Thank you for your comments. Sunday's event was a duathlon and had about 60 competitors. The event did not close any sections of the trail network. Only one section of the car park was closed to allow for a starting point for the race, covering about 25 car parking places. These were all available by 11am. The forest was exceptionally busy for a February weekend as it was half-term, and the majority of visitors were not associated with the event. For example, we have sold over 200 Gruffalo Child packs to families this weekend.

Forestry Commission Response
1 Star 1 Star

Absolutely fuming. Been to the forest today for my weekly ride here round red route. While i was on my way up to transmission via the popular short cut i noticed there was some sort of mtb race or time trials on. I rode past three marshals on my way to the top which is a decent climb only to be greeted by the 1st marshall at the very bottom of the hill who clearly had a very nice drive to the start of transmission only to tell me i cant use the track as its closed for time trails. She told me it was sign posted down the bottom. Bottom of what exactly? Needles to say i ignored her a went down anyway.

Would be helpfull to put notices up next to parking machines to alert people of whats going on.

You cant charge the parking fee if your going to close the majority of the red route or any other route.

Danny, 15/Feb/2015

Danny, sorry the information wasn't displayed more clearly. Occasionally sections of trails are closed for events and we endeavour to post this information in advance. This event was advertised widely by the local Trailblazers Mountain Bike group but this information obviously hasn't reached a section of visitors. We'll have better information posted next time.

Forestry Commission Response

Could you put post code Ono a reasonably easy place to find, like the front page of the website.

David, 13/Feb/2015

Sorry! Glitch sorted and postcode appears where it should - below the map on the right hand side of the page.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Myself and my son visit Hamsterley every weekend to ride the trails. The forest is in great condition, well looked after with fantastic staff on the ground as well as the girls in the Cafe. I would just like to add to the comments about dog dirt. Having visited some 200+ times I recall only once ever seeing dog dirt. To complain of this about the forest is wrong, if you want to blame anyone blame the dog owners who don't clean up after their dog. But as I say I have never witnessed this issue.

Rob, 10/Jan/2015
4 Stars 4 Stars

Hi Hamsterley is a fantastic mtb fun area. I agree with people taking responsibility for their environment(see comments about litter etc) and I enjoy the red and occasionally the black runs. The cafe and bike hut have always been great and friendly. Locals seem to short cut to the good flowing trails and this is well worth doing if you eant to pack in as much fun as you can into your day

Iain, 27/Dec/2014

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.