1 Star 1 Star

Went to hamsterly today and loved it but on a bank holiday you pay extra to park which is absolutely disgusting, when I asked why I was told it was to pay for the extra staff. Right why have extra staff they are not needed for one,two you don't need anyone at the toll gate because you can use the pay machine and three I only seen one extra staff member and he was telling ppl why they had to pay extra what's the point there was no one patrolling about to check tickets on cars. So please someone explain to me what the extra money is for

anon, 25/Aug/2014

The Bank Holiday admission rate has been in place for 4 years and helps us cover the cost of managing the site on these very busy weekends. This not only covers extra staff for duties such as litter collection but also includes additional cleaning for toilets and provision of a skip to deal with the rubbish accumulated on site over the weekend. It is also worth noting that the admission fees have not changed since 2007 and you can visit on other less busy weekends for £3 per car or purchase a Discovery Pass for £40 which allows free entry all year (including Bank Holidays).

Forestry Commission Response
3 Stars 3 Stars

We had a great day out with godchildren at the gruffalo trail on Saturday kids loved every minute was good fun finding animals and gruffalo don't think there is any need to increase car parking on a bank holiday weekend from ■3 to ■5

Maureen, 24/Aug/2014
5 Stars 5 Stars

As a family we regularly visit. My grandchildren love to play in the river and I love to walk the dog. Shame some people have to spoil things and leave their litter (we actually picked some up and took it home ourselves). Only gripe I have is the extra charge on a bank holiday that I hadn't brought enough money for last year. 2 disappointed boys! Apart from that you'd be hard pushed to be bored.

Pauline, 19/Aug/2014
5 Stars 5 Stars

can I just say first of all what a brilliant location but I know u hire bikes but do u hire helmets as I have a bike just need a helmet

thank you

matto, 18/Aug/2014

Cycle helmets are an essential piece of kit and everyone who owns a bike should have one. You are very strongly advised to wear a helmet when cycling in the forest. Helmets are available to purchase from the hire centre or from all good high street cycle shops.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

I don't know how the earlier commenter can bleat on about "there are no bins to put our dog's mess in so we threw it -plastic bag

and all -into the forest" so let the insects, wildlife and humans deal with it. How utterly selfish! Do they realise how much it would cost to employ someone to empty the stinking bins that attract all sorts of vermin because I wouldn't like to do it and nor would they and the cost woulld mean more than the ■3 they paid. Simple solution -your animal -you come prepared to take it home. Thank you for the Gruffalo's birthday bash - my grandchildren are right now having a great time in the forest

Sue and my family, 16/Aug/2014
3 Stars 3 Stars

Managed a lovely walk, even though the signposts were not clear at all and there was absolutely no description of what each route consisted of! A good day out for ■3, however it would benefit greatly from some bins. In our two hours exploring we didn't see even a single bin, including in the picnic areas! Would have been more enjoyable if we didn't have to walk around with a full doggy bag for an hour. After searching and searching we had no choice but to throw the bag into bushes, much to our guilt. There were signs asking not to let dogs foul, but it wouldn't hurt having at least a bin at the end of the trail to put mess in if your dog just has to go.

Anonymous, 12/Aug/2014

Unlike a country park, Hamsterley Forest is a more wild landscape where bins dotted around would be out of keeping. Visitors are expected to help manage this habitat by following the Countryside Code which asks you to take all your litter home with you for disposal. By bagging your dog waste, this has created 'litter' which will not degrade naturally. We would ask that the forest is not littered in this way but you take it home - it is your dog after all! Bagging dog waste when out in the wider forest is not necessary - you can take a stick and flick it off paths and into deep vegetation where it will rot down naturally.

Forestry Commission Response
3 Stars 3 Stars

The signposting for the different routes is very limited making nearly impossible to find the dedicated off road tracks with no detailed maps to help but when you get there the tracks are very good just a shame there so hard to find

Anonymous, 5/Aug/2014
5 Stars 5 Stars

Great Forest for all ages and abilities, for dog walks and cycling. just please remember it is a forest, not a country park on the edge of town. I love this forest and think that the FC's common sense approach to rules and signage is spot on. The cycle trails are many and suit all abilities. I often do the blue route with my 8 yr old daughter, it takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hrs, signage is limited but obvious (its a forest after all), and if you do get a bit lost isn't that 1/2 the fun?. If anything some simple berms somewhere along the blue route, with a few flowing trail sections rather than so much forest road, would be a great addition, the red and black trails are great. Its a breath of fresh air the forest has a strong environmental policy and promotes users to take responsibility for the own rubbish or dog foul. Its your rubbish so take it home, don't leave it or get angry if there is not a bin on every corner. As for dog mess, flick it off the paths into the ditches and undergrowth, it will rot away, if you do want to pick it up and put it in one of those little bags, take it home, your dog made it. For ■3 for a day its amazing value for money. The only thing that occasionally lets the forest down is the irresponsible people, who are ill prepared, leave litter, and winge about what there should do with there own mess, thankfully they are few and far between. Keep up the good work FC , oh and my daughter loves the Gruffalo

Anonymous, 5/Aug/2014
2 Stars 2 Stars

I got lost on the blue cycle track as there was literally no sign posts and no dog bins. SORT IT OUT!!!

Anonymous, 1/Aug/2014
2 Stars 2 Stars

Me, my Son, Wife and Granddaughter decided to take a look to this so called must see destination. We took two bikes with us so me and my son decided to see what all of this hype is about. We took the blue trail which is for intermediate bike riders, however about 5 minutes into the course we were lost because of the lack of sign posting. We examined the scale of the problem and we found out that the tracks crossed over which is very confusing and time wasting. We then finished this track and joined on to another trail which was called the green trail and it linked onto the blue trail. We were riding along the trail for 2 and a half hours, the signs were very limited and eventually ran out and we were lost. We then had to ride all the way back again using the same miserable route. It was labelled as the blue course however there was at least four hills that were steep and VERY long. There was very few maps so we could not find out our location and how to get back to the car park and no one to ask. It says it would take 2 hours however this is complete rubbish because any normal human would take a lot longer. It cost ■3 to enter but it was NOT worth this at all they pay you to ride there not make YOU pay.

Anonymous, 31/Jul/2014

Sorry to hear you had a poor experience on the Blue Cycle Trail. We have rangers on site this week checking to make sure the correct waymarking is in place. The Blue grade trail will be undergoing development this autumn to increase the amount of off-road singletrack which will improve the overall experience of the trail. Incidently, we currently have no green grade cycle trail in the forest and you may have strayed onto a walking route by mistake.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

very good day out, very good for my dog mandy and my daughter susan. the park area was super and we all had great fun. the only downpoint was that i felt that the area was pitted in dog foul, this was such a pity. my mum and dad both come aswell (my best friends) has also had a great time. they felt the park was also quite dirty in dog foul. sort this out!!!

Jonathan Hannothan, 15/Jul/2014
3 Stars 3 Stars

an ok forest, not very exciting but the bike track it great. great for dogs but not humans. 3.5/5 stars

Joe King , 14/Jul/2014
5 Stars 5 Stars

very good day out, i took my camera to take pictures of the trees and wildlife. rain or sun it doesnt matter. i would visit again in the summer and i hope other people enjoy it too :)

Ronan Coates, 14/Jul/2014
5 Stars 5 Stars

great family day out, very dog friendly, would defo go again with my family (my best friends)

Jonathan Hann, 14/Jul/2014
1 Star 1 Star

very bad, worst experience ever. rubbish on floor!

Ronan Coates, 14/Jul/2014

"As Hamsterley is a large 2000 hectare forest and not an urban park, we do not provide dog bins. We rely on dog owners following a code of responsible behaviour. Ideally, dog waste should be bagged and removed from site as with any other rubbish/waste. Alternatively, owners can use a stick to flick their dog's waste off car parks, picnic sites and paths into uncut undergrowth where it will rot down. Irresponsible owners are a problem all over the country and only serve to give the majority of law-abiding owners a bad name." Oh I see. After our picnic I rather stupidly put my litter in my bag and took it home with me. I should have saved myself the bother and just flicked it into the undergrowth and allowed it to eventually rot down. I bet if I dropped litter I'd be fined or banned from the forest yet dog owners are allowing their dogs to do much worse without consequence. Why are their no signs threatening irresponsible owners with a fine?

N Medina, 8/Jul/2014
1 Star 1 Star

Beautiful forest sadly littered with dog dirt. It is absolutely everywhere. (My friends no longer visit the forest as apparently it is all over the cycle tracks as well).Something needs doing about it and fast. Won't be returning.

N Medina, 6/Jul/2014

As Hamsterley is a large 2000 hectare forest and not an urban park, we do not provide dog bins. We rely on dog owners following a code of responsible behaviour. Ideally, dog waste should be bagged and removed from site as with any other rubbish/waste. Alternatively, owners can use a stick to flick their dog's waste off car parks, picnic sites and paths into uncut undergrowth where it will rot down. Irresponsible owners are a problem all over the country and only serve to give the majority of law-abiding owners a bad name.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Drove over today from Leeds(2hrs drive) and I got to say it's definitely worth the trek, unfortunately some of the red section was closed but the parts that were "oh my days " awesome !! I even pedalled back up for another go. It was either here or gisburn and I'm glad I chose hamsterley. Keep up the good work trail builders great job.

Aj Davey , 15/Jun/2014
5 Stars 5 Stars

Awesome place for mtb'ing! Been 3 times in 6months the 2 hour drive from Yorkshire is worth it. Will be going again soon.

Ghost, 30/May/2014
5 Stars 5 Stars

1st of all i would to say i have been visiting hamsterly for over 30 years and i love it i buy the yearly pass i bike and walk i am a support worker and take my clients who have dementia they also love it for the peace and quiet.I agree more benches is a must i cant believe anybody who would complain about the cost when you consider what you pay to shop in durham for a couple of hours and one of my pet hates is the greedy people who park outside to save ■3.00 and then ride for the whole day on 2-3 thousand pound bikes or walk in ■150.00 boots they should be ashamed of themselves never mind they know who they are.I will continue till i am old and grey visiting hamsterley and be proud to buy my yearly pass.

B R, 27/May/2014

Just to let you know regarding the picnic area ( as you drive along forest road, past green man,over the bridge and past the turn off for middle Redford. The green area on your left with the 3 picnic tables). If you go over to the far end of the field down to the river (has sign saying 'danger deep water'),there is a tree with three 30ft trunks on the other side of the river bank. This time last year the tree was upright and safe. Now it is leaning 45 degrees over the river and nearly reaching the other side. Looking at the base of the tree it looks as if it could fall at any time. As that bit of river bank is popular with children and picnicers, I would strongly suggest that someone has a look at the tree in question. It looks like it could be removed with one big push. I have also noticed that someone has tied a rope swing to one of the branches. Im afraid its a possible fatal accident waiting to happen.

Anonymous, 24/May/2014

Thank you for alerting us to this tree. We will assess the tree for stability as soon as we can.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

great day on sunday the 10k run very well managed amazing weather well bit hot .

tim smith, 21/May/2014
5 Stars 5 Stars

First visit on the bank holiday weekend. Had a great day on the bike trails, not at all to busy. Unlike some other people I thought ■5 per car was very cheap, there were 2 in ours so ■2.50 for a days biking on great trails is nothing. In the lakes it will cost about ■6-■7 for the day and sometimes they don't even provide toilets!

PAUL, 11/May/2014
2 Stars 2 Stars

Can anyone actually say when all the forestry work will be completed , first it was February then another month due to bad weather ,, Easter and still not completed and you had the nerve to charge 5 pound to park with less than half a forest available to use , this is getting ridiculous , the way the trails and forest looks when I was there on Tuesday this will not be completed well into autumn , seriously fed up regular

Geoff Anderson , 7/May/2014

Sorry for the inconvenience the operational work has caused you. All trails were open at Easter and at the recent bank holiday weekend. The work on the Grove Link is essential tree work to ensure the sustainability of this part of the forest and will enhance the area in the long term. The work has been delayed due to contractor availability, a situation which is not what we would like but unfortunately is beyond our control. However, this work will be completed by the end of June at the latest.

Forestry Commission Response
1 Star 1 Star

We decided to go to Hamsterley Forest for a nice afternoon in the trees. What we got was Highway robbery in the ■5 parking fee ( which is hiked up on a bank holiday from its normal ■3) it quickly became obvious that they were cramming as many cars in as physically possible to increase profits. I realise a Bank Holiday is always busy but I would have had a quieter more tranquil day at Appleby Horse fair. Sadly the beautiful forest has been claimed by Mountain bikers and is being used as a cash cow. Lovely place badly managed

Alistair Brown, 6/May/2014

Please note our general admission rates have not increased since 2007! The increased charge on Bank Holidays has been in place for four years now and reflects the increased costs we have to manage the site on these very busy days (extra staff on site, more waste disposal, more cleaning of loos). Remember, if you buy a Discovery Pass it allows free entry all year including Bank Holidays.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

Visited for the first time today (for me) with our dogs. Had a lovely time. although one thing I would say is that on a bank holiday weekend, when you in increase the price to park, it might also be useful to increase the toilet facilities by having some portaloos around the site?

Dave, 5/May/2014
1 Star 1 Star

■3 to enter that rises to ■5 on a bank holiday??? For what a cafe and a toilet. Do not waste your money felt totally stressed out so many people impossible to relax

ABrown, 5/May/2014

Sorry you feel the cost of admission was too high, but we believe you would be hard pressed to find another a day out for a family of four for £1.25 per person. Even on busy days, you don't need to walk far from the car park to enjoy the tranquility of the forest, yes but wise to visit out of Bank Holiday time for that completely laid back feel.

Forestry Commission Response
1 Star 1 Star

/I have been walking the paths of hamsterly forest for over 30 years and I am digusted by the facy that in recent years its become a haven for so called mountain bikers . where are the mountains . hamsterly used to be a place of tranquillity and a loving retreat from the working life but this has been destroyed and devasted by the rule of rubber and the myriad of new "trails" dedicated to the cyclist . hamsterly used to be a heavenly place to stroll with family and friends but now it seems no where is sacred from the constant fear of being run over by cuclists . poor hamsterly R.I.P . gone but not forgotten

paul, 27/Apr/2014
5 Stars 5 Stars

Took the ponies for a hack in the forest today and had a great day as always. Unfortunately my daughter left her riding hat in the cafe and is hoping it can be posted back to us as we don't just live round the corner. Other than that we had a fantastic day. 😊

jo, 27/Apr/2014
4 Stars 4 Stars

Had a great time walking the orange trail in the forest. Only complaint is the rude 'descend bike park' people carrier which as it overtook our car yelled abuse at us through the passenger window. Totally unprofessional

Peter, 21/Apr/2014
5 Stars 5 Stars

We have been for our first visit to Hamsterley Forest today and thought it was fantastic. The gentleman in the information centre recommended the 4.5 mile orange walking route and it was perfect. Beautiful views, lovely quiet areas for our 2 terriers to be off lead and we found a lovely spot for our picnic. Our children also enjoyed the walk as well as the play area and ice cream at the end! A very enjoyable Good Friday

Julie Hammond, 18/Apr/2014
3 Stars 3 Stars

I came today for first time and love the place but must say the cycle routes are very poorly signed and I honestly got list a couple of times and unaware of what colour route I was on or which way to turn next and this really did put a dampner on whole experience and after asking people the way a few times I know I am not the only one who feels this way . I'm sure you put a lot of effort into looking after forest and this is something that would not cost agreat deal to correct and would really make it so much easier and enjoyable I hope you take these comments on board and please try to do something about it as I know it would be greatly appreciated by myself and I'm sure many others .

Mark, 13/Apr/2014
1 Star 1 Star

the callendar is absolutely useless no mention of Northern downhills event on Sunday.. we went a long way only to have to turn around as Transmission was OOb's get your calendar sorted!! oh and the cafe was closed sso mum couldn't get her cake?

Dave Whisler, 31/Mar/2014

Sorry the closure of this trail section affected your day out in the forest. Yes, this event was not on the calendar and we will make sure events that affect the trails are put on in future - please also read 'latest news' which features trail closures. The cafe was open serving takeaways only and cakes were available for mums!

Forestry Commission Response

Some 40 years ago my great aunt Caroline Greenwell arranged with Mr Walton, the warder at the time, for me and my brother to be able to fish on the Spurlswood between Blackling hole and the bridge downstream of Greenless hole. I realised at the time how lucky I was to be able to fish the beck. At the age of 53 I would really like the chance to revisit the stream and fish it again. Are there any plans to permit catch and release angling for the wild brown trout in the streams running through the forest in the near future? I presume by the lack of publicity and the fact that I have seen so few anglers in the forest that day tickets are not available at present. I would be grateful for a response

Paul Tyreman, 12/Mar/2014

Fishing is not permitted on the streams in the forest for conservation reasons. The becks are one of the best spawning grounds for salmon in the North of England.

Forestry Commission Response

Camping areas would make the forest a better place to visit with the kids

Gareth, 9/Mar/2014

Hi, I walk every day in the forest and believe there are other walks that could give visitors a great experience but if they don't know they will not be able to access them. Is there anyone who looks at new trails?

Lynne Bainbridge, 21/Feb/2014

Waymarked trails are designed to provide an introduction to the forest for those who are not familiar with the geography of the area. Once confidence is there that you won't get lost, regular visitors on foot are free to explore anywhere in the forest that takes their fancy.

Forestry Commission Response

I have not been here yet so can you tell me Are dogs allowed ? And is there any camping ? Or anywhere to overnight stay ? Thanks

Paris, 11/Feb/2014

Dogs are welcome as long as they under control (not necessarily on a lead). Unfortunately, there is no camping allowed within the forest.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

Walk in the forest at least twice a week. Beautiful location and many varied walks long and short. One major complaint though. Why the lack of seats/benches? Off the top of my head I can only think of 4 or 5 in the whole of the 5000 acres. Spoils a good long walk if there is nowhere to sit and have a sandwich etc for 10 mins. Surely with all the wood available even inexpensive make shift benches could be placed in quite a few suitable places. Would make the walking a lot more pleasure.

Ian, 31/Jan/2014

Benches are items that you can never have enough of, but you are right in 5000 hectares the benches we do have are can get lost in the scale of Hamsterley. We have recently purchased a new stock of picnic benches for locations in the forest and they will be sited over the coming months.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Great day out, really well looked after forest with some great biking & walking to be done. Will definitely come back with family!

Ben, 30/Dec/2013
3 Stars 3 Stars

As a regular mountain biker at Hamsterley, I feels it is a great facility for riders of moderate to expert level, however much more could be done to improve the forest for cyclists of all levels as well as other users, as is the case with other commission owned forests. I would like to second the comment made by a previous review, in that the woodland drive, which also forms part of the "family friendly" blue route is dangerous at times due to irresponsible drivers, driving at speed through the forest, I know that the forest cannot be expected to change a minority of people stupid behaviour, but could do more to slow vehicles down. I usually do not cycle on the road and stick to the red and black off road trails, however recently took my two children aged 8 / 10 to the forest for a cycle. On two occasions I had to pull out in front of a vehicle traveling at speed, to force it to slow down, as it drove past myself and my children. The commission chargers ■3 for every car, and weekends are very busy, the majority of whom are cyclists. So a considerable revenue is generated from parking alone. If the commission provided some funding towards future trail building - rather than just relying on the good nature of the trail builders charity, and put proper speed humps and reduced speed signs right along the woodland drive, this could be a truly outstanding facility.

Anonymous, 4/Dec/2013

We are looking into future options to further reduce the use of forest drive by introducing more vehicle-free trail options. Ongoing investment in the forest's facilities will continue with some exciting developments planned for 2014 - watch this space.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

this was my 1st visit here although i live so close to here. this is a great place to go for biking. the red course is great. when i went it was so busy here and i understand why they were here for the fun filled places were you can go on your bike.

charlie howard, 28/Oct/2013
3 Stars 3 Stars

I write to urge cyclists to exercise great caution using some of the roads into Hamsterley forest because of very aggressive driving by an operator of Crew Buses and Cycle Trailers. I visited the forest with my 9 year old daughter last Sunday 3rd August 2013. Cycling downhill on the road from Windy Bank Road to Grove house we were overtaken by three vehicles, the first a white LDV crew bus towing an empty bicycle trailer, the second a silver ford transit double cab and the third another white LDV crew bus with empty bicycle trailer. The first vehicle passed within 12 inches of us at high speed, the second also passed at high speed but clipped my shirt sleeve, the third was driven past with more consideration for vulnerable road users. I don't know if these vehicles are regularly driven in the forest but the careless disregard shown by the drivers of the first two vehicles for the safety of my daughter and I was breathtaking. I cycle regularly on the road in busy towns and cities and am used to riding in traffic but was staggered to encounter such aggression in Hamsterley Forest.

Anonymous, 7/Aug/2013
5 Stars 5 Stars

Visited the forest while on vacation from Canada. My wife and son and I loved it...beautiful and peaceful place. The ranger guy in the office was so helpful and made us feel real welcome. The tea room was quaint and enjoyed tea and cake....lovely

Jamie Tucker, 14/Jun/2013
5 Stars 5 Stars

I did the Riverside Walk with my 3 year old abd she loved it. She even had enough energy left to have a run around in the play area. Easy to follow. Finished the day with chocalate cake in the tea room

Louise, 20/May/2013
3 Stars 3 Stars

We got lost a number of times, other people were asking up which way to go... It would be good to get more sign posts to know which route you were actually on. Very warm day on 06.05.13

Anonymous, 9/May/2013

Walking trails are waymarked by round discs on metre high square posts while bike trails are square tiles on taller posts. If you think any of the trails are poorly waymaked, let the rangers at the information point know which one so they can be checked.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Lovely, beautiful place. If you're doing the walks, the orange markers look red and the yellow looks orange due to weathering so get up close to the posts to be sure you're doing the right one! (we weren't haha)

Nikki, 5/May/2013
5 Stars 5 Stars

Great fun! Love to explore the forests with my family.Fab for riding bikes too! I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good day out.

Lauren, 7/Apr/2013
5 Stars 5 Stars

Great fun! Love to explore the forests with my family.Fab for riding bikes too! I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good day out.

Lauren, 7/Apr/2013
4 Stars 4 Stars

Good on the bike this place. Only problem is people exploring walk up the bike trails then they talk to you like your doing something wrong! Next time I won't be in such a hurry to stop and I'll run your kids straight over!

Dan, 1/Apr/2013
5 Stars 5 Stars

I live in Hamsterley and use the forest everyday. It is wonderful and full of wildlife, just he perfect place to spend some quaity time.

Anonymous, 26/Nov/2012
5 Stars 5 Stars

Took my kids here for the first time last weekend they walked 2.5miles and they loved every minute of it :-)xx

Anonymous, 13/Nov/2012
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