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5 Stars 5 Stars

A great place too cool

Jess, 13/Jul/2016

I was so lost today when I encountered the closed road. I looked at the diversion map which was on the railings blocking the way. The diversion signs ran out very quickly. If it hadn't been for a kindly runner I would probably still be there. I use the forest every week and have a yearly pass which I have renewed for the past four years. I do agree with many other walkers that the bikes and kids take presidency.

Carol, 11/Jul/2016

Apologies for any confusion you experienced during your visit. Diversions have been set up for the Three Becks (orange) walk, Blue Cycle and Red Cycle (all of which start at the visitor centre) and lead these three routes past the worksite. Once back on the original route the diversion signs end. We understand that closing the main artery through the forest has caused confusion as the diverted routes are quite long and may not help you get to where you are heading if you aren't following a waymarked route.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

too cool

grate, 8/Jul/2016
5 Stars 5 Stars

What a great day out! The bike trails are really well set up and maintained. Seems to be a lot for families to do. We went on a day when the descend uplift was going on, we rode the red trail then sat watching the downhill mountain bikers for a bit-What a great set up and it looked like really good fun, if only I was 20 years younger and had their nerve! Brilliant to see the forest used for a variety of activities. I would definitely recommend to friends and family. And of course, will visit again!

Liza, 20/Jun/2016
3 Stars 3 Stars

Loved the visitor centre. Great cafe and very nice loos in the car parking area. I agree that 5 is excessive to park. We were walking and though we had a great walk, the signage for the walks was not good. The visitor centre map was ok but it's difficult to get your bearings in a forest and therefore clear way markers would help. We did wonder if mountain biking was the priority.

Anne Henderson, 17/Jun/2016

Thank you for your comments. Unfortunately, providing and managing the upkeep of toilets, café, parking areas, play equipment and trails does cost money, to which your car parking fee is a contribution. All our visitors are important, not just mountain bikers which is why this year we are making further investments in play equipment for our younger visitors.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

Been years since I've been last and the place looks great. Shame about the tyre damage to the tracks and the silly parking charges. 5 for anything over an hour is just greed.

Dave, 6/Jun/2016

Thank you for comments and I'm pleased you think the work we have undertaken to improve the visitor experience has been worthwhile. Unfortunately, managing a site such as Hamsterley does cost money and far from being greedy the income from parking charges only provides a contribution to overall costs of managing the site. Don't forget that Hamsterley is not just managed for recreation access but for wildlife and timber also. As the charge is per car, it still only works out as £1.25 each for a family of four. In addition, we also have an annual Discovery Pass for regular visitors.

Forestry Commission Response

Overpriced parking dog muck all over the play area abusive cyclists dirty nappies and dog muck bags all over stick man trail

Nature doesn't seems to matter . Miserable cafe staff . After 30 years of visits i wont be back

Anonymous, 4/Jun/2016

Thank you for your comments. I'm sorry and somewhat surprised the level of dog muck on the play area and Stickman trail were as you described on your visit. The play trail and play areas are checked and cleaned daily and over the past year we have noticed a sharp decline in the amount of dog mess found. This is in part due to the installation of dog bins at either end of the play trail which we have also dedicated as a 'dogs on lead' zone. We will continue to monitor the situation to ensure the play areas remain safe and pleasant zones for children to enjoy.

Forestry Commission Response

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

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