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Hi , could you please say why the cafe was closed on Sunday?

Terry, 17/Jan/2016

The café closes for a couple of weeks every January, to allow staff to take holiday and to carry out essential maintenance work at what is usually a very quiet time of year. The snow on Sunday resulted in an unusually high number of visitors.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

Regular user of Whinlatter. Personally if I go for a walk I try to park at other parking areas because the charges are so high if I am doing Lords Seat and Barf. I also have a disabled son and am a regular visitor with him as while he cannot fully utilise the walks etc he loves to sit in the cafe or on the balcony watching the little birds and having a cuppa and a biscuit. He also likes the gifts, books etc in the shop and we invariably buy something there as well.

Unfortunately you have done away with the free disabled parking so our visits will become less frequent as the free twenty minutes is not a lot of good by the time we get from the car park to the cafe with a disabled kid.

While it may not seem a lot of money most disabled people have low incomes and even the 2 parking fee mounts up if you liked to visit a couple of times a week, especially when you add on the other costs, coffee snacks gift shop purchases etc. Why have you decided to make visits by disabled people less of an option for them. From my point of view it was a callous, purely business related decision that totally disregarded the needs of disabled people.

Still, I have now started going for my walks down the Borrowdale Valley and Keswick is very disabled friendly for my son with plenty of places he likes to go and sit so all is not that bad.

Mark, 13/Jan/2016

Thanks for giving us the opportunity to explain the recent changes to disabled parking. We work hard to try and provide facilities for everyone to enjoy the forest and we do rely on the support of our visitors to manage and maintain the facilities that we provide. The recent change to ask disabled visitors to also pay for parking is in line with other organisations across the Lakes. The revenue we receive from car parking goes directly towards maintaining and improving the high standard and wide range of facilities available to visitors as well as supporting sustainable management of the forest and conservation of wildlife habitats. As you say you often visit a couple of times a week, buying a Discovery pass for £45 would be a great option for you. This gives you year-round parking and other benefits including discount in the shop, whilst supporting the forest. Visit www.forestry.gov.uk/pass for details.

Forestry Commission Response
1 Star 1 Star

Shall not be coming back again as car parking is a daylight robbery. 45 p for 20 mins

Have you considered the people who want to spend a couple of hours watching the wildlife and having a cupper...These people will only be stung once

David , 7/Jan/2016

The Forestry Commission is non-profit making and your money for parking will go directly towards maintaining and improving the facilities you use on your visit. The money we receive from car parking also contributes to the sustainable management of the forest including our recreation facilities and conservation of the rare and special wildlife that the forest provides habitat for. The pay on exit system provides great flexibility and we feel great value for money with the small incremental timings, rather than needing to buy a block of time at a pay and display machine on arrival. If you feel you don’t want to support the forest through paying for car parking, we do provide a number of free car parks a little further away from the main facilities. I hope you will return for more enjoyable visits in the future.

Forestry Commission Response

Did the blue trail in the rain yesterday it's very short by other trail centre standards. Would give dine it again but being soaked to the skin put us off so we visited the cafe instead.

As others have said the car parking is expensive. I thought salty was bad at 7 but at least they drop it to 4 in the winter months.

I have a discovery pass but it only covers Sherwood pines. I would pay a little more to have one that covers all FC centres.

Richard, 12/Nov/2015
1 Star 1 Star

Sorry, but I'm absolutely disgusted. As a resident of Cockermouth I have been using and enjoying Whinlatter for many years. This morning I took my two year old for a walk on the Gruffalo trail, but turned back after it started raining.

Using the new car park paying system, I was charged 2 for what can't have been anymore than half an hour on the site. How is 2 for half an hour justifiable? I feel utterly ripped off. Robbed. Surely that can't be right.

It's a real shame as I will not be using Whinlatter again. It's a fantastic, even special, place, but not at the expense of being/feeling ripped off.

I would appreciate a reply justifying, or not, how 2 reflects 30 minutes of use.

Many thanks.

Richard, 8/Nov/2015

We work hard to try and provide facilities for everyone to enjoy the forest and we do rely on the support of our visitors to manage and maintain the facilities that we provide. The Forestry Commission is non-profit making and the revenue we receive from car parking goes directly towards maintaining and improving the high standard and wide range of facilities available to visitors. I’m sorry you were unhappy with the parking charges but we do believe that the new parking system offers more flexibility and better value for our visitors, as you now pay for the time spent on site rather than needing to purchase a block of time on arrival. We have changed the charging structure so that visitors can now stay for up to 20 mins free of charge. The first hour then has a flat rate of £2. Any additional time is then 45p per 20 mins. So I think it sounds like you had just run over the 20 mins free time on the day of your visit. I do hope you will continue to visit end enjoy the facilities we provide. If you’re a regular visitor you might like to consider buying a Discovery Pass which would provide you with year-round parking as well as a wide range of discounts and other benefits. Go to www.forestry.gov.uk/pass for more details.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

We hugely enjoyed our family visit to the car rally today, accessible for people of all ages. It was nice to see groups of people enjoying this once a year fun car event. The organisers were friendly and guided us carefully into designated safety spectating areas. Great lunch in local pub, a fantastic family day out despite the wet weather.

Mr Nichol, 7/Nov/2015
4 Stars 4 Stars

Had an excellent ride around the south loop, love the mountain biking. Unfortunately when I went to pay for parking at the new machine at the at the far end of the car park. I walked up to the machine and,as it was dark the light from the screen made it impossible to see the step and I tripped and injured my leg. Better lighting please, someone could get hurt.

Rob, 13/Oct/2015

Thanks for getting in touch and great to hear you had fun on the Altura south loop! Sorry to hear of your difficulties in the car park, the ranger team will take a look and make some improvements around the new parking machine.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

What a great place. Something for everybody. Cafe is lovely. Staff very friendly. Great walks. Car parking far too expensive, though.

Tom, 1/Oct/2015

Thanks for letting us know you've enjoyed your visit. We work hard to try and provide facilities for everyone to enjoy the forest and we do rely on the support of our visitors to manage and maintain the facilities that we provide. The revenue we receive from car parking goes directly towards maintaining and improving the high standard and wide range of facilities available to visitors. Our Discovery Pass offers great value if you visit the forest regularly, offering free parking as well as other benefits, go to www.forestry.gov.uk/pass for details.

Forestry Commission Response

I think you need slightly bigger signs about the new parking system. I went into drop my bike off at Cyclewise and didn't realize it had changed - hence I exceeded the 20 mins free, might make me think twice before I call in and go to Keswick instead. I notice the parking charges are out of date on this page too - all day is now 8 up from 7.30 presumably to pay for the new system? I know facilities are provided but that is getting pretty steep. No doubt there will be more cars parked further down the road now!

GAT, 26/Sep/2015

Thanks for your feedback regarding signage. By placing signs at the entrance, at each machine and in the clipframes around the Visitor Centre and toilets we thought we had made sure that the information about the new system would be seen by all our visitors but I will forward your suggestion to the ranger team for consideration. The old system did not provide any free time so we do believe that it is now fairer and offers more flexibility for our visitors. The Forestry Commission is non-profit making and your money for parking will go towards the upkeep of the forest and is used to maintain and improve the recreation facilities you use on your visit. I hope you will continue to visit end enjoy the facilities we provide. If you’re a regular visitor you might like to consider buying a Discovery Pass which would provide you with year-round parking as well as a wide range of discounts and other benefits. Go to www.forestry.gov.uk/pass for more details.

Forestry Commission Response
3 Stars 3 Stars

Another great visit to the cafe at the weekend. We always stop here on our Lakes rides as the food and coffee are very good. So good, that we don't mind paying a little more.

However, it's always good on a ride to check-in with home at each stop, and with no mobile service having wifi is handy. It's very disappointing that the wifi is priced at 4 an hour! I would have thought paying 6.90 for a sandwich and a coffee might go someway towards covering a basic free wifi service?

Stu, 21/Sep/2015

Our business partner operating the café have created a BT Openzone WiFi hotspot. This is a wireless broadband (wi-fi) service that you can access in public places (hotspots) such as airports, hotels, coffee shops, motorway service stations and city centres. BT customers can access BT hotspots free of charge. Customers of other mobile providers can also access the hotspot free of charge, depending on whether your price plan includes BT WiFi. The £4 for an hour of access to the WiFi is the pay as you go fee, charged by BT not Siskins café. We advise you check with your mobile provider about adding BT WiFi to your price plan, this will then give you access to the millions of BT WiFi hotspots in the UK.

Forestry Commission Response
3 Stars 3 Stars

Been a few times. Why are the bird feeders at "Siskin" caf always empty and where are the siskins? Never see any wildlife, except for kids! Guess it is fine for families with kids, but not a great place for adults.

John, 4/Sep/2015

We do fill the feeders 4-5 times per week so I'm sorry that your visits have coincided with times when we've not had chance to top them up. Siskins and other birds including woodpeckers are seen regularly on the feeders. Other wildlife is generally seen a little further from the visitor centre, where the forest is a little quieter. Red squirrels, stoats and roe deer have all been spotted by our rangers in the last week. The staff at the visitor information point are always happy to offer advice on where to walk for the best chance to spot wildlife.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

My children got muddy and exhausted on their visit on Saturday. Perfect day out! There was enough to keep them busy all day and the staff were super friendly. Thank you!

The Bickerstaffs, 25/Aug/2015

Thank you, hope to see you back in the forest for more adventures soon!

Forestry Commission Response

Why are there grey squirrels at the osprey view point and to whom do we report them

Anonymous, 24/Aug/2015

There is still a healthy population of red squirrels at Dodd Wood but there are also grey squirrels in the area. Sightings of grey squirrels should be reported to Fran Foster, the squirrel ranger for our area. Either e-mail greycontrol@hotmail.co.uk or call 07733 970124 Red Squirrels Northern England is a red squirrel conservation partnership working right across northern England to maintain red squirrel range through landscape scale grey squirrel control and applied conservation science. For more information visit www.rsne.org.uk

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

fab time here came on Friday terrible rainy day, so went plodging on the gruffalo trail and superworm with our 3yr old boy and our springer , then went into the kids play adventure park , fantastic ! our son loved the whole thing ,staff in visitor crt very friendly and helpful thanks for making our visit a great visit . ;-)

Sean, 17/Aug/2015

Thanks Sean, great to hear you all had fun in the forest.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Had a fantastic, if a little soggy time at Whinlatter today - doing the forest Segway with Megan! Can't thank you enough for the patience and reassurance! We both had a fab time and would recommend it to anyone! You're a credit to Whinlatter and anyone that can stil have a huge grin on their faces through the pooring rain and not let that reflect on our experience is a star in my eyes!!!! Thank You!

Lucie Irwin , 14/Aug/2015

Thanks for your feedback, glad to hear the weather didn't spoil your forest adventure!

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

Had another great day here. Your maps used to show 2 off-road cycle routes (not the current MTB ones). One went by post 27, and the other by 11 and 40. You have not shown these for a few years, so is it still OK to generally cycle in the forest?

Peter, 1/Jul/2015

You are still very welcome to cycle in the forest using the forest road network but we don't have any waymarked routes on the forest roads at present. The forest roads are shown on our cycling map as thick white lines so you'll need to create your own route to explore the forest. If you'd like any help with this please get in touch with Visitor Information on site who will be happy to help. 017687 78469 or whinlatter@forestry.gsi.gov.uk You can download the current map from the right hand side of this web page.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

I wonder if a pair of specs in a shiny red case were left in the shop earlier today (Thursday)? Excellent visit - great food in the cafe and the osprey exhibition was just as good as we hoped.

Pauline Heatherington, 11/Jun/2015

We have a few pairs of glasses in lost property but none in a red case I'm afraid! Glad you enjoyed your visit.

Forestry Commission Response

We was thinking about visiting but we are a Family and have a young child ages 2 who goes on the back of my MTB we have cycled around Ennerdale but not sure if there would be any tracks suitable ?? please can you let us know Many thanks

Paul, 10/Jun/2015

Hi, Our waymarked MTB routes are single track and wouldn't be suitable for your situation. However we do have an extensive network of forest roads that are open to cyclists, you can download our map from the website and plan a route to suit your family. Just be aware that as we are a mountain forest most of these routes would involve some climbing! The Revelin Moss area is the gentlest. Visitor Information would be very happy to help you plan a route, either give them a call on 017687 78469 or e-mail whinlatter@forestry.gsi.gov.uk Alternatively, Grizedale Forest has a good network of waymarked routes using their forest roads that aren't so steep.

Forestry Commission Response
2 Stars 2 Stars

We came to Winlatter over the w-end of the 30/31May 2015 & I was quite saddened by the rudeness of the cyclists that were using pathway meant for pedestrians, being a disabled & Deaf person that can't hear the cyclists coming I was deeply upset by the use of bad language where there was also children present, I feel it is up to the Forestry Commission to advise cyclists that there are other people using the facilities as well as themselves there is no need for this rudeness and a little bit of understanding could go along way they should be by laws to protect pedestrians as well as cyclists and if cyclists are seen being rude to pedestrians or other people using the facilities something should be said there was also a large number of cyclists racing around in the car park at excessive speed I feel it will only be a matter of time before there is a serious accident, to a pedestrian or cyclist they showed absolutely no respect for drivers backing in or out of spaces I hope these comments will be taken on board and I hope you will post it I don't know when we will return to Winlatter as I was quite saddened by the attitude of cyclists and have some member of staff when this was pointed out to them let's hope if we return the Forestry Commission, at least put some signs up warning pedestrians and cyclists to be aware of their surroundings thank you.

Lancelot , 1/Jun/2015

As this is a recurring problem, the red walking arrow has now been taken off the waymarker post that is misleading and has been placed on the other side. So from a mountain bikers prespective they should see the single Altura arrow and this is further enforce by another post 15 metres away. Hopefully that should reduce the number of riders being misled. We are sorry to hear that the you had an unfortunate incident with the cyclist(s), who from what I hear was not considerate to other users. At the trailhead entrance there is a sign about the map and forest code, respecting other users etc. As for cyclist behaviour around the car park, we hope this was a one off incident.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

We visited on the 7th April and loved it. Did a fairly easy walk as I have been ill recently with a back problem & really did me the power of good! Called in at the cafe for food & staff and service excellent, as was the food. We also sat and watched the osprey cam. and the lady gave us lots of information about the osprey & was very clued up. We had a very nice day here and can't wait to come back when hopefully I can take on a more challenging walk!!

Anonymous, 10/May/2015

I am a frequent visitor to Whinlatter as I live locally but I have found that is a very expensive place to park and while you have made more parking spaces (presumably to make more money) the facilities particularly the caf are now too small. I was there the other day and paid for 4hrs parking and had to leave early because the caf was overcrowded(went to C/mouth for food) and some MTB trails were virtually shut, so please reduce the parking fees or have a reduced season ticket for us poor locals no wonder there is so many cars on the side of the road.

Martin Attwood, 5/May/2015

Hi, is the gruffalo sculpture present all year round? We are hoping to visit in early May.

Many thanks

Anonymous, 8/Apr/2015

Hi, Yes, the Gruffalo is here to stay! He's just had a makeover so is back in tip top condition. You can follow a waymarked trail of 1.2 miles from the Visitor Centre which is a little hilly but suitable for pushchairs. You can pick up spotter sheets from Visitor Information to keep your little ones occupied on the walk. We've also got a Superworm activity trail in the forest available through to October. Please call Visitor Information on 017687 78469 if you'd like any more help planning your visit.

Forestry Commission Response

After visiting Coed y Brenin, Grizedale, Cannock chase, Forest of Dean and more we expected similar from Whinlatter. The shop was nice with helpful staff. The parking was good and easy. The play and discovery areas were excellent.

The cafe however.... it was no more busy as I have seen any of the other centres cafe however as it appeared totally dis-organised we were in for a full hour long wait for a baked spud, panini and salad... the staff were cueing to use the til to ring orders through causing a cue right around the cafe... there were piles of finished with trays and plates waiting to be cleared when they were they were only piled up at the serving hatch...when our food did arrive it was wrong. Great centre. Good trails. Just give the cafe a miss drive down to Keswick for lunch you will be eating quicker!

Anonymous, 6/Apr/2015
5 Stars 5 Stars

The trail route was brilliant and the boy loved meeting The Gruffalo.

Only downside was being harassed immediately upon entering the caf after our trip about putting our pushchair down. We had literally just stepped in the place when the guy was on our back.

Other than that we really enjoyed it.

Anonymous, 9/Mar/2015

Thanks for taking the time to let us know about your visit. We take the service provided by our onsite businesses very seriously and will ensure the issue you have raised is addressed. If you enjoyed the Gruffalo trail, you might like to visit us again to try out our new Superworm activity trail, starting on 13th March.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

We were at whinlatter forest on Saturday 28th February, the last day of the gruffalo trail and had an absolutely fantastic day out with the family. But unfortunately our 2 year old son lost his toy gruffalo :-( and is very upset about being parted from his wee pal as are we.

... by any chance did some kind citizen happen to stumble across it and hand it in?

Gill mcquade, 1/Mar/2015

I'm afraid no lost Gruffalos have emerged from the woods but we will keep our eyes peeled when we're out in the forest and be in touch if he turns up. Glad to hear you had fun on the trail, you might like our new Superworm trail that starts on Friday 13 March.

Forestry Commission Response

Hi we have a holiday booked in the lakes from the 27th december 2015 until 3rd january 2016 just wondering what activities would be available then?

my grandsons would love the go ape,they are 16 15 and 13 years old.

thank you ann

ann, 22/Feb/2015

Our GoApe course closes every winter so unfortunately won't be available at the time of your visit. However, we have great mountain biking routes and walking trails that are open all year round. Cyclewise are our onsite bike shop and offer bike hire as well as skills training sessions. Cyclewise are closed on 1 Jan. Maps for biking and walking are available to download from the links on the right of this web page. If you'd like any further help planning your visit please call Visitor Information on 017687 78469.

Forestry Commission Response
3 Stars 3 Stars

It Would be great if you could put the info about winter opening hours for the cafe, and the fact that it is now closed, on the website. Information about the road closures would also be useful. I visited this morning with my son, baby and dog and approached from the Braithwaite side. I'd checked the website before leaving. I parked where the road was closed (i didn't know it would be) and decided to walk up to the cafe, where I could feed both children, then head back. A sign at that point saying the cafe is closed would also be useful! I walked the couple of miles up to the visitor centre with a two yr old on my back and 7 week old on my from only to find it all closed - I was knackered and just a bit disappointed!

Thanks

Sarah

(This would have been my first visit with my Discovery pass, received recently - some info could also have been sent with that maybe?)

Sarah Lenehan, 19/Jan/2015

Hi Sarah, Sorry to hear of your difficulties. We do have information posted on the website to cover most of the points you raise. This is in the yellow latest news box at the top of the homepage under the heading 'Closures Due to Felling Work'. We try to communicate site information to as many visitors as possible with signage on site, social media channels etc, but appreciate that it isn't always possible to reach everyone. We will take your suggestion regarding e-mailing Discovery Pass holders on board for future closures. The access road and all businesses on site will be fully open from 24th January so we hope to welcome you back soon.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Fabulous day! Views incredible on more strenuous walk. Even saw a roe deer! Don't be put off if car park is busy. You can easily get away from it all. Would highly recommend.

P and G, 29/Oct/2014
5 Stars 5 Stars

Fab day out. So much to do for all ages. Play areas are great fun and kept my 5 year old entertained for hours. My 15, 14 and 11 year old loved Go Ape, we had a lovely walk and picnic on squirrel trail. We are on our way back to try the mountain bike trail next week :)

Sarah , 16/Aug/2014
5 Stars 5 Stars

Great place for mountain biking. Beautiful forest. Very highly recommended!

filipino baguio, 15/Aug/2014
3 Stars 3 Stars

You need more sign posts and arrows telling you which way to go. Went up to Seat How and made two long detours trying to get back to the Visitor Center... ended up at marker 19 - so we just went back to our hotel instead of at the cafe.

Anonymous, 20/Jul/2014

Thanks for taking the time to get in touch and sorry to hear of your difficulties. We haven't experienced this problem before but we are about to replace all our waymarkers so the route should be clearer with the new sign posts.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

We have the best time whether mountain biking or walking through the forest brill place to visit if you love the outdoors and don't mind getting muddy. ..

helen, 8/Jul/2014
5 Stars 5 Stars

We had a great day out, beautifully kept forest, highly recommend

Philip liscombe, 23/May/2014
2 Stars 2 Stars

The Gruffalo trail is very disappointing there's not much for children to see or do. I had heard mixed reports but though I would go and have a look but I feel it needs improving. We didn't walk to the end of the trail but of what we did see which was very little I felt it was a disappointment.

Anonymous, 14/May/2014
4 Stars 4 Stars

Lovely site, but why are there no bins for dog waste?

Anonymous, 9/May/2014

We do have signs on the general waste bins around the Visitor Centre asking visitors to place bagged dogged waste in those. We don't have bins in the wider forest as we want to prevent urbanisation of the areas away from the Visitor Centre.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

I may have lost my camera on 05/05/2014. its an "Oympus" many thanks to your rangers for trying to find my son

ron w whitcomb, 8/May/2014

The link to your site Accessibility information seems to be broken. Can you fix it?

Rachel Thomas, 2/May/2014

Thanks for letting us know about this, the link is now fixed.

Forestry Commission Response
2 Stars 2 Stars

We went to the Gruffalo trail on Wednesday (16th April). It was really disappointing and not a gruffalo in sight! The activities back at the visitor centre were nowhere near as good as the Stickman trail, and the trail itself was very long for children who would be interest in the Gruffalo. We love Whinlatter so this was a real shame . I've seen photos of people who've been in the last couple of days and it looks like character pictures have been put up to make it more interesting. Maybe the trail shouldn't have been opened until it was ready!

Arabella Mooney, 19/Apr/2014

Thank you for getting in touch, we value your feedback. We are very sorry to hear that you were disappointed with the Gruffalo Trail. The trails are designed to be self-led with Gruffalo themed activities to try out as a family on the way, along with introducing children to some of things you can find in the forest. The route was chosen for it’s gentle gradient compared with other routes in the forest and to give regular visitors a new area of the forest to explore. A giant, life sized Gruffalo will be coming to live in Whinlatter from his birthday on 7th June.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

This is a great place for mountain biking, both the cycle cycle trails are extremely good. I liked the red one very much because of the best view points over the lake district. You can see for miles when coming down from the red trail. I will be coming back in summer to do it all again. I had so much fun here on my bike. I would highly recommend here for a day out

charlie howard, 30/Mar/2014
5 Stars 5 Stars

Just had fantastic morning with grandchildren. Can't wait for the Gruffalo trail. Car parking fees well worth the money, you get so much enjoyment from play areas, biking trails and walking trails for little cost.

Sue Bell, 26/Mar/2014