Hamsterley Forest is a delightful 2000 hectare oasis, sprawling along the sides of a sheltered valley. Visitors to Hamsterley have no shortage of options when it comes to forest adventure or a tranquil getaway from the hustles of modern living.
From wildlife watching and dark sky gazing to adventure play and high octane mountain biking, there is something here for everyone. Go on, explore!
Hamsterley Forest is one of Durham's most popular visitor destinations. To ensure that this continues, the Forestry Commission has commissioned a report from independent consultants on the status and potential of Hamsterley Forest for visitors. Read more.
6 amazing forests in 6 breath-taking locations. Chopwell, Gisburn, Grizedale, Hamsterley, Kielder, Whinlatter are the Super 6! Grab your bike and discover our exhilarating trails!
Stickman Trail is here!
Stickman needs your help to return to the family tree. A brand new Stickman activity trail has been launched which will be on site until the autumn. Activity packs cost £3 and will be available from the cafe and information point on weekends and school holidays until Easter, then daily after that date.
The information point, where you can pick up maps and leaflets, is open 9am-5pm daily (4pm Nov-Feb inclusive). Please note that the information point at times is unstaffed. The cafe will be open daily from March to end of october (10am-5pm) and then weekends and school holidays only at other times. Wood n Wheels cycle hire is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday (10am-5pm), and also daily during school holidays.
The walking trails will take you right into the heart of the forest for some spectacular wildlife watching opportunities. Early morning walkers may spot roe deer feeding, adders basking on rocks or even salmon leaping upstream on the beck.
Hamsterley is one of the top destinations for mountain biking in Northern England. Hone your skills on our training loop before exploring the wide network of trails, from blue grade right up to extreme downhill trails at Descend Hamsterley. Bikes available to hire from Hamsterley Forest Cycle Centre.
Calling all young adventurers!
Climb, swing, crawl, balance along the adventure play trail before setting off on a real adventure in the wilds of the forest. Explore secluded dells, build a forest hideaway or beachcomb.....in a forest! New for 2016 are some brilliant new Viking themed play areas, including the Ghostship, Dragon Swing, Thor's Workshop and Odin's keep....
Miles of waymarked horse riding trails through the high forest
Check out what's happening at Hamsterley using our calendar of events in the forest over the coming months.
Food and drink
After all that exercise in the fresh air, why not sample some of Hamsterley Forest Cafe's famous cakes? Open from 10am to 5pm daily until 31st October, the cafe serves soup, hot and cold sandwiches, and a range of drinks and home-baked cakes.
Hamsterley Forest has been awarded a CLOtC Site Provider Award. The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC) is the national voice for learning outside the classroom. This award recognises organisations which actively welcome schools onto their site/s for self-led visits and ensure that the sites and any other services provided meet the needs of schools.
Led sessions for schools and other groups are also available to be booked with our learning partner OASES.
What do other visitors say?
4 StarsKim Watt, 17/Apr/2016
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.
3 StarsSharon Black, 11/Apr/2016
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,
5 StarsAnonymous, 11/Apr/2016
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
Forestry Commission Response
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.