Forestry Commission logo

Kielder Forest Drive
(Average user rating: 4 unrated 3.8/5)

Trail details

Length of trail:

12 miles

Trail is currently open

Users are reminded that the Forest Drive is an unsurfaced road through remote countryside without mobile phone coverage. At slow speed and with due care most normal vehicles can be driven across, but it is not recommended to try in cars with exceptionally low ground clearance. The exposed section of the drive can be affected severely by wintry and adverse weather. In wintry or extreme weather conditions people should not attempt to use the Drive.

Trail description

View from the Forest Drive in the Kielder Forest





Kielder Forest Drive is a spectacular 12 mile (19 km) drive on unsealed forest road, from Kielder Castle in the west to Blakehopeburnhaugh on the A68 in the east.

The Forest Drive is one of England's highest roads, cresting over 1500 feet (450 metres) at Blakehope Nick. Here the 'big sky' views over Northumberland are simply breathtaking.

The Forest Drive is a toll road, with a £3 fee payable at the toll machine at the Kielder Castle end.

Please note that the surface has recently been repaired and in sections the surface is covered with loose stone. It is important to drive with caution and keep to the 20mph speed limit.

What do other visitors say?

2 Stars 2 Stars

This is a spectacular drive. However, due to rather drastic deforestation ("forest management"), not much forest is left along the roadside. Let's be clear, this is mainly an access road for heavy timbering equipment.

I would recommend the drive/ride, but it isn't the same in 2017 what it used to be 7-10 years ago.

Joe Smith, 15/Apr/2017

my comments have already been made to the keilder forest website, it is unfortunate that their website makes no mention of the trail being closed, so a 140 mile trip ended in disappointed for me

barbara turnbull, 11/Apr/2017

Sorry you had a disappointing trip to Kielder recently. The closure information has been posted on this page since last October although other websites may have been displaying out of date information.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

Went today, 15/8/16. Excellent drive, easily manageable with care, despite the untarmaced sections. Wonderful scenery and wildlife. Despite no specific picnic sites, there are plenty of places to pull off and take a break to admire the scenery. Very little traffic, and very peaceful. Well recommended.

SHELDON, 15/Aug/2016
More user comments

Please tell us about your visit

Please email us at if you have an enquiry, a complaint or would like a personal reply to your comments.

Email addresses will not be shown

Get the latest news, information & offers

What's Here?

  • Forest drive
  • Information
  • Viewpoint
  • Cafe
  • Duke's Pantry at Kielder Castle
  • Cycling
  • Cycling is permitted on forest roads.
  • Horse riding
  • Horse riders welcome
  • Petrol station
  • Kielder garage in Kielder village
  • Picnic
  • Kielder Castle, Kielder Burn (on Forest Drive) and Blakehopeburnhaugh.
  • Telephone
  • Public telephone opposite Kielder garage. Mobile phone reception patchy or non-existant along much of the Forest Drive.
  • Walking
  • Walking trails start from Kielder Castle and Blakehopeburnhaugh.
  • Toliets
  • Kielder Castle and Blakehopeburnhaugh
  • Wildlife
  • Wildlife Hide on Forest Drive.
More about what's here


OS Grid ref: NY632934
Postcode: NE48 1ER

Get directions


Kielder Castle

01434 250209
Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification certifiedForest Stewardship Council certified

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