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Discovery Pass

Discover the
freedom of
the forest…
every day of the year…

Get free parking, discounts on events and much more with an annual Discovery Pass

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Explore Hamsterley Forest
(Average user rating: 4 unrated 3.5/5)

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.

Ride the Super 6

Super6webgraphic6 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!

Gruffalo Spotters at Hamsterley Forest

From February 24th, follow clues and collect evidence as you search for the Gruffalo along the Gruffalo Spotters trail! Bring the characters to life before your eyes with The Gruffalo Spotter free app, or gather clues with an Evidence Kit. More details for Hamsterley Forest

Gruffalo Orienteering

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Ideal for Gruffalo lovers wanting to venture off the beaten track and learn map skills. Gruffalo Orienteering maps are available from the cafe and information point and cost £1.50.

Information

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), daily in December (11am-4pm) and then weekends and school holidays at other times. Wood n Wheels cycle hire is open Saturday and Sunday (10am-5pm) and also daily during school holidays. 

Explore on foot

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.

Explore by bike

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 explorers! 

Hamsterley Forest Viking Wildplay logoClimb, swing, crawl, balance along the Viking Wildplay 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! 

Explore on four legs 

Miles of waymarked horse riding trails through the high forest

What's on?

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 weekends from 11am to 4pm and then daily from 18 February until 31 October (10am-5pm), the cafe serves soup, hot and cold sandwiches, and a range of drinks and home-baked cakes.

Education and Learning

Hamsterley Forest is a brilliant site to bring groups to learn more about forests and the environment. Led sessions for schools and other groups are available to be booked with our learning partner OASES.  

 

What do other visitors say?

5 Stars 5 Stars

This was definitely the best school trip I've ever been on. Every child had a fantastic time.

Tracy Huntingdon, 14/Jul/2017
4 Stars 4 Stars

Decided to visit after not being for a few years and thought it was great for us as a family with a dog. Play areas are fantastic. Parking prices aren't extortionate. My son complained of no gift shop and there was no hot water at the toilets. Could have done with a few more dog poo bins around. Came away happy tho and not too busy on a Sunday either

Ben Miners, 2/Jul/2017
2 Stars 2 Stars

I enjoy the place, it's a good place to take the dog. However, I think the parking prices are extortionate, I know they need money in order to upkeep the place but you only have 2 choices 1.50 for an hour or 6 for the whole day, 1 hour is pointless because by the time you get anywhere you have to head back. I usually go for 2 hours or so and I can't warrant paying 6 for that as I go most weekends. You should operate a barrier and token system where you pay for how long you're actually there for. Until then I will just park outside of the forest and walk in to it.

Ryan, 1/Jul/2017

If you are a regular visitor, an annual Discovery Pass is 45 (less than 1 per week)and means you can visit as often and as long as you like.

Forestry Commission Response
More user comments

Please tell us about your visit

Please email us at enquiries.hamsterley@forestry.gsi.gov.uk if you have an enquiry, a complaint or would like a personal reply to your comments.

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Last updated: 26th July 2017

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What's Here?

  • Baby Changing
  • Cycling
  • Mountain biking
  • Horse riding
  • Information
  • Running
  • Walking
  • Visitor centre
  • Toliets (gents)
  • Toliets (ladies)
  • Cafe
  • Open daily 10am-5pm March to end October; 11am-4pm weekends only November to end February (in addition, open daily between Christmas & New Year and February half-term holiday week).
  • Cycling Hire
  • Information on opening times for Hamsterley Forest Cycle Centre (operated by WoodnWheels), please call 0191 3783753
  • Cycle wash
  • Tokens available from Wood n Wheels and Hamsterley Cafe
  • Dogs
  • There are dog bins provided next to the bridges either side of the Gruffalo and play trail. Please bin all bagged dog waste in this area or if in the wider forest, flick unbagged waste off the paths and into the undergrowth. Don't give your dog a bad name!
  • Dogs on lead
  • Owners are requested to keep their dogs on leads around the visitor centre and Viking Play Trail
  • Easy Access
  • Riverside Trail from main car park to Low Redford picnic area falls within requirements for wheelchair accessibility in terms of gradient and surface.
  • Educational
  • Riverside Trail from main car park to Low Redford picnic area falls within requirements for wheelchair accessibility in terms of gradient and surface.
  • First aid
  • Defibrillator available at Visitor Centre
  • Forest drive
  • Toll Road. Section between Grove car park and Blackling Hole only open seasonally between April and October.
  • Orienteering
  • Permanent orienteering course with 28 control points available for educational use via a booking system. Maps are on sale in the tearoom priced at 1.25
  • Parking (easy access)
  • Designated parking bays at main toilet block, Bedburn car park
  • Parking (chargeable)
  • 1.50 one hour short stay (car/motorbike only); All Day rates - 6 car (10 Bank Holiday weekends in Easter, May and August), 12 minibus, 18 coach
  • Play area
  • New Viking Wildplay Trail starts from the visitor centre and has exciting play to explore on both banks of the Bedburn Beck.
  • Telephone
  • Call box situated outside visitor centre and emergency 999 only phone at Grove Car Park. Note, mobile reception poor in the forest.
More about what's here

Location

OS Grid ref: NZ091312
Postcode: DL13 3NL

Get directions

Contact

Hamsterley Forest

01388 488312
enquiries.hamsterley@­forestry.gsi.gov.uk

Opening & Parking

Opening Times:
From 1 April to 30 September, barriers on the forest drive and car parks are open from 8am-8pm and from 8am-5pm outside of these months. The main car park at Bedburn (adjacent to toilet block) is open all day. Access to the forest on foot 24 hours a day. Over Christmas period, car parks and toilets open as usual.
Parking
1.50 one hour short stay (car/motorbike only); All Day rates - 6 car (10 Bank Holiday weekends in Easter, May and August), 12 minibus, 18 coach
Discovery Pass
45

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