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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!

Highway Rat Activity Trail

Highway Rat

The Highway Rat is the latest Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler book to be brought to life at Hamsterley. Until November, head on a journey with the Highway Rat and all the characters from the story. Packs with additional activities can be bought from the cafe or information point for £3.

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 Easter to end of October (10am-5pm) 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 daily 10am-5pm, the cafe serves soup, hot and cold sandwiches, and a range of drinks and home-baked cakes. From November to February half-term school holiday, the cafe is open weekends only.

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

What a fantastic day out especially if you have young kids. There are so many play areas along the path and each one has its own unique bit to it. Came out with 5 kids aged 2-10 and each one had a blast even in the rain. Already planning when we can come back!!

Anonymous, 3/Sep/2018
5 Stars 5 Stars

Beautiful walks and when I found there are parts of forest full of porcini mushrooms,it just made my day

Alma, 21/Aug/2018
4 Stars 4 Stars

We had a brilliant day here . So much for kids, so many parks and trails etc . Ive saw a lot of people twisting about the car park !!! Get real where can you go for 6.00 for a day out , how do you think they keep the parks up to date and in good working order.

Anonymous, 20/Aug/2018
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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"6XD"
 

Last updated: 29th June 2018

Help us take care of your forest

What's Here?

  • Baby Changing
  • Cycling
  • Mountain biking
  • Horse riding
  • Information
  • Running
  • Walking
  • Visitor centre
  • Toliets (gents)
  • Toliets (ladies)
  • Cafe
  • Open daily 10am-5pm Easter 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:
The main car park at Bedburn (adjacent to toilet block) is open all day. Barriers on the forest drive and forest drive car parks are open from 8am to 5pm. Access to the forest on foot 24 hours a day. Over Christmas period, main car park 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
47

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