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

Latest News (20/11/2017 10:32)

Trail diversions/closures (1) & (2)

(1) Due to essential maintenance, the Gruffalo Spotters Trail will be closed from Monday 21 to Friday 24 November. The trail will be open for the final time on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 November. To celebrate the huge success of the trail, activity packs will be available for free over the weekend from the cafe and information point. 

(2) Harvesting operations will affect the stretch known as the “Silver Mile” which is used by the Spurlswood (red) walking trail, the Pennington (brown) horse trail and the blue cycle trail. There are diversion signs in place. The blue cycle trail will be fully opened at WEEKENDS but will be shortened to 4 miles during the week.

For everyone’s safety please follow the diversion signs around this area.

Colour rating today: turned golden turned golden

Feel good this autumn with activity sheets, forest trails and our mindfulness guide.

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

Until 26th November, 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 2017 (10am-5pm, 11am-4pm in October), 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. Over Christmas, the cafe is open additionally 27-31 December and 2-7 January 2018. 

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

Just been cycling in the forest, you couldn't ask for a more wonderful place to be on such a beautiful autumn day.

Simon, 2/Nov/2017
4 Stars 4 Stars

I visit the forest everyday to walk my dogs. I clean up after them and use the appropriate bins. I have a season pass which is excellent value. However in the ten years that I have been going I have noticed how much of the forest is being given over to MTBs. There appears to be an expectation that we will all give way to them because they have right of way. A lot-though not all-pay little attention to our dogs or the fact that they get spooked by them. A little more thought would go a long way. I do think that allowing your dog to run free shows little understanding or consideration for others including other dog walkers. I dont find it helpful when a dog runs at mine with an owner 200 yards behind saying hes just playing. My dogs dont know this and they are very vulnerable being on a lead.

Still love the place but sometimes it feels like dog walkers and pedestrians are the poor relations.

Ian Gregg, 30/Oct/2017

Moaners about dogs..... It's outside "forest" where else are dog owners supposed to take their dogs... "too many poo bins" are you serious if there wasn't any or enough you'd moan... They Can't win!!.... It's outside stop helicoptering your children and let them experience nature which also means animals I. E. Dogs are animals and get a grip.... Take them to a fun house if you only want children around....

Anonymous, 15/Oct/2017
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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: 21st November 2017

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Get the latest news, information & offers

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.

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
45

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Forest Plans

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