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Explore Hamsterley Forest
(Average user rating: 5 unrated 4.1/5)

Latest News (24/06/2014 14:16)

The Grove Link is currently closed due to forestry operations until 18 July 2014. The Blue, Red and Black cycle trails will be diverted during this period. Special K and Brain Freeze sections of the red/black cycle trails and the Yellow walking trail will also be closed for the duration of the work. Please follow diversions and heed all warning signs. Updates will be posted here.

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. 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.

GruffaloOh help! Oh no! Its the Gruffalo!

We've teamed up with the Gruffalo to help celebrate his 15th birthday. Sign up to be the first to hear about our celebrations.

Picnic CinemaPicnic Cinema returns

Get dressed up, pack your tents and don’t forget your torch! This year watch Monty Python’s Life of Brian, 11 July or Close Encounters of the Third Kind (PG), 12 July.

Information

The information point, where you can pick up maps and leaflets, is open 9am-5pm daily. The cafe will be open daily (10am-5pm) until the end of October, then weekends only during the winter. Wood n Wheels cycle hire is open Wednesday to Sunday until 20 July then seven days a week during school holidays (10am-5pm).

Had a fantastic time in the forest recently? Upload your photos of your day out for a chance to win a Durham VIP Pass!

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.

Sky Rainforest Rescue trail

Try the Sky Rainforest Rescue Discovery Trail and learn more about the rainforest and how you can help protect it. Look out for the jaguar and listen to the sounds of the rainforest along the way.

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.

Calling all young adventurers! 

Climb, swing, crawl, balance through the adventure play area 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 from 10am to 5pm daily throughout the season (Apr-Sept), the cafe serves soup, hot and cold sandwiches, and a range of drinks and home-baked cakes. The cafe is open 11am to 4pm daily in October and at weekends throughout the rest of the year plus Boxing Day and New Year's Day. Please note the cafe will reopen following refurbishment on Saturday 5th April.

Education and Learning

Information for schools and groups on organising a visit to the forest. This year, OASES in partnership with Forestry Commission, will be running a full programme of school and group activities.  
 

What do other visitors say?

"As Hamsterley is a large 2000 hectare forest and not an urban park, we do not provide dog bins. We rely on dog owners following a code of responsible behaviour. Ideally, dog waste should be bagged and removed from site as with any other rubbish/waste. Alternatively, owners can use a stick to flick their dog's waste off car parks, picnic sites and paths into uncut undergrowth where it will rot down. Irresponsible owners are a problem all over the country and only serve to give the majority of law-abiding owners a bad name." Oh I see. After our picnic I rather stupidly put my litter in my bag and took it home with me. I should have saved myself the bother and just flicked it into the undergrowth and allowed it to eventually rot down. I bet if I dropped litter I'd be fined or banned from the forest yet dog owners are allowing their dogs to do much worse without consequence. Why are their no signs threatening irresponsible owners with a fine?

N Medina, 8/Jul/2014
1 Star 1 Star

Beautiful forest sadly littered with dog dirt. It is absolutely everywhere. (My friends no longer visit the forest as apparently it is all over the cycle tracks as well).Something needs doing about it and fast. Won't be returning.

N Medina, 6/Jul/2014

As Hamsterley is a large 2000 hectare forest and not an urban park, we do not provide dog bins. We rely on dog owners following a code of responsible behaviour. Ideally, dog waste should be bagged and removed from site as with any other rubbish/waste. Alternatively, owners can use a stick to flick their dog's waste off car parks, picnic sites and paths into uncut undergrowth where it will rot down. Irresponsible owners are a problem all over the country and only serve to give the majority of law-abiding owners a bad name.

Forestry Commission Response
5 Stars 5 Stars

Drove over today from Leeds(2hrs drive) and I got to say it's definitely worth the trek, unfortunately some of the red section was closed but the parts that were "oh my days " awesome !! I even pedalled back up for another go. It was either here or gisburn and I'm glad I chose hamsterley. Keep up the good work trail builders great job.

Aj Davey , 15/Jun/2014
More user comments

Please tell us about your visit

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

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Chalara ash dieback

What's Here?

  • Baby Changing
  • Cycling
  • Mountain biking
  • Cycle wash
  • Horse riding
  • Information
  • Play area
  • Telephone
  • Walking
  • Visitor centre
  • Toliets (gents)
  • Toliets (ladies)
  • Cafe
  • Open 11am-4pm daily until 4 November, weekends and school holidays after this date until Easter 2013.
  • Cycling Hire
  • Information on opening times for WoodnWheels cycle hire, please call 0191 3783753
  • Dogs
  • There are no dog bins provided in the forest. Please take all bagged dog waste home with you or flick unbagged waste off the paths and into the undergrowth. Don't give your dog a bad name!
  • 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.
  • Forest drive
  • Toll Road
  • 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)
  • 3 per day per car (5 on Bank Holiday weekends), 8 minibus, 12 coach
More about what's here

Location

OS Grid ref: NZ091312

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. Access to the forest on foot 24 hours a day. Over Christmas period, car parks and toilets open as usual. Forest Drive closed 22 Dec-1 Jan inclusive.
Parking
3 per day per car (5 on Bank Holiday weekends), 8 minibus, 12 coach
Discovery Pass
40

Related documents

Useful sites

Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification certifiedenjoy England quality assured visitor attractionForest Stewardship Council certified