2000 hectares of mixed scenic woodland lying between the Wear and Tees valleys on the edge of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Hamsterley is a delightful oasis of broadleaved and coniferous woodland, sprawling along the sides of a sheltered valley. Visitors to Hamsterley have no shortage of options when it comes to activities. With waymarked walks*, cycle routes* and horse riding trails*, all levels of fitness and ability are catered for.
**free maps of all our trails are available from either the cafe or information point. You can also find free downloadable maps from our website www.forestry.gov.uk/hamsterleyforest
There is also a forest play park which is open all year round with a new area of Viking Themed play equipment aimed at the kids, as well as a Gruffalo Spotters trail . A Discovery Pass is available to buy which gives free parking all year round plus other benefits for only £49.00 per annum.
Horse Riding is welcomed in the forest and some quieter routes away from the main recreational hub can be found.
Hamsterley Forest is a big magnet for mountain bikers with a number of fantastic sections of exhilarating single track. Families are also well catered for with a multi-user trail along the tranquil Bedburn Beck with exciting play areas to keep the children active and occupied for hours! Relax at the end of your visit with some homemade cake at the Hamsterley Cafe and Ice Cream Kiosk.
For the extreme end of mountain biking Danny Harts Descend Hamsterley has a number of orange graded downhill trails. Go to the latest info on the only North of England Downhil Centre at https://www.descendbikepark.com/
Please note, we have no (or very limited) phone coverage anywhere in the forest
Forest Drive Toll Per Car £6 (£10 Bank Holidays from Easter to 31 August). £12 per mini bus. £18 per coach. Annual Discovery Pass available £49
We now have a new pay on exit system in place. Number plate cameras will record your entry, just input your car registration at a pay station just before you leave and pay. All our pay stations accept card payment ONLY (except the one next to the Café which takes both cash and cards)
- VAQAS VB Attraction
- Visit England VAQAS 2019
- Visit England Quality Assured Visitor Attraction 2017
- Regional and Miscellaneous TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2016
TripAdvisor Traveller Rating:
- Very Good116
- JohnnyMannbaggTrip Type:Friends getawayFantastic place with fiendly staffSaturday, 29th May 2021Had a super day with my elderly great grandparents. The forest was beautiful and clean and tidy. The young ranger (think called Matilda) was lovely and helpful. Went into the cafe and had lovely... Read full review
- dogfriendlyplacesTrip Type:CouplesVery busyThursday, 3rd June 2021The car park was busy and it was incredibly noisy until you could get away from the play areas. It was much more pleasant walking around the deer park at Bishop Auckland. There was hardly anyone... Read full review
- shobin aSunderland, United KingdomTrip Type:FamilyForest walkFriday, 23rd July 2021We went with a six month old in a push chair. The walk was amazing. Not for people wanting to be online. I thought this was great since it made it even more better. We spent five hours walking around... Read full review
- Access Statement - Please see below
Parking & Transport
- Parking (charge) - £6 to park all day, £10 on all bank holiday weekends from Easter to August inclusive
- Dogs Accepted - also allowed in cafe. (stick & flick policy on dog waste)
|2021 (1 Jan 2021 - 31 Dec 2021)|
Map & Directions
Nearest major road is A68. Follow brown 'Hamsterley Forest' signs from A68 north of Bishop Auckland.
Public Transport Directions
Unfortunately, there is no public transport available to the forest