Hamsterley Forest is a delightful 5,000-acre oasis, sprawling along the sides of a sheltered valley adjacent to the North Pennines National Landscape and home to walking, cycling, running, wellbeing and play trails to suit all ages and abilities to enjoy a full day in the forest.
Regular visitor? Why not sign up for an annual membership for just £52 and enjoy free parking for a full year?
Walking - Follow the forest’s four beautiful trails right into the heart of the forest for some spectacular wildlife watching opportunities, passing through oak woodlands, forest sculptures and near picturesque waterfalls. Early morning walkers may spot roe deer feeding, adders basking on rocks or even salmon leaping upstream on the beck.
A highlight throughout the year is the Riverside Walk, perfect for an hour’s stroll passing meadows vibrant in colour and texture through the Summer, peaceful and quiet in the winter with early morning frost covering the fields.
Mountain biking - Whether you've just bought your first bike, or you're looking for your next adrenaline fix shredding through rock gardens, Hamsterley Forest offers a fantastic opportunity for natural cycling.
Running - Hamsterley Forest offers opportunity for all runners. Choose from a number of waymarked running routes ranging from 1km to 7km and explore this stunning forest.
The network of marked trails makes running through the forest more accessible, helping you gain the confidence to hit the trails and enjoy all the benefits of being active outdoors.
Lace up your trainers and explore on a solo run or sign up for one of our regular running events with our dedicated fitness coach to larger-scale events including Forest Runner (5km and 10km race), a winter trail race and of course our weekly parkrun.
Wellbeing - Spending time amongst trees and taking time to get back to nature is scientifically proven to boost mental and physical health. Take some time for yourself and explore our wellbeing trail, a mindful walk through the forest that invites you to truly relax.
Panels along the trail prompt you to stop, notice and connect with the wellbeing benefits of the forest environment. With unrivalled areas to explore the senses it really is a time out from the rest of the forest and our busy lives.
Viking Wildplay trail - Set along a pushchair friendly path straddling both sides of the bubbling Bedburn Beck, our 1km family-friendly trail provides a bucketful of opportunities to play in mature woodland as well as the integrated equipment.
All the ingredients for a day of adventure are here – from forts and boats to mud and water and sticks-a-plenty to build that perfect den.
Gruffalo sculptures - The ever-popular Gruffalo trail is one not to miss – venture into the deep dark wood to discover the Gruffalo, Gruffalo’s child and other characters from the magical world of Julia Donaldson. Can you find all the wooden sculptures during your visit?
Weekdays and weekends in off peak times: Up to 1 hour - £3.00, Up to 2 hours - £5.50, Up to 4 hours - £7.00, All day - £8
Coaches/Minibuses charges: Minibuses - £14.00, Coaches - £20.00
Motorcycles - Free
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 2021
- Visit England Quality Assured Visitor Attraction 2017
- Regional and Miscellaneous TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2016
TripAdvisor Traveller Rating:
- Very Good124
- workbehindme_18Durham, United KingdomTrip Type:CouplesResearch first!Monday, 28th August 2023It has been years since we visited but thought a mediocre weather bank holiday would be a good time to return. Oh dear, so did hundreds of others. Not to worry we'd just do the Forest drive. The man... Read full review
- explorer6kIngleby Barwick, United KingdomHamsterley HeavenThursday, 12th October 2023A wonderful way there the bus had air conditioning and a TV but one of the toilet sinks were broken, I would rate the toilets 3.5, our guides were quite polite and showed us some trails, "wonderful... Read full review
- Doreen ENewcastle-under-Lyme, United KingdomVery wet very spectacular walkThursday, 2nd November 2023We took the dogs for a walk during all that rain. The resulting waterfalls were spectacular, however I couldn't then let our water mad dog off the lead for fear of losing her to the now torrent of... Read full review
- Access Statement - Please see below
Parking & Transport
- Parking (charge) - Weekdays and weekends in off peak times: Up to 1 hour £2.00, All day £7.00 Peak - Bank holiday weekends: Peak £10.00 Coaches/Minibuses charges: Minibuses - £12.00, Coaches £18.00 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)
- Dogs Accepted
|2023 (1 Jan 2023 - 31 Dec 2023)|
|2024 (1 Jan 2024 - 31 Dec 2024)|
* Forest open all year round (24 hours a day) for access on foot or by bicycle. Main Bedburn car park is open 24 hours a day. Forest Drive and associated car parks are open 9am-4pm (weekends Apr-Oct, 9am-5pm). No overnight parking.
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