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 Good112
- Caroline CTrip Type:FamilyFamily favourite with plenty to doSunday, 20th October 2019Me, my husband and 3 year old love it here. It costs £6 to park for the day, many people think this is ridiculous, but I don’t mind paying it as you can see that the parking money goes into the... Read full review
- Mandies41Broughton in Furness, United KingdomTrip Type:Friends getawayBit of a rip offTuesday, 26th November 2019Got there & funnily enough only thing working was payment for the car park. Map we got was useless & not to scale at all. Sign on cafe said open 1030-1430 but after a long cold walk including the... Read full review
- SiLydDonDarlington, United KingdomTrip Type:FamilyRIP off ParkingFriday, 13th December 2019RIP off parking needs changing!! Other than the parking charges we as a family love going to the forest. The kids love the play parks and the cafe is not bad too. Regular visitors so can’t complain... 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)
|Cafe (1 Jan 2020 - 31 Dec 2020)|
|Monday - Thursday||11:00||- 15:00|
|Saturday - Sunday||09:00||- 17:00|
|Bank Holiday||09:00||- 17:00|
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