The nation's forests and essential facilities are open, but please follow government coronavirus guidelines when planning your visit - read our coronavirus guidance.
Autumn colour in the Forest of Dean

Coronavirus FAQs

Following government guidance

Are your forests open?

Our forests, car parks, toilets and some other facilities are open and we welcome responsible, caring visitors. Our forests are important for your wellbeing by providing outdoor spaces for you. Please continue to follow government guidance when planning your visit.  Remember that our forests are also operational sites, where, in places, trees are being harvested for timber or replanted. Stick to marked trails and follow our signs for your safety.

If you need to travel, you should walk or cycle where possible, and plan ahead to avoid busy times and routes on public transport. If our sites and facilities become too busy, we may have to close them to help keep our visitors, volunteers and staff safe. Please be prepared to return home and visit another time, or visit another forest.

Please keep helping us all stay safe by following the rules. You must stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating.

Review government travel guidance before making your journey and check what is available onsite before you arrive.
 

How far can I travel to visit one of the nation’s forests?

There are no longer restrictions on how far you can travel, however, many other restrictions remain in place.

Please continue to minimise the number of journeys you make where possible and consider this when planning a visit to one of our forests.  If you are considering visiting one of our forests, please check what is available onsite before you arrive. If you need to travel, you should walk or cycle where possible, and plan ahead to avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

If our sites and facilities become too busy, we may have to close them to help keep our visitors, volunteers and staff safe. Please be prepared to return home and visit another time, or visit another forest. Please help us all stay safe by following the rules. You must stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating.


Parking and facilities

Can I book a parking space in advance?

We do not have a booking system for parking spaces. Please plan accordingly – our forests are quieter at the beginning and end of each day. Be prepared to go elsewhere if the car park is full. Please park legally, safely and considerately - only using designated parking areas. Keep highways and gateways clear and leave plenty of room for other road users to pass.

There are no longer restrictions on how far you can travel, however, many other restrictions remain in place.Please continue to minimise the number of journeys you make where possible and consider this when planning a visit to one of our forests.

Why was the car park temporarily closed?   

Where we can, we are monitoring how many people are visiting and we may need to close some car parks or facilities without notice, to help maintain social distancing. Please be prepared to return home and visit another time. Do not park illegally instead, for example on verges, or blocking entrances or exits.

Why are some of the facilities closed?

Keeping you, our staff and volunteers safe is our top priority. Our onsite facilities, such as cafes, food outlets and businesses are open where possible, safe to do so and where  allowed within the national guidance.  Please check our forest pages before travelling to see whats available where you are planning to visit.  

Will there be adequate hand washing facilities?   

Although most of our toilets at our larger sites are open, therearesome sites without toilets. Out in the wider forest thereare nohand washing facilities, so its a good idea to bringyour own hand sanitiser.   

Will payment be cashless?   

Where possible we are operating cashless payment. The best option to avoid having to use car park machines is tobuy membership onlineand print your car park pass before you leave home. By buying membership you are also supporting your forest as your money goes back in to looking after the forest and everything in it.     

Where we can we are cleaning ourcarpark machines but you must come prepared to wash your hands if facilities are available and/orbring your own hand sanitiser. 

Will there be rangers on site to help me?   

To protect our staff and visitors and support safe social distancing, some of our visitor centres, information points and ranger stations may be closed. Where we have staff on site their focus will be on managing site safety. Please check our forest information pages before travelling to see whats available. 

How can I visit Westonbirt, The National Arboretum? 

In order to keep visitors, volunteers, staff and the local community safe, the number of people who can visit Westonbirt, The National Arboretum at one time has been limited.  To visit you must live locally and you must book a ticket in advance. This includes members of the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum - although they will not have to pay for the ticket.   


Food and drink onsite

Are onsite cafes and food outlets open?

Where they are open, our cafes and food outlets can offer a takeaway and/ or outdoor seated service (availability will vary per food outlet).  Seating and picnic benches in the wider forest are also available for you to use.

Please check the individual forest web pages for full details of facilities and opening times at the forest you want to visit. 

Can I bring a picnic?

Government guidance says that you can now visit outdoor spaces for recreation, as well as exercise. This means you can picnic in our forests in a group of 6 (the rule of 6), or in a group made up of two households (you must continue to maintain social distancing from those outside your household).

Can I book an onsite BBQ or bring my own disposable BBQ?

We are sorry but you cannot BBQ in our forests at this time. This is to help support social distancing while our sites are very busy and to help prevent forest fires.

Our bookable BBQs are closed. Please do not use your own disposable BBQ.


Events and permissions

Will Forest Live events still take place in the summer?

Sadly, government’s roadmap out of lockdown has made it clear that we cannot hold our Forest Live concerts this summer. We will be postponing our concerts until June 2022.

Visit our website for the rescheduled concert dates and full information.

Will motorsports events take place in your forests now restrictions are easing?

We will start hosting motorsports events in our forests from 30 September 2021, if those events meet COVID-19 requirements at that time. This is to support social distancing and to help meet the staffing demands of our sites, many of which are currently hugely busy with visitors and will likely remain so for the spring and summer.

Have other events restarted in your forests?

We are working hard to safely restart some events at our sites, in accordance with government’s roadmap of easing coronavirus restrictions. Government guidance, staff and site capacity, and the safety of our visitors, staff, volunteers and business partners will inform our decisions on what can and cannot take place right now.  



Activities onsite

Are children’s play areas and trails open?

Yes, children’s play areas and trails are open.

Please continue to follow social distancing guidelines and if the area or trail looks busy, come back another time. If you have worn a mask when with a child in a play area, please dispose of this in an onsite rubbish bin or take it home.

Is Go Ape running activities?

Go Ape locations in our forests are now open. Pre-booking is essential.

Go Ape asks that only those who are taking part in their activities attend, unless you are a supervising adult or a carer. More information is available on the Go Ape website.

Are the Gruffalo Spotters trails open?

Some of our sites installed the Gruffalo Spotters trail before the national lockdown restrictions. In most of these places the trail remains accessible along with other walking and cycling trails. We hope to be able to offer the Gruffalo Spotters packs for sale after 12 April, but please check with the forest you are planning to visit as availability may differ.

Please continue to follow social distancing guidelines and if the trail looks busy, come back another time.

At some sites where crowding has become an issue, we have temporarily removed the Gruffalo spotters trail. Please check what is available before you visit.

We will install the Gruffalo Spotters trail at other participating forests later in the year. You can sign up to receive family activity updates straight to your inbox. Find out more on our Gruffalo Spotters website page.

Are there children’s activities or trails planned over the Easter school holidays?

Trails and activities will vary at each of our sites, so if you are considering visiting one of our forests over the Easter holidays, please check what is available before you arrive. You can also find a wide range of downloadable activity sheets on our website to print and bring with you on your visit.


School and group visits

Can I bring my school group to the forest?

All schools or groups will need to book in advance, before visiting the forest. This applies whether the group is guided or self-guided. Schools or groups that haven’t booked may be turned away.

Please only bring one class group at a time. Our sites are busy and access to car parks, play equipment or recreational areas may be reduced. Please check your local forest site for more information before planning your visit.

Please note: Parking is not guaranteed, and we may close our sites at short notice if they are full.


Riding your bike or horse

Can I ride my bike or horse in the nation's forests?

We welcome responsible mountain bikers and riders. This is not a time for challenging yourself. It is important to avoid injury and reduce the pressure on our staff and the emergency services.

Please follow the guidance on social distancing and stop and wait for people to pass if necessary. Our trails need to be safety-checked so please accept that some bike trails may be closed, or altered, and follow any temporary signs.  

Let someone know where you are going and wear appropriate protective equipment such as a helmet. With our health and emergency services under such intense pressure please only ride routes you know well and that are well within your ability level.

Read British Cycling guidance and The British Horse Society guidance on coronavirus for riders.

Are bike parks open?  

Yes. Bike parks will be able to reopen from 29 March but may be subject to local closure decisions if overcrowding becomes an issue. Please check with your local site to confirm exactly when they will reopen as dates may vary.


Short breaks and holidays

Are the campsites and cabins in your forests open?

Camping in the Forest campsites and Forest Holidays locations hope to reopen in England from 12 April. More information about booking is on their websites.


Membership

How can I become a member?

Start your visit quicker and help support your local forest by becoming a member. Like other businesses coronavirus has significantly reduced our income. Our valued members’ support is vital, and along with our car parking income, goes back into creating beautiful forests for people to enjoy and homes for wildlife. Buy online and visit us the same day.

Beaver with tags in water
Returning England's lost creatures
Trees at Beechenhurst
Information and news from the forest
Car parking
Some car parks are still closed.
Child holding pine cones
We're bringing the forest into your home.