Hamsterley Forest

Visitor information

Discover our picturesque woodlands which sprawl along the sides of a stunning sheltered valley

Escape the hustle and bustle of the everyday at County Durham’s largest forest. 

From wildlife watching to stargazing, and adventure play for all the family to exhilarating mountain biking, there is something to keep everyone busy.

If you fancy a peaceful wander through the trees, Hamsterley’s extensive network of trails and paths provides the perfect opportunity for you to explore the heart of the forest.

What's on

Forest event
10 March 2024
9am

Update: Hamsterley Forest Runner has been cancelled

Unfortunately this event will not be going ahead. Try Forest Runner at Dalby instead.

Be a forest runner and join us in our running series across the nation’s forests this spring. The profits from Forest Runner sales help us grow, shape and care for the nation's forests, now and for future generations.

Whether you are a 5k or a 10k Forest Runner, choose your challenge and enjoy a run in some beautiful surroundings.

Join in the conversation using #ForestRunner

Members get 15% off Forest Runner tickets!

Forest Runner events are managed in partnership with Events of the North.

The Gruffalo is celebrating his 25th birthday and to celebrate, everyone is invited to take part in a brand-new forest adventure.

What to expect

The interactive family trail features all sorts of party-themed activities and games, along with fun facts to teach you about life in the forest for the Gruffalo and other creatures.

Follow the trail to help find the missing party items to give the Gruffalo a birthday to remember. Search for balloons, pine cones, apples and the Gruffalo himself, and complete fun activities and rubbings as you go along.

Get the party started with a Gruffalo Party Trail pack

Pick up your pack for just £4 from the cafe during opening hours, packed with fun things to do on your party adventure.

Inside you’ll find:

kraft bag to colour in party headband to wear party trail activity leaflet stickers pencil and crayon keepsake sew-on Gruffalo Party patch

Share your party fun using the #GruffaloTrail hashtag.

The Gruffalo © 1999 & TM Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler. Licensed by Magic Light Pictures Ltd.

Hamsterley Forest is a delightful 2,000 hectare oasis, sprawling along the sides of a sheltered valley.

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.

 

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.

Explore over 2,000 hectares of forest along 33 miles of way-marked trails and countless more miles of seldom travelled forest road.

If you venture into the deep dark wood you may bump into the Gruffalo and the Gruffalo's Child plus other characters from Julia Donaldson's fantastic story. 

Each wooden sculpture has been carved in a different position - can you find them all?

Post your Gruffalo photos on our Facebook page  - we'd love to see them.

Nearby forests

Chopwell Wood bench under trees

Chopwell Wood really is a wood for everyone. This 360-hectare mixed woodland is a real gem, set right on the fringe of Gateshead.

Close up of spruce tree trunk

Overlooking Derwent Reservoir, Slaley Forest is home to a selection of forest roads which give you access to the forest.

Open all year, come rain or shine, the forest is a great location for a leisurely woodland walk or bike ride.  

 

Kielder Water and Forest Park

Although it's England's largest forest, Kielder is not just about trees. At any one time, a quarter of the area of Kielder is open space, including England’s largest area of blanket bog. Kielder is also England’s most important red squirrel reserve, home to the biggest remaining population of red squirrels in the country.

A view of arable land with Roseberry Topping in the skyline

Discover the most breathtaking views as you take a walk through stunning natural scenery at Guisborough Forest.

Nestled between Teesside and the North York Moors, Guisborough Forest is home to a trim trail, a cycling trail, play areas and superb walking trails for relaxing, connecting to nature and getting lost in the trees. 

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