Hamsterley Forest

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A long, enjoyable all-year-round walk exploring County Durham's largest forest. This is a typical forest walk on well-maintained, wide, stony tracks. Although the extent of the forest is shown on the OS map to be thickly wooded, there are large open tracts to the west caused by extensive felling that create great viewing points.

This is a circular walk, with the whole route lying entirely within the confines of the forest. The walk starts from the visitor centre and passes through dense mature trees on surfaced roads and forest tracks in the eastern and southern parts of the forest, before emerging into a huge area of coniferous saplings in the western part, where the track borders the edge of the forest, giving extensive views across Eggleston Common. The walk then rises to the highest point of the forest before dropping down to the Euden Valley. The long, mainly flat walk back along the valley of the Euden Beck is among a mix of mature broadleaved and coniferous trees. In the narrow part of the forest called The Grove, the walk encounters houses, in contrast to the uninhabited area of the western part of the forest. The final section of the walk through the north-east corner of the forest includes a couple of short, steep ascents with a long, straight, flat section and a final descent back to the visitor centre.

The terrain is undulating with a couple of long ascents and descents. The large western section of the forest provides a couple of good opportunities for panoramic views. All of the tracks are well-signposted (colour-coded for walking and cycling) and without exception are well-maintained and ideal for walking at any time of the year.

The forest is dog-friendly, with no awkward stiles to negotiate and no areas containing livestock on the route. Owners are not asked to keep their dogs on leads at all times, but are expected to be able to keep close control of their pet, especially when other woodland users are in the vicinity.

By taking advantage of the short cut between Waymarks 5 and 19 (a distance of 350 yards), the length of the walk can be considerably shortened to 4.5 miles.

England - North England - Durham - Countryside

Features

Birds, Butterflies, Flowers, Gift Shop, Hills or Fells, Nature Trail, River, Tea Shop, Toilets, Waterfall, Wildlife, Woodland
24/04/2019 - Jill Dixon

20/4/19 great walk. At point 13 of the guidance the red arrow is pointing in the opposite direction to where you need to walk. Still turn left. At point 22 work is underway and the pathway fenced off. Hopefully this is only temporary due to work constructing a new road from the visitor centre.

08/06/2015 - Joyce Hindhaugh

31.05.15. This was a great walk to do on a windy day. There was only a very short stretch on the outskirts of the forest where we were a little exposed. Undulating and enjoyable. Easy to follow instructions. Distance accurate. Thanks!!

23/05/2011 - mark pallister

We did this walk on Sunday 22/05/2011. It's a really nice varied walk with some excellent views. I would say that it's very hilly, both up and down, but worth the effort.

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25.5 Miles