Hamsterley Forest

(Thanks Gary Richardson)

Start and Finish

The Grove car park - about 2 miles from the Visitor Centre - along the forest drive. Park in the right hand-side of the car park. Grid Reference: 068299

Description

A walk along forest roads and tracks, visiting some of the more remote parts of the forest. Apart from one or two mountain bikers you are unlikely to meet anyone.
Distance: approx 7 m (There are also approx 200 metres of ascent on this walk) Approx walking time: 2hour 30 minutes.

The Walk

Leave the car park by the steps at the rear, go along a narrow path for a couple of hundred metres until you emerge onto a gravel road. Just to your left will a crossroads, there are two uphill roads, one with a red way marker and the other on the right, which is ours. Go uphill and follow the road, which climbs gently, for about 2 miles to reach a fork in the road. Take the right hand fork and continue on the road for another couple of kilometres.

There are wonderful views, through the gaps in the trees, of the Euden Beck valley below you. Eventually you will emerge into an area of cleared forest, shortly afterwards another forest road will come in from the right. Keep left at this point and continue uphill to reach the high point of the walk at Neighbour Moor, over 400 metres above sea level. On a clear day the views are extensive. You are now at another set of cross roads, continuing in the same direction, the track bends slightly away to the left at first. This will lead you to a wooden seat at the second junction, the wood to your left is Pennington Wood, which is one of the highest beech woods in England. Turn left at the seat and go uphill to another junction where you want to turn right. Go down hill through mature plantations to reach a third set of crossroads, here take the left hand road.

Continue on this track, ignoring a road on your left, after a couple of right and left turns, take the left fork in the road. You are now in a mixed area of woodland, on the other side of the hill, with views now of the Spurlswood valley. Continue on the road to a 'T' junction where you turn right, follow the road for about another 2.5 miles to yet another 'T' junction, again turn right and go down hill to arrive back at the first set of crossroads. From here retrace your outward steps to the car park.