Lake District Forests & Forest Trails
There are four main Lake District forests with public access and recreational facilities, all with online trail guides which can be found below. These are managed by the Forestry Commission.
Whinlatter forest is England’s only mountain forest and is located near Keswick in the North Lakes.
Grizedale forest is situated in the South Lakes near Hawkshead and is of lower altitude.
Ennerdale forest is the most westerly, near Ennerdale Water.
The Dodd wood covers a hill between Keswick and Bassenthwaite and overlooks Bassenthwaite Lake.
Of the Lake District Forests only Whinlatter and Grizedale forest have (very popular) visitor centres and many outdoor adventure activities while The Dodd has an Osprey viewing point and a tearoom and Ennerdale forest is the most remote and tranquil.
Lake District Forest Trails
Keswick / Bassenthwaite – Dodd Wood
Starting point : Dodd Wood car park opposite Mirehouse
- Douglas Fir trail – distance 1 mile – allow 1 hour
- Sandbed Gill trail – distance 1.5 miles – allow 2 hours
- Skill Beck trail – distance 1.5 miles -allow 2 hours
- Dodd Summit trail – distance 3 miles – allow 3 hours
The magnificent Douglas Fir trees on the lower slopes of Dodd Wood are the prominent feature of this trail. These trees are selectively thinned to create gaps on the forest floor so that natural regeneration of Douglas Firs takes place. This is called continuous cover, which means there is no clear felling required.
This trail gently traverses northwards through areas of conifer and broadleaved woodland crossing Sandbed Gill. There are fine views to be seen of the northern end of Bassenthwaite Lake. The trail returns to the car park and tearoom through areas of semi-natural and mixed woodland.
Skill Beck provides water to the Old Saw Mill Tearoom and Mirehouse. The trail climbs over 300 metres crossing the beck and following its course back to the car park and tearoom. Excellent views of Bassenthwaite Lake and surrounding fells can be seen along this trail.
The summit of Dodd Wood gives unrivaled panoramas which encompass Derwentwater, Bassenthwaite Lake, the Solway Coast and even the hills of Dumfries and Galloway. This steep circular trail passes through wooded slopes, dramatic open hills and spectacular scenery.
Keswick / Braithwaite / Lorton – Whinlatter Forest Park
Starting point : Whinlatter Visitor Centre car park
- Revelin Moss Trail – distance :1 mile
- Squirrel Scurry – distance : 1 mile
- Seat How Summit – distance : 3.5 miles
- Masmill Beck Trail – distance : 1.25 miles
- Tracks Trail – distance : 1.25 miles
- Heavy Sides Trail – distance : 1.5 miles
- Comb Beck Trail – distance : 1.75 miles
- Two Gills Trail – distance : 1.75 miles
Ennerdale Bridge – Ennerdale Forest
Starting point : Bowness Knott car park
- Smithy Beck Trail – distance 2 miles – allow 1 hour
- Round the Lake – distance 6.5 miles – allow 3 to 4 hours plus picnic time
Hawkshead / Coniston – Grizedale Forest Park
Starting point Grizedale Visitor Centre to collect map – see map below.
- Ridding Wood Trail – distance 1 mile
- Machell’s Coppice Trail – distance 1.5 miles
- Millwood Trail – distance 1.5 miles
- High Bowkerstead Trails – distance 2 to 4 miles
- Bogle Crag Trail – distance 3 miles
- Silurian Way – distance 10 miles
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