Whinlatter Forest is England’s only mountain forest. Planting first started after the first world war to combat the timber shortage. Whinlatter has had considerable investment in order to turn it into a recreational resource with many waymarked woodland paths.
The Visitor Centre is the ideal place to start a visit. In the centre you will find a seasonal DVD & a live Red Squirrel Camera, which are both shown on screens. Also when the Ospreys return there is a live camera link showing the nest and all the activity that takes place in it. This tends to replace the live Red Squirrel camera. During the season there are Osprey staff and volunteers who will answer any questions about Ospreys. There are also Osprey and Red Squirrel Interpretation Panels.
There is also a book and gift shop and a very popular restaurant. The shop sells a guide to the forest, showing the fourteen miles of road suitable for walkers and cyclists, as well as many other paths for walkers.
There are some spectacular views across the fells and forests of Northern Lakeland. Mountain bike hire is also available here. Guides to the forest trails can be found on the Lake District Forests and Forest Trails page.
Over Bassenthwaite lake is the Osprey Watch viewing facility in Dodd Wood. Both are staffed by volunteers explaining about these rare birds.
The ‘Wildplay’ project is a 600m-long trail with nine separate play areas designed for children aged between six and 13-years-old. (Tried and tested by Visit Cumbria small beasts and thoroughly approved of).
It includes an array of exciting elements, including a rope bridge, large slide, climbing features, a pushchair halfpipe, and water attractions such as an Archimedes screw and splash pumps.
Whinlatter Forest Park is home to the longest purpose-built mountain bike trail in the Lake District. The Altura Trail puts the mountain back into biking and has been built for experienced riders with good off road skills and a higher level of fitness and stamina.
For children there is a adventure forest playground, and junior trails that start and end at the visitor centre.
There are also Go Ape Tree Top Adventure and Go Ape Forest Segway at Whinlatter.
2022 Parking charges – Up to 20 mins Free / 1st Hour £2.20 / Additional time 50p per 20 mins / All Day (8:30 to 20:30) £8.00. There is now a pay on exit machine. Prices correct as of 21st March 2022
An annual Carpark Pass which is called a Discovery Pass is also available for Whinlatter Forest, Dodd Wood and Whinlatter/Grizedale forest. It is good value if you visit any of the forests frequently. These can be purchased from Whinlatter Visitor Centre or on the Forestry Commission Discovery Pass Website
- Wildplay at Whinlatter
- Bushcraft at Whinlatter
- Mountain biking at Whinlatter – Trails & Bike Hire
- Go Ape at Whinlatter
- Osprey Watch at Dodd Wood and Whinlatter Forest.
- Forest Trails
- Places to Visit in the Lake District
- North Lakes Area Menu
Grid Ref: NY 210245 / CA12 5TW
The image of Mountain Biking on the Altura Trail is a still taken from a GoPro video courtesy of RS Film & Photography