Summer is on the way and Forestry England know just how important it is to get the whole family outside enjoying the fresh air. The Hiking Household was kindly invited to discover more of what Forestry England has on offer for families. Whether you’re staying local to explore your nearest woodland, or if you’re a visitor this summer, we have rounded up five of our favourite family forest walks here in Cumbria. There is sure to be something for the whole family to enjoy. For further details on Forestry England and the walks they provide please see www.forestryengland.uk
With miles of gravel road, surfaces paths and tracks to explore this day out is sure to bring lots of adventure for the whole family. Set in stunning woodlands in the northern Lake District you will be treated to some incredible views whilst exploring this area.
Whilst visiting Dodd Wood you are sure to find something for the whole family to enjoy. You could choose to take one of the shorter trails through the forest and return to enjoy a hot drink at the café, or perhaps you’re feeling more adventurous? The walk to the top of Dodd Summit provides a more strenuous walk with stunning views across the Lake District fells.
Dodd Summit is one of the famous 214 Wainwright walks, whilst it is a harder walk for smaller children, it is one of the more manageable wainwright walks. Strenuous walks don’t always mean you have to leave the toddlers behind! To read how we got our small children up Dodd Summit click here.
For those hoping for a less strenuous day out there are many trails to enjoy within Dodd Wood. The Douglas Fir trail is a spectacular one mile walk deep in the woodland. Small children will love to head out on a bug hunt through the forest; keep your eyes peeled for the squirrels! The Skill Beck trail is another lovely family route, this walk offers the excitement of crossing a beck and returns back at The Old Sawmill Tearoom.
For a family adventure deep in the woods, with toilets, a tearoom and the option to bag a wainwright this really is a perfect family day out!
Nestled adjacent to the River Eden between Carlisle and Penrith this woodland walk is a natural playground for the whole family to enjoy. Whilst the paths here are not waymarked the informal trails are just waiting to be explored!
The two mile trail that my children and I discovered followed the banks of the River Eden, leading to hidden sculptures deep within the wood. A walk sheltered from all of the elements this would be a great walk to explore in the sunshine, or the rain.
You are able to read about The Hiking Household’s trip to Coombs Wood with their small children here.
Our family have been enjoying the fantastic facilities of Whinlatter for many years! There are so many trails to explore, for both kids and adults! It is also home to the longest purpose built mountain bike trails in the Lake District. There are running trails, cycle trails, walking trails, a wonderful outdoor play park (including water play!) and a cafe, visitors centre and bike hire! Keep your eyes peeled for two new Go Ape experiences coming to Whinlatter this summer.
The Guffalo trail has now moved on and has been replaced with a firm favourite of ours; The Superworm. This family friendly walk is great for those with younger children, you are able to purchase an activity pack from the visitor centre and the route is off road pram accessible.
There are a multitude of walks to enjoy here at Whinlatter, as well as the highlight for my children: the WildPlay trail. You can try out the climbing wall, draw water from the stream of work with friends to build a dam. With plenty of outside picnic benches, a visitors centre and wonderful café this is a fantastic full family day out.
WildPlay Trail, Whinlatter
Grizedale Forest offers a fantastic day out for the whole family with a wide range of walking trails to choose from, some easier than others. There is also a visitors centre, toilets, a play park, GoApe and cycle centre.
For those families with older children who are keen for a challenge you could opt to complete the Silurian Way. This 10 mile trial is the ultimate Grizedale walk with many different artworks to see along the way.
If, like me, you have little children joining you for your walk you may like to complete the Millwood trail. This is a perfect starter trail here at Grizedale. There is the option to walk the short route, at only 0.6 miles, or the longer route at 1.5 miles. The added excitement of a play park at the end of these trials is sure to keep those little legs walking when they’re feeling tired!
To access a map of all of the fantastic walking routes Grizedale offers please click here.
Ennerdale Water is the most westerly lake in the Lake District National Park and, thanks to its remote area, is often overlooked. This is a great day out for families escaping the summer rush. There are many trails to enjoy here, both on foot and bike.
The 1.5 mile, way marked, Ennerdale Views trail is one of our favourite family friendly routes in The Lake District. The path is suitable for all terrain pushchairs and offers plenty of benches for rest, and snack stops! The 2 mile Smithy Beck trail is also another family friendly walk, offering an exciting explore deep within the wood.
The Round the Lake trail is a fantastic route for those with older children who fancy a longer, more strenuous, walk. This 6.6 mile low level, circular walk takes you the full way around Ennerdale Water.
Why not download the Forestry England’s Fantastic Forests activity here and test your children’s knowledge of woody words whilst exploring Ennerdale. Don’t forget, for all updates on family fun activities, sign up to the Forestry England newsletter here now.
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