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The Best Spots for a Woodland Walk in the North East and Yorkshire

The Best Spots for a Woodland Walk in the North East and Yorkshire
March 2024
Reading time 3 Minutes

International Day of Forests may have past but Easter is a great time to get outside and enjoy a walk

Read on to find our favourite woodlands and forests to walk in.
North East

Kielder Water & Forest Park

Kielder holds the impressive accolade of being England’s largest forest, and its trees are an essential haven for British wildlife, including England’s largest remaining population of red squirrels and a growing population of ospreys. Whether you’re looking for a tranquil trail along the banks of the reservoir, a chance to see forest restoration in action at Kielder Wildwood, or set your sights on discovering the unique collection of art and architecture dotted throughout the landscape, the Kielder website is packed with routes to choose from. Alternatively, walking guides available on the Outdoor Active app will keep you on track and tell you what to look out for en route.
For more information visit

Hamsterley Forest 

At 2,000 hectares, Durham’s largest forest sprawls along the edges of a gorgeous sheltered valley. For a shorter walk, the Bedburn Valley Walk will take you through ancient oak and stunning mixed woodland high above the valley, while the longer Three Becks Walk descends to take in the ruins of an old coaching inn and a sculpture of the mythic Green Man.

Chopwell Wood, Rowlands Gill

Around 10 miles south west of Gateshead, Chopwell Wood is a mixed conifer and broadleaf wood, spanning almost 900 acres of the Derwent Valley. Try the Old Railway Footpath walk from Forestry England for a route that will take you into the heart of the woodland, and along a disused railway, with restored examples of the railway trucks that once ferried coal from nearby collieries. 

Holystone Wood, Rothbury

A walk through this haven of tranquility in Coquetdale will take you through ancient broadleaf woods full of sessile oak, birch, rowan and holly trees via picturesque waterfalls and crags. Try The Lady’s Well Walk, and emerge at a seemingly unassuming pool in the village where St Paulinus is said to have baptised 3,000 Northumbrians during Easter week in AD 627. 

Guisborough Forest

Get lost in the trees and be rewarded with breathtaking views over Guisborough and Teesside when you take on one of the walks through this forest at the edge of the the North York Moors. Forestry England has three trails to choose from ranging from 1.5 miles to 2.5 miles, so you should have plenty of time to take in the views or stop for a picnic under the canopy en route. 


Kilburn Woods

See one of North Yorkshire’s most iconic landmarks, the Kilburn White Horse, up close at Kilburn Woods. There are two trails to choose from, but to really get a sense of the scale of the horse we recommend the White Horse Trail which begins with a climb up the steps directly alongside the huge hillside figure, before taking in panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and descending back through the woodland. 

Dalby Forest

In the heart of the North York Moors National Park, Dalby Forest is a sprawling oasis of stunning woodland habitats and a hub of outdoor activity including extensive walking trails. The Dalby Beck Yellow Trail has a convenient starting point at the Visitor Centre and takes you up a steep hill to spectacular views over the Low Dalby Valley. From there you have the option to extend your route via the wildlife hide at the Ellerburn pond, if you like. 

Wheldrake Wood, York 

Wheldrake is a predominantly pine woodland near York. The wide central path and flat terrain at Wheldrake Woods make it fantastically accessible for families with pushchairs, but an alternative network of more informal paths means that there’s also plenty of scope for exploring off the beaten track.

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, Ripon

The Fountains Abbey ancient trees walk begins at the visitor centre, and takes you on an easy walk along the paths of the Deer Park to discover the impressive collection of centuries-old trees that continue to thrive there.
For more information visit

Hackfall Wood, Grewelthorpe

It’s no accident that this forest is incredibly beautiful; it was designed that way. The planned landscape is a Grade I-listed garden and was created in the 18th century, with charming follies and waterfalls throughout. These were restored in 2007, bringing the site back to its original grandeur, and making it as enjoyable a landscape for humans as it is for the fantastic population of birds and other wildlife that make it a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
For more information visit

Ecclesall Woods, Sheffield

As the largest ancient woodland in South Yorkshire, we think Ecclesall Woods is the best place for a woodland wander near Sheffield. The woods are actually comprised of three separate woodlands divided by roads, so head to the Woodland Discovery Centre before your walk to find free information and decide on one of their routes.
For more information visit

Unless otherwise specified, visit for more information about routes and to find forests and woodlands near you.

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