Forests and Woods around Keswick the Lake District
Great Wood & Cockshot Wood
An extensive woodland area to the south of Keswick, running up to Walla Crag and overlooking Derwentwater. There's a fairly easy walk to the top of Walla Crag via the ancient packhorse Ashness Bridge - one of the most photographed and painted bridges in the Lake District. The views from the top of Walla Crag are truly breathtaking.
If you're looking for an easy or moderate walk close to Keswick, the National Trust have created seven waymarked walks through the woods and along the lakeshore. Ranging from just 15 minutes to 1¾ hours the routes are easy to follow, whichever one you choose.
The shortest walk, around Cockshot Wood, starts right next to the National Trust's Keswick lakeside shop includes wildplay areas for den building, a magic climbing tree and dragons, while the trees provide a bit of shelter from the wind for families with young children.
The longest walk, around Great Wood, starts from the National Trust Great Wood car park, just 1 mile outside Keswick and climbs up to the top of the internationally significant Atlantic Oakwood. People often spot red squirrels and even roe deer in the wood, and from the top of the hill a few 'windows' through the trees give glimpses out over Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite.
A few miles north of Keswick is Dodd Wood where you'll find a network of forest walks through some huge Douglas firs, some of which will take you up to Skiddaw. The routes range from short trails ideal for younger children to the Dodd summit trail. If you take the track up to the top of Dodd you'll enjoy fabulous 360 degree views.
At Dodd, the Forestry Commission have created special viewpoints to watch the Ospreys during the season (April to August). Dodd is also the place to park if you want to visit Mirehouse, the family home of the Speddings. The house and its grounds are wonderful to explore, there are our playgrounds, a lakeside walk and a heather maze.
Whinlatter, just up the hill from the village of Braithwaite, is England's only true Mountain Forest. It rises to 790 metres above sea level and offers amazing views of the Lake District and into Scotland.
Owned by the Forestry Commission, Whinlatter is home to a number of graded walks through the forest on marked trails. There are plenty of opportunities for cycling on forest tracks and on specialist trails. It is easily reached by car, bus or bike via the village of Braithwaite. There is now a special bike bus to take you and your bike up to Whinlatter.
The forest is a great haven for wildlife and a popular haven for a number of birds, the most famous of which are the Osprey. Live pictures of the Osprey can be seen in the Visitor Centre when they are nesting.
A children's play area gives youngsters the opportunity to experiment and explore the natural environment. Delights include a giant Archimedes Screw, secret doors in trees hiding surprises and a series of pulleys and buckets to move millions of little pebbles.
For those over the age of ten there's a treetop adventure playground called Go Ape! It's a high level journey along bridges, Tarzan swings and zip slides up to 40 feet in the trees. All you need is a head for heights and lots of energy.
Whinlatter Forest - Mountain Bikers Paradise
Mountain Bikers love the specially made trails through the forest at Whinlatter.
The Altura Trail - Red Graded
This Red graded trail has two halves - the North Loop is approximately 9.5km in length with some superb flowing sections of singletrack; the climbs are well rewarded with what some think is the best downhill in the UK. Technical forest sections and optional black graded features can all be found. The South loop is approximately 10km in length and is slightly less technical than the North loop. A pleasant singletrack climb to the midway point allows you to choose between a flowing downhill section or a continuation of the climb to the top of Hospital Ridge. This gives superb views across the peaks of the North Lakes.
The Quercus trail - Blue Graded
At around 8km in length, the entire trail meanders up, over and around the lower section of the forest and skips the big climbs of the Altura trail. despite the smaller gain in altitude the Blue loop rewards you with mellow berms, rollovers and boardwalks.