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Hamsterley Forest, Hamsterley

4.2
#7 of 42 in Parks in County Durham
Forest · Nature / Park
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Hamsterley Forest is a commercial forest in County Durham operated by the Forestry Commission. It is the largest forest in County Durham and covers more than. Recreational activities are promoted within the forest and are focussed at the eastern end around the visitors centre. In addition to the visitors centre there is an adjacent cafe, an education room, toilet facilities and an independent bike shop called Wood'n'Wheels that also hires out bikes.HistoryDuring the 1930s, the Forest was planted and tracks were built by unemployed men supplied through the Ministry of Labour. Most came from the mining communities and shipyards of the North East of England. They were housed in one of a number of Instructional Centres created by the Ministry, most of them on Forestry Commission property; by 1938, the Ministry had 35 Instructional Centres across Britain. These were basically work camps, where unemployed men carried out heavy labour and lived on site in wooden huts. The Instructional Centres were closed in 1938, as unemployment declined in the run-up to war, but some of the huts can still be seen around the Visitors' Centre, which was originally built as the camp's refectory. The Visitors' Centre was part of a prisoner of war camp during the Second World War.A number of Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age flint tools have been found in Doctor's Gate Quarry. An area of the forest is probably the site of a 15th-century iron ore processing site. An area next to Linburn Hall Wood was the site of a medieval convent.An episode of Time Team in 2008 examined a large stone structure known as "the Castles", with walls five metres thick. It appears to date from the late Iron Age and may have been an animal enclosure.
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Hamsterley Forest reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
407 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Ad a lovely couple of hours here.Great for families with lots of activities for children. Stunning setting. 
    Ad a lovely couple of hours here.Great for families with lots of activities for children. Stunning setting.  more »
  • Another lovely visit today....lovely walks and a nice sunny day. Spoke to a couple of the maintenance rangers called Brenda and another very friendly guy (think his name was Herbert?). They were... 
    Another lovely visit today....lovely walks and a nice sunny day. Spoke to a couple of the maintenance rangers called Brenda and another very friendly guy (think his name was Herbert?). They were...  more »
Google
  • Varied woodland alongside a small river. Beautiful scenery offering a good variety of walking and cycling trails, including sculptures. Cycling options range from simple and easy gravel roads to a good number of demanding and well maintained advanced cross country trails. Great fun and something for petty much everyone. Decent cafe options.
  • Love this forest, I have been going here since I was a kid. Walk run, bike ride, horse riding it has it all. Great place to escape the every day life, fab place for walking kids and dogs.. I prefer away from main car park but the draw of fab cafe is very hard to resist. I do boot camps down in the forest every week Love it

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