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Britain > Lake District > Whinlatter Forest

A medium-sized fell in the north-west of the Lake District and the the only mountain forest in England

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Walking Trails
Treetop Obstacle Course
Mountain Biking
Whinlatter is a medium-sized fell in the north-west of the Lake District. Due to a timber shortage after World War I, trees were planted here in huge quantities. Over the years, these plants grew tall and wild, and today - at several hundred metres above sea level - this is the only mountain forest in England.

Part of Whinlatter Forest
Photo alh1
The most obvious way to explore the area is to hike along one of the many walking trails. There's lots to see, from the atmospheric woods themselves, to the open views of the nearby Bassenthwaite Lake. Those with keen eyesight may be able to spot deer, or red squirrels, and those who want to make the journey can take the path out to Spout Force, a 30-feet-tall waterfall.
This is actually one of the most well-organised places to walk in the entire Lake District, with all the different trails clearly way-marked, meaning that you can easily follow the right route. On the other hand, if you enjoy trying to find your own way, then you should try out a bit of orienteering - because Whinlatter has a permanent course.
Maps and advice are available from the Whinlatter Visitor Centre, which is the hub of the area, and the first port of call for most people. It features lots of information about the area, as well as a shop, and a restaurant. It also features a popular CCTV feed from the nearby osprey nests, so you can get a close-up view of the chicks. These birds of prey are among the rarest in Britain, and the fact that they currently breed in the Lake District is a great success for conservationists.
The visitor centre also displays an example of an abandoned osprey nest. However, for a closer look at the real creatures, you can take a trip out to the nearby Dodd Wood, where they can have two osprey viewpoints. From here you can see both the current nest, and the lake, where the majestic hunting birds can be seen in action.
Back at Whinlatter, there is plenty more to do. Younger adventurers can walk trails specifically aimed at children, or clamber around the forest playground. Older climbers, meanwhile, can head for a place called "Go Ape", which is essentially a giant obstacle course in the sky! Using rope and wood, they've built an adventure playground in the trees, dozens of feet up in the air. There are bridges, tunnels, and ladders, as well as an adrenaline-pumping zip-line.
The adventurous sort may also want to head for one of the mountain biking trails, which cover over 20km of Whinlatter's slopes. These are purposely built for that one reason, and so this actually may be the best place to mountain bike in the entire National Park. The routes are filled with spectacular forest scenery, wooden bridges, and sweeping curves. Every uphill is rewarded with a beautiful view - and of course, a speedy downhill section. There are routes to suit many different skill levels, and coaching courses are also available.
At first glance, Whinlatter may look like a remote, sleepy forest in the middle of nowhere. But when you actually begin to explore it, you'll find that there's enough to do here to keep you occupied for a very long time!
Visitor Information
Whinlatter Visitor’s Centre is open daily from 10am to 4pm (5pm in Summer). Entry is FREE. Whinlatter Forest Park Centre, Whinlatter Pass, Braithwaite, Keswick, Cumbria,CA12 5TW. Tel: 017687 78469
Whinlatter Go Ape is open from April to October and weekends in November (closed on Tuesdays during term time). Opening times vary according to daylight. Entry costs around £30 for adults, £20 children. Whinlatter Forest Park, Whinlatter Pass, Braithwaite, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 5TW. Tel: 0845 643 92 15

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