Whinlatter Forest Park

Whinlatter Forest Park, Near Keswick, CA12 5TW
Whinlatter Forest

Whinlatter Forest (alh1 / Flickr.com)

Planted in response to timber shortages following World War One, Whinlatter Forest in the fells above Bassenthwaite Lake is said to be the only mountain forest in England and is owned and maintained by the Forestry Commission.

It is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts, with a variety of different activities to try. The area is also brimming with wildlife, including deer, red squirrels, and osprey.

Planning Your Visit

Contact Details:
01768 778 469 / Website
Free (Charges for some activities and parking)
Seasonal Opening:
All Year

Things To See

At the main car park (Grid Ref NY209245) there is a visitor centre, gift shop, and café. Here you can view the Osprey Camera with live footage from the ospreys’ nearby nesting site during their nesting season. The centre also has displays on local wildlife and activities for children.

The Cyclewise shop is also located in the main car park and from here you can hire a mountain bike to use in the park or alternatively you can bring your own. The forest is home to the longest purpose-built mountain bike trail in the Lake District and there are two trails available.

The Altura trail is 12km long and graded as hard, suitable for experienced riders, whilst the Quercus Trail is 7.5km with a shorter option of 3.5km suitable for intermediate users.

Go Ape also operate their highest trail in the country at Whinlatter, with Scotland visible from the top of the course that mixes high ropes with zip lines and swings. You can also hire a Segway from Go Ape that you can use in the forest. Charges apply.

Wildplay is a free trail for children to explore with a mixture of slides, climbing walls, swings, a gravel pit and a stream fitted with Archimedes Screws used to bring water up into a series of troughs. There are also wood carvings with doors revealing hidden secrets and activities that are suitable for a range of ages from preschool and up.

Alternatively, you can take a hike up one of the walking trails with spectacular views of Bassenthwaite and the Derwent Fells revealed along the way, and the chance to spot one of the native wildlife. Maps are available to buy in the visitor centre.

Useful Information

  • Parking is quite expensive compared to other areas in the Lake District, although the money does go towards maintaining the forest and the facilities that are on site. You can pay with cash, a debit / credit card, or online up to 24 hours after your visit.
  • Siskins Café is open most days (weather permitting) serving hot and cold meals and delicious sweet treats. The adjoining gift shop has a range of unusual gifts including locally produced crafts and toys for children.
  • There are public toilets available at the visitor centre.
  • The visitor centre, shop, café and toilets are all wheelchair accessible and there is one walking trail suitable for wheelchair users.
  • During the winter months Whinlatter can experience heavy snowfall that may not be evident from the lower ground around Bassenthwaite and it is worth checking the Forestry Commission website for any updates before you travel. It does, however, provide a magical place in which to create a snowman.


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