You’re absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to walks in Grizedale Forest thanks to its vibrant woods, vast network of trails, exceptional viewpoints, wildlife spotting opportunities and fantastic resident sculptures. The forest occupies 9.4 square miles (24.47 km2) of hilly Lake District terrain and rises up from the majestic Coniston Water’s western boundary. To the north east lies Esthwaite Water while in the east, Windermere isn’t far.
There are hikes in Grizedale Forest for every ability and mood. Children will love exploring the trails to find the sculptures hidden amongst the trees whilst seasoned walkers can spend a full day adventuring in the woodlands and finding their rugged crags. There’s a visitor centre in the heart of the forest and plenty of car parks dotted around so it’s easy to start your adventure from a variety of places.
Tarns, lookout points and waterfalls await. It’s time to lace up your boots and head out the door.
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Hiking to Grizedale’s highlights
Much of the Lake District’s phenomenal terrain is exposed with only small pockets of woodland. When it comes to walks in Grizedale Forest though, trees surround you at every step. The depth of the forest makes for magical adventures where the area’s secrets appear suddenly, at the very last moment. Some of the best hiking trails in Grizedale Forest undoubtedly take you to Carron Crag, its highest point and a truly magnificent viewpoint. You ascend through the woods until you break the treeline and make straight for the crag as it erupts from the bracken around it. Standing atop the rocks, you can enjoy 360-degree views across the national park.
There are numerous tarns within the forest too, and you will likely happen upon some by accident as you roam between the trees. The largest and most impressive are Goosey Foot in the north, Grizedale Tarn in the south east and Wood Moss in the south west. In addition to these little lakes, almost all hikes will lead you past some of the 50 sculptures dotted throughout. These stunning contemporary creations are created by a variety of artists and are often made from natural materials, many of which are permanent.
When to visit Grizedale Forest
You can enjoy the beautiful hikes in Grizedale Forest at any time of year and much of the woodland is evergreen. However, there are still plenty of deciduous species which turn swathes of the forest to stunning shades of red, gold and orange throughout autumn. Spring and summer bring flowers, bird song and fresh greens whilst winter hangs mist in the valleys and crisp sunshine in the skies. Rain can arrive in any month and without much warning, so always bring waterproofs.
You can spot an array of wildlife through the year as well. Red squirrels call the woods their home, although they’re hard to spot and generally shy. Red and roe deer also live here, as do badgers and foxes. Red kites were recently reintroduced, so keep a lookout in the skies, whilst woodpeckers will make themselves heard happily.
Explore more of Cumbria: Browse the best Hikes in other regions.