Well, we don’t know about you, but this weather has certainly got us in the mood for some outdoor adventure! If you’re a keen hiker, or simply appreciate a jolly jaunt in the countryside, then there’s a new walking trail we suggest you try: The National Forest Way.
Stretching from the National Forest Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to Beacon Hill Country Park in Leicestershire, The National Forest Way takes walkers through rolling rural landscapes, market towns and sleepy villages. You’ll cross canal towpaths, unearth hidden valleys and find yourself immersed in forests old and new. Sounds great, right?
The National Forest Way was opened last May after five years of planning and preparation. The distance? A little over 75 miles. But, before you start envisioning blistered big toes and wailing kids, don’t worry, the route is split into 12 smaller trails, varying in length from 4-7 ½ miles.
According to the official website, the shortest route will take the average walker a couple of hours to complete, while the longest route will take the best part of a day. Fancy conquering the whole 75 miles? Well, you best make sure you’ve got four days to spare, plus some sturdy walking boots!
The National Forest is a huge environmental project which has seen the creation of new woodland across 200 square miles of parts of Leicestershire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire, linking the ancient forests of Charnwood and Needwood. This region was once one of the least-wooded regions in the country; however, since 1995, the National Forest Company and its partners have been working to increase forest cover, and have planted more than 8 million trees. Not only does the new forest offer a beautiful spot for us all to enjoy, it also provides habitat for numerous species of wildlife.
Each individual walk is designed to showcase a different aspect of The National Forest. Through leaflets and signage, you’ll learn all about the area’s shifting landscape, from its industrial past to its modern-day transformation as a beautiful new forest.
All trails are close to local points of interest and public amenities, including toilets and places where you can stock-up on refreshments. If it’s a bright, sunny day, why not pack a lunch and take a pit-stop in one of the many picnic areas?
If you want to make a weekend of it, there are plenty of accommodation choices nearby, from cosy inns and guesthouses to log cabins, campsites and luxury hotels. Take your pick!
The National Forest Walking Festival is taking place from the 16-28 May, with a programme packed full of guided and themed walks for all ages and abilities. This is the perfect excuse to get the tribe together and make the most of this beautiful new trail set in the heart of The Midlands!
(PS: If you’re in the Derbyshire area, why not swing by and visit our Go Ape Buxton course? We’d love to see you!)