I love a good walk, and a good forest walk is even better! For the last couple of years I have persuaded the brood to head out and clear out the cobwebs on New Years Day. This year the target location was Grizedale Forest.
Grizedale Forest is to the west of Lake Windermere in the southern Lake District. We looked at going last year but because we were still living near Preston, it was a little far for a day out. Now just an hour or so away, we decided it was the perfect place for a New Year walk.
Getting to Grizedale
I’m not sure if we took the scenic route – we follow Apple Maps and that tends to take you the back roads – but the journey to Grizedale was interesting to say the least. We were fine to Newby Bridge, then there was a lot of single track lanes. Thankfully we didn’t meet much on the way – which is strange as the car park was pretty full. Once there we checked out the parking situation – pay on return, £2.20 for the first hour then £1.80 until you reach £8 which is the day rate – then headed into the Forest.
Toilet breaks and picnic stops
We headed to the toilets just by the main car park as soon as we got there and they were so nice and clean for toilets essentially in the middle of nowhere. It’s worth noting that these and the visitor centre toilets are the only ones. Once you are in the forest itself, you would have to head back there to go. We then headed to the visitor centre to have our picnic in the sheltered picnic area. This was next to the play area so getting Spike to eat was hard work. But we got there eventually.
The Grizedale Tarn Trail
We then headed on our walk. We decided to go for a moderate trail, not too long and not too short. This was because Spike is only just getting used to longer walks. This trail says its 3.5 miles, however my watch said we’d walked 4 by the time we were done. Spike only got sick of walking by about 3.5 miles! It was easy to find it, with white sign posts leading the way throughout the walk.
The best thing about the trails at Grizedale, as we soon found out, are the Sculptures. I didn’t realise until I’d purchased a walking routes map (£1.50 in the centre) that they were as prominent throughout the forest as they are. They certainly helped Spike keep an interest in the walk.
Playing tunes and riding giant foxes
Some of the sculptures we saw were really hands on. There was one that was like clockwork built into the trees which played tunes. Another was a giant fox like animal which you could sit on. There were more and some were absolutely stunning. I definitely want to go back to find the rest at some point!
Around 3/4s of the way through our walk we realised that the Tarn mentioned within the trails name must be close by. We consulted the map and it was a bit of an off-shoot of the walk itself, but worth nipping through the trees to see. I’ve never been somewhere so peaceful. It seemed magical, even Spike noticed it, and I would love to have been there on my own for just a few minutes. It felt like a million miles away from everywhere.
A grey, but lovely New Years Day
We finished our walk and headed back to the car. The machines were playing up a bit and didn’t recognise our number plate but after paying for our 5 hours parking ( around £6 odd) we headed home. It was such a lovely way to spend New Years Day and even though the car park and visitor centre seemed busy, our walk was a lovely, family walk barely seeing anyone. We’ll definitely be back soon.