mountain biker in grizedale forest

Grizedale Forest – Sculpture Walks Plus Things To Do

19 April 2021 Local area

Grizedale is no ordinary forest. In 1977 Grizedale became the UK’s first forest for sculpture, but what does that actually mean?

10 square miles of natural woodland managed by Forestry England that contains over 50 years of art and culture. With artworks like “The Clockwork Forest”, “Light Column” and “Some Fern” you are sure to be surprised by something on the Grizedale Sculpture Trail.

Art at Grizedale

One of the most recent additions, “Mountains we made” is a piece by local artist Charlie Whinney. Created in 2017 to mimic the outlines of the 10 biggest peaks of the Lake District, it is made entirely of oak from Grizedale Forest.

“The Dry Stone Passage” by Richard Harris is another locally relevant piece. Everywhere you look in the Lakes dry stone walls are keeping in livestock, separating boundaries, and dividing the landscape the same way as they have done for thousands of years. This irresistible track invites you take a closer look at one of the Lake District’s most iconic symbols.

The temporary installation by artist Steve Messam celebrates the skies as part of the Cumbria Dark Sky Festival. As one of the best places for stargazing in England, the Lake District is the perfect home to this illuminated piece named “Intrastellar”. Although the Lake District isn’t an official Dark Sky Reserve yet, there are plans to put it on the map.

Walking Trails

With incredible views over the surrounding fells, Grizedale Forest is not just for art lovers. The network of walking and cycling trails beg to be explored further. The 10 walking trails can be found on a map by the car park. Some are easy family friendly trails, some are a full days hike. As featured on Countryfile, take the Silurian Way towards Esthwaite and Hawkshead. With a steep incline it offers wide open views of the forest on the way to the tarn. After, head to Carron Crag with panoramic views stretching over to Morecambe Bay. For an easier walk take the Millwood Trail, a short 1km loop under the Go Ape course that shows off some of the oldest trees in Grizedale.

Biking at Grizedale Forest

Grizedale is one of the best places for natural cycling in the Lake District, with nine trails of varying grades from Beginner to ‘Severe’. The North Face and The Black MTB trails attract pro riders with death defying jumps and adrenaline fuelled single track descents. They require both a high level of skill and fitness. The rest of the cycling tracks at Grizedale are on forest roads, between two to fourteen miles long, and are more suitable for all abilities. The on-site bike hire shop caters for all people and varying abilities.

There is a fantastic children’s play area next to the Grizedale Forest Café, with modern equipment and undercover seating for those occasional Lake District showers. Grizedale forest also hosts art exhibitions as well as ‘Forest Classrooms’ as a unique learning experience.

Grizedale Forest Information

The forest is open 7 days a week, dawn until dusk. The Visitor Centre is open daily 10.00am – 4.00pm but is closed for lunch between 1.00pm – 1.45pm. Grizedale Café is open Wednesday to Sunday (currently takeaway only), contactless card payments are preferred. Free toilets available at the café and car park. Dogs are allowed in the forest. There is ample car parking operating a pay on exit system, you can also pay online up to 48hrs after your visit. Parking at Grizedale costs £2.20 for 1 hour, 45p each additional 20mins or £8 for the whole day.

How to get to Grizedale by car

Sat Nav Postcode: LA22 0QJ

From our Lake District holiday park head south towards Newby Bridge. Follow A590 to Haverthwaite Crossroads. Turn right, following brown tourist sign to ‘Grizedale Forest Park’, follow signs for Satterthwaite/Grizedale North.

From the north follow the A591 to Ambleside, leave Ambleside A593 to Langdale Coniston. Take first left B5286 to Hawkshead. Bypass Hawkshead following B5286 south then take first right at the sign for ‘Grizedale’. Follow the road for approximately 2 miles.

From the south exit M6 at junction 36 and take the A590 towards Barrow. Follow A590 past Newby Bridge to Haverthwaite Crossroads. Turn right, following brown tourist sign to ‘Grizedale Forest Park’, follow signs for Satterthwaite/Grizedale North.