Forest Visitor Centre
Go Ape Tree Top Adventure
Osprey Viewing area (when Ospreys are in residence, usually April to August)
Wild Play adventure area
Gruffalo Trail for kiddies
Whinlatter Forest, near Braithwaite, is England's only true Mountain Forest. Consequently, not only can you take a walk through the woods, but you'll also enjoy fine views across Bassenthwaite Lake and on towards Keswick and Derwentwater.
The Forest is a haven for wildlife, including a number of species rare throughout most of England. Ospreys nest nearby in the summer, and can either be seen from the viewing stations at Dodd Wood, which is on the opposite side of Bassenthwaite Lake to Whinlatter, or via the nest camera at the Whinlatter Visitor Centre. Buzzards and Merlin are also more common here than in other areas. Smaller species of woodland birds abound with Siskin being commonly seen, as are Crossbills.
Whinlatter is a Red Squirrel Reserve, where Red Squirrels are actively protected and supported. Other species to be found in the forest are badgers, foxes and Roe Deer.
There are walking and cycling trails of varying lengths and difficulty, along easy to navigate, wide tracks which have clear signposting at each junction. The Mountain bike trails are an exciting mix of fast forest tracks, and exhilerating downhill sections. Ideal for the adventure cyclist who wants to test their skills.
The visitor centre has an an excellent cafe, the Osprey nest viewing area, a gift shop, and, close by, the unique childrens' Wildplay area.
There are picnic benches and undercover seating close to the visitor centre.
Whinlatter has 7 waymarked walking trails, along with Orienteering Trails, the Gruffalo Trail, and the Tracks Trail, with it's animal track signs on the trail waymarkers. The trails range in difficulty and length, providing something for everyone. Jewell in the crown is the Seat How Summit Trail, a circular walk which climbs to 500m, and has views of both Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake as well as the Skiddaw and Helvellyn mountain ranges.
You can get a pdf map of the forest trails here
Whinlatter is home to the longest purpose-built mountain bike trails in the Lake District. There are specialised trails built exclusively for adventure cyclists, which provide heart stopping downhill thrills. Chief among them is the Altura Trail, a 19 kilometre red grade mountain bike route which reaches an altitude of 500 m, and includes 15 kilometres of single track, popular features like berms, jumps, rock features, skinnies, cork screws and table tops, as well as fantatsic views of Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite.
At the trail head there is a purpose built cycle shop run by Cyclewise which offers bike hire, spare parts, clothing, maintenance and new bike sales.
You can get a pdf map of the cycling trails here
Family Orienteering Challenges
Whinlatter has three family orienteering routes, two permanent courses, a 1.8 km one and a 3.4 km one, plus the Gruffalo spotters course. (see below). Maps for both courses are available to buy from the visitor centre.
Gruffalo Spotters Trail
This new 1.2 mile, pushchair friendly course, is designed to introduce young children to map reading, and encourage them to explore the forest on a trail based on the Gruffalo story. The route leads to the Gruffalo sculpture as well as a new Gruffalo Child sculpture. The Gruffalo Activity pack is available from the visitor information centre for £3.00. Alternatively, you can download an App here.
Wild Play adventure area
Consisting of nine separate play areas linked by a 600m-long trail, the free to play Whinlatter WildPlay trail is a unique attraction for children. Get more information about it and a pdf guide here.
Go Ape Tree Top Adventure and Forest Segway
Both of these activities are covered on our separate Go Ape Whinlatter Page