Grizedale Forest Park

The "Ancient Forester II" wood carving at Grizedale Forest Park, Cumbria

Get back to nature and immerse yourself in the beauty and grandeur of the Lakes with a day exploring this fantastic woodland environment, whether you fancy a strenuous mountain bike adventure or a leisurely stroll through the trees on a smooth level path.

The newly designed visitor centre offers an excellent introduction to this area of the Lake District. The forest is criss-crossed by a network of eight waymarked paths and five cycle trails, varying in accessibility: collect all the advice, information, maps and guides you need from the well-informed and helpful rangers in the centre, before you set off to explore. Each path is unique, but many boast incredible views of Coniston Water, Windermere and Grizedale Valley. The trails are dotted with eclectic sculptures – there are ninety of these in the park, and their locations are marked on a map available from the centre.

The all-ability Ridding Wood trail – a tarmac, almost level, mile-long loop – leads through a glorious oak woodland and crosses a suspension bridge. The Millwood trail, on which you’ll see some of the oldest trees in the forest, covers about a mile on natural surfaces, impassable for manual wheelchair users, but suitable for powered scooters designed for cross-country terrain. The extensive play area is superb, with cleverly constructed ramped entry at the top and bottom, and to many of the bits of recreation equipment. Weather conditions can change rapidly in this area of the country – remember to wear plenty of layers and suitable footwear.

Food & drink: The excellent Café in the Forest, located by the visitor centre, is fully accessible. It uses local produce that is beautifully prepared, and the tree-top views through the huge picture windows are brilliant.