Grizedale Forest :
Grizedale Forest is situated between the lakes of Coniston and Windermere.
There can be few more inspiring places to explore than a forest.
From majestic trees to the tiniest growth at ground level, wildlife, flora and, from the top of Grizedale Forest, views across the Lake District peaks.
For anyone looking for their first woodland experience, Grizedale has it all.
The name Grizedale means ‘valley where young pigs are kept’ and was first recorded in the early 14th century.
However, the land here was being used long before this date.
Back In the 11th century, the forest belonged to the monks of Furness Abbey.
The monks coppiced the oak to supply the abbey with a continuous supply of timber and firewood.
Extending to almost 12 square miles, this former timber plantation is set within a delightful Lakeland valley.
In addition, it is the largest forest within the Lake District.
Wildlife here includes red and roe deer and a variety of birds such as woodcock, nightjars, pied flycatchers, green woodpeckers and buzzards.
As a result, the Forestry Commission manages the forest for the benefit of wildlife and visitors who can enjoy a range of recreational activities including cycle routes and orienteering courses.
In 2003, ‘Go Ape’ arrived at Grizedale. This high rope course provides a challenging aerial adventure.
The high-wire forest obstacle course is open to anyone taller than 4’7″ and weigh no more than 20.5 stone.
You also need to be fairly fit and have a head for heights.
Delightful sculptures, sited throughout the forest, all created by artists working in residence in Grizedale, has made the forest internationally famous.
Visitors flock to enjoy the miles of footpaths and forest rides.
Additionally, there is a visitor centre with a gallery, artist workshops, café and adventure playground.
Cycle hire is available here too with an information point.
A presentation board in the visitor centre depicts the story of the forest from wildwood to various roles it plays today.
The theatre here presents a wide range of events including dance, classical, jazz, drama and a variety of folk concerts.
To sum up, Grizedale provides a wonderful example of how well-managed, mature plantation woods can provide a variety of enjoyable experiences for large numbers of visitors of all ages.