Most weekends I, like many people in UK, try to find new places to visit and experience. It always feels a bit like you’ve done everything locally however every now and then someone mentions somewhere to you that you were completely unaware of. Last week a guy at work mentioned to me that he’d been to a place called Salcey Forest which is stated as a medieval hunting forest, just North of Milton Keynes in Northamptonshire. Despite living only 10 miles away I’d never heard of the place so we figured it would be a great place to go investigate.
Making the short drive, we arrived at Salcey Forest and parked up – £4 all day and cash only incidentally so make sure you have plenty of change! The forest offers quite a few things to do including numerous walks, cycling routes, recreation areas for kids and ‘Tree Ninja’ – overall the forest is really family and pet friendly.
Facilities at the forest
At the entrance to the forest there is a cafe, a shop, public toilets and a large climbing frame for kids to keep everyone entertained.
The information boards at the forest entrance are really easy to understand so were great for us to familiarise ourselves with the various trails. Salcey forest offers 3 signposted trails to choose from which vary in length and difficulty:
- Elephant Walk – 3/4 miles – easy
- Church Path Trail – 1.5 miles – moderate
- Woodpecker Trail – 6 miles – moderate
We opted for the rather leisurely Church Path trail and set off. The entire route was really well sign posted so it would be almost impossible to get lost or lose the trail unless you really weren’t paying attention!
As you wander around the trails, on the Church Path at least, there are also wooden huts and other small buildings for kids to explore – they’ve really made an effort here to create a location to suit everyone.
Tree top walk
The tree top walk is a fantastic addition to the forest and something which I’ve not seen anywhere else before. Essentially it’s a wooden walkway which gets higher and higher until you reach the endpoint which is a tower overlooking all of the tree tops in the forest. The walkway is really safe too with high barriers on each side however it did sway a little as people walked!
I’m not sure exactly how far you can see but from 20m up, it’s quite some distance.
Our afternoon walking around the forest was great and we really enjoyed it. This time of year when Autumn causes the leaves to turn brown and orange is always great for walking as everything is so much more beautiful.
We often go walking around Shenley Wood in Milton Keynes however Salcey forest was considerably larger and reminded me a lot more of Ashridge where we also go walking. The most noticeable difference however is that Salcey Forest has properly defined and signposted trails and a lot more family oriented things to do.
Not only that but the Church Walk trail which we took was properly stoned under foot so if it was heavy rain or snow there wouldn’t be the bogginess which you often get in these forests – much effort has been made to keep the forest accessible.
If you’re looking for a decent day out in Northamptonshire, Salcey Forest was great. It would great fun with family, with dogs, cycling or to keep kids entertained.