Gisburn Forest and forest bathing

Gisburn Forest is part of the Forest of Bowland AONB, covering Lancashire and part of North Yorkshire. With waymarked forest paths for walkers it’s just our sort of place to go and explore. There’s something wonderful about walking in the trees, maybe not on a day like today as the wind howls with Storm Gareth as I write this! But I really think there is something in the belief that ‘forest bathing’ is good for you.

Stocks reservoir information sign with waytmarked path details Family group in Gisburn forest, all smiling Clearing in the forest as two kids walk away from camera

What I liked about Gisburn Forest is that as well as walking in the forest, there is a reservoir as well, giving a variety to the landscape and the opportunity to spot some birds. There are a few birdwatching hides, but my kids don’t sit still long enough for that! If you’re a mountain biker there’s many trails to explore and the car park was testament to the popularity of them. We heard lots of ‘whooping’ from far off in the trees so I’m guessing the trails are lots of fun. For younger children there’s also the Zog activity trail. My kids loved the Julia Donaldson books when they were younger, and we saw lots of excited little ones ready for their Zog trail.

View through a tunnel of trees in Gisburn forest Looking up into the canopy of trees View through the trees, Woman stands like a tree arms outstretched

We parked at the Forest Hub car park and took the forest hub link path to start the walk from Stocks reservoir car park. It does add a couple of miles to your walking route but is worth it to use the facilities. We just chose one of the routes randomly (Dale head ramble) and it looked one of the longest in the forest, meaning more time in the trees. It was an enjoyable walk with a few climbs getting the legs working, and despite the chilly weather we all peeled off a few layers! Despite the very busy car park we felt that we had the place to ourselves, and if it hadn’t been for the kids squabbling a few times it would have been almost tranquil.

close up of tree stump in Gisburn forest Close up of a piece of Victoria sponge cake

Completing our loop of the forest path we took the link path back to the hub for teas and cake. As we went during the holidays the Zog trail and mountain bike trails had quite an attraction, so the café was heaving. With a little bit of shelter from the wind and a small amount of winter sun we managed to sit outside. There’s a small playground next to the café so the kids entertained themselves. There was even a wooden stage and my daughter took the opportunity to practise for her tap exam the next day. Tap in a forest?! Well, why not.

A lovely day out in the forest getting my tree fix and another route spotted for next time.

Do you believe in ‘forest bathing’? let me know in the comments.

If you like walking in the trees maybe you would like to fly through them too. Read about how we got on at a treetop trek in Manchester.


3 comments Add yours
  1. I’ve been mountain biking there – I was a beginner but there’s loads of trails at all levels. Gisburn is a fab place generally.

    1. Ah, I wondered what level you needed to be to bike there. I agree it’s a fab place, I’m hoping to go back. Thanks for reading!

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