Exploring Gisburn Forest

  • Good walking in the forest
  • Choice of distance on marked routes
  • Explore on minor paths

I have never been attracted by forestry walking. The open spaces, long distance views and feeling of freedom have always been the attraction for me outdoors and not the enclosed, almost claustrophobic nature of woodland, and in particular coniferous woodland. The long stretches of forestry which I encountered on the Southern Upland Way a few years ago did little to alter this impression so I headed into Gisburn Forest with some trepidation.

I chose the 2 mile ‘blue marker’ route and enjoyed it. The Forestry Commission do make an effort to improve access and understanding of forestry and the paths are excellent, both for walkers and more particularly cyclists. They have also planted some deciduous trees to break up the monotony of the dark coniferous forestry and the walk is no where near as bleak as much of the land which covers southern Scotland. I am therefore more than happy to include this walk amongst the best walks because it provides a very different perspective on the area and, similar to Grizedale Forest in the Lakes, provides the walker with a much rounder experience.

Recommend: One major advantage of walking in the woods is that it makes little difference if the rain is falling or the wind is blowing – leave Gisburn Forest for a bad weather day. Also take time to explore up the minor paths which seem to be heading nowhere, getting lost is not a problem with so many paths.

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Gisburn Forest map

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OS Map: O/S 1.25,000. OL41 Forest of Bowland & Ribblesdale Buy Map
Start Point: SD 732565. The information car park on School Lane is the only start point. Read the advice and choose your colour marker which dictates the distance you want to walk.
Height to Climb: 64 ms (210 feet)
Terrain: Excellent tracks and clearly marked. I do prefer it when the path narrows rather than the wider bridleway.
Eating & Drinking: Nothing within striking range. There are plenty of alternatives in Slaidburn or even Tosside towards Long Preston.
Similar Walks Nearby: Slaidburn – Croasdale Brook
Long Preston Deeps
Circuit of Stocks Reservoir
Places to Stay: