Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Grizedale Forest

Its a boar if you look long enough!
Place Name: Grizedale Forest
Location: Lake District, England LA22 0QJ
Cost: Free
Parking: Plenty, pay and display
Walking distance: Variable, 45 minutes to 2 hours
Restrictions: Dogs are not allowed into the visitors centre or shop.
Refreshments: Cafe by visitors centre is dog friendly
Website:  http://www.forestry.gov.uk/grizedale

For Missy's first proper holiday, we decided to start with one of the most dog friendly parts of the UK. Matt and I have previously visited the Lake District and felt Missy would enjoy the greener than green scenery.

The Grizedale forest struck us as a good one to do - it was nearby and it was sold in a similar way to Beecraigs (one of her favourite haunts). Signposting into Grizedale could have been a little better, but that is more likely the fault of my sat nav, which chooses the most convoluted and windiest routes possible.

Views were truly stunning, even Missy took a moment to appreciate them
Once we arrived and parked up, I was caught out by the pay and display. Furious re-reading of the pamphlet did show that this is advertised, so I can't say there was no warning, but it could have been a bit more obvious. With the largest route taking an estimated 5 hours, the 1 hour for £1.80 plus 45p for every twenty minutes thereafter (£7 for the day) seemed a bit ridiculous, although I suspect this is a ploy to 'encourage' everyone to buy their Discovery Pass which allows year round free parking.

Thankfully, that was the only gripe to be had. A quick tea and cake was purchased at the cafe which was a novel and new experience for Missy who hasn't done dog friendly cafes before and the prices were very reasonable and the cakes excellent.

Having paid for just an hour, we did one of the shorter 3.5 mile trails (we all walk much faster than the estimated average). They currently have a Superworm trail on at the moment, so much like Beecraigs, they keep renewing activities and information. It was nice to see a school group making their way about as well, so the area is certainly well used by people although, with the exception of song birds, there wasn't much wildlife - not a bad thing as Missy is recovering from a torn claw so we didn't want her chasing things, but it does make the place a little eerily quiet.

One of the things that they make a fuss about in this site is the 40+ sculptures to be found dotted around the place. We saw a handful (4 or 5) so I can see a real return element to try and find them all.
This huge wood cutter greets you on the way in
That was really all we had time for, minus a wee peek round the shop and a quick privvy break (good, clean facilities) but there is plenty more to do. The area co-hosts a large Go Ape tree climbing trail (there is a proper kennels at the car park, so the dog in theory can be dropped off if a member of the party doesn't want to miss out). There is also a large outdoor play area that is very new looking and nicely contained to the visitor centre side of the forest and, as I've previously said, the events change frequently, so it certainly seems  worth keeping an eye on the 'what's on' section of the website.

Overall rating : 4/5 - had the parking been free, or more reasonable (£2 or £3 for the day for upkeep would have been perfectly fine) then I would happily have given it a 5. As it was, with no option to park anywhere else, it seemed a tad unfair. Other than that, something for everyone to enjoy with or without the dog.

1 comment:

  1. Ouch about the parking!

    Hmm...may head this way for a daytrip at some point...