Whinlatter Forest

There are a great many things to do in Whinlatter Forest.

Whinlatter is a very convenient location for Underscar members, as it’s only a 15 minute drive from the site. So it’s a great place to start if you’re looking for an easy day-out.


Ok, let’s move on to the fun stuff. Whinlatter is most popular for it’s mountain-biking, with trails suited to varied levels of difficulty. The mountain bike trails feature one Blue trail, and one Red trail with two separate loops. Both demand a certain level of endurance and fitness.

Whinlatter is the largest purpose-built trail park in the Lake District, so it’s a must if you’re a biker. The Blue trial is suitable for children based upon the skill of the rider. So this should be left to the judgement of the parent, guardian or carer. The Red trail however should be left to riders with a higher level of experience.

You can follow the link just here to gain information on the facilities available, trail grading information and much more.

For your convenience we have placed the descriptions of these trails just below:

This fantastic blue grade route is 7.5km long with a shorter 3.5 km option. It is a gem waiting to be discovered, expect flowing single track with gentle berms, rolling jumps, wide gradual climbs with technical features for the adventurous riders.

The trail starts down hill with sweeping intricate bends requiring hardly any peddling, then climbs up and bends and twists its way until riders come face to face with the Big Wall, a double banked bend within the forest. After climbing up through oak woodland the trail crosses a bridge and into the darker conifer forest. The trail finishes with the hollow sound of a raised board walk over a bog and through a mystical forest of towering conifers.


The Quercus Trail is suitable for intermediate mountain bikers with basic off-road skills and reasonable fitness. Unlike the Altura Trail there are easy routes around technical features such as berms and rock paving.

Supported by Zyro, makers of Altura Clothing and mountain bike products, The Altura Trail puts the mountain back into biking and has been built for experienced riders with good off-road skills and a higher level of fitness and stamina.

The trail is a 19 kilometre red grade mountain bike route which includes 15 kilometres of single track. There are challenging single track sections and popular features like berms, jumps, rock features, skinnies, cork screws and table tops. There are also fantastic views of Derwentwater, Bassenthwaite, Helvelyn and Skiddaw as the trail takes the rider to an altitude of 500m (1600ft) above Keswick.


Whinlatter is a great place for walking with unrivalled views across Bassenthwaite Lake , Derwentwater and Keswick and many miles of gravel roads, surfaced paths and tracks to explore.

Each junction is marked with a numbered post which is shown on the guide map making it easy to create your own route.

There are trails that accommodate for all levels of ability, so don’t worry, there’s no trail too long or too short.

You can download the walking map/guide here. You’ll find the document on the right-hand side of the page, you might need to scroll down a little.

Staying mainly off forest roads, this trail winds through glades and beside streams and landscape features.  As the trail follows Comb Gill, keep a look out for the ancient sheepfold and disused dam, which once provided a source of power for the mines deep in the mountain below.
Kids will love the excitement of using the simple map to try and find 12 Gruffalo markers then answer questions in their Gruffalo orienteering leaflet.

This new course will introduce young children to map reading, and encourage them to explore the forest on a trail based on the Gruffalo story. The route will take children to the Gruffalo sculpture as well as a new Gruffalo Child sculpture.

The 1.2 mile Gruffalo themed orienteering course is great family fun and is pushchair friendly.

This trail is one of contrasts. The beginning takes you through some of the mighty oaks which are typical of the lower slopes of the forest, adjacent to Masmill Beck. The trail then climbs through an area of conifer trees which border the forest boundary along Heavy Sides where the views of Skiddaw and Bassenthwaite Lake awaits you. It returns to the car park through an area of mixed species forest.
The quiet picnic site and cark park at Noble Knott are the perfect place to begin this gentle circular route. As it meanders through the ancient oaks at Noble Knott, it eventually finds the forest road, and returns to the car park taking in some fabulous views of Bassenthwaite Lake.
The shorter of our two permanent orienteering courses starting at the Visitor Centre. Maps are available to purchase from the Information Point in the Visitor Centre.
The longer of the two permanent orienteering trails from the Visitor Centre. Maps are available to purchase from the Information Point in the Visitor Centre.
The mighty Grisedale Pike dominates Revelin Moss, even though the area provides some of the easiest walking in the forest. The trail follows the quiet activity of Grisedale Gill, through mature conifers and areas of silver birch regeneration. The route returns via a bridge over the Gill and there are numerous resting places on route. Maps for this trail are available at the Visitor Centre.
This circular walk takes in spectacular views of both Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake as well as the Skiddaw and Helvellyn mountain ranges. Climbing to 500m through forest and heather moorland, this trail is one of the treasures of Whinlatter Forest.
Follow Teasel the Red Squirrel around the trail to learn more about Whinlatter’s red squirrels. Purchase your trail map and answer sheet from the Visitor Centre.

Visit the information points along the way to find the answers to the trail questions. See if you can spot a red squirrel at one of the feeders along the way.

Don’t forget to go back to Visitor Centre when you’ve completed the trail to pick up your Squirrel Scurry badge!

Purchase a map from the Visitor Centre, then set off and use the clues to see how many animal tracks you can identify on the way-markers along the trail.

From deer and badgers to foxes and red squirrels, the trail takes you on a journey to discover the wide variety of animals you might see at Whinlatter.

Head back to the Visitor Centre when you’ve completed the trail to collect your Tracks Trail badge.

The spectacular views along this trail make it very popular and it largely follows the forest road network so it’s not difficult to negotiate.  It crosses both Black Gill and Comb Gill as they flow down the mountain slopes to Bassenthwaite Lake below.


If mountain-biking or walking doesn’t sound appealing, do not fear. There are many other family activities on offer at Whinlatter Forest that everyone will enjoy. We have listed some alternative activities below that we think you might like. You can also follow the link just here, to visit the Whinlatter website containing the full variety of activities available.

Enjoy two to three hours in the trees taking on Zip Wires, Tarzan Swings, Rope Ladders and a variety of obstacles and crossings. Whinlatter is Go Ape’s highest course with the cabin 318m/1043ft above sea-level. The European Larch forest was planted in the 1920’s and as they are deciduous, many other trees have grown on the forest floor giving the course a real feel of being ‘in the trees’. The zip wires feel especially fast as you fly inches away from the foliage!

Visit the Go Ape website for more info

Offering a fabulous range of freshly prepared home cooked food, there is something for everyone. The cafe welcomes children,walkers and mountain bikers, has good access for the less able and high chairs available for little ones.

The Siskins Cafe normal opening times are 10am – 5pm all week. Siskins provides the visitor with great views of Grisedale Pike and sumptuous food. With an alpine style and outdoor eating area the café is a great place to relax and enjoy the mountain setting.

If you’re looking for the perfect day out around Keswick with the little ones, look no further. Wildplay is an adventure centre for kids that offer up a multitude of tasks and activities.

Consisting of nine separate play areas linked by a 600m-long trail, the Whinlatter WildPlay is a free to play trail.

Test your engineering skills on the Archimedes Screws and draw water from the stream or work with friends to move gravel using the pulleys and shoots in the gravel pit. Try out the climbing wall and giant timber climbing frame or fly through the air on the log swing. For the younger children, visit the fairy kingdom with its secret path and hidden carvings.