Activities for all at Hatfield Forest
Explore the best surviving example in Britain of an almost complete medieval Royal hunting forest. The forest trails are ideal for walking, running, cycling or riding, best enjoyed in summer. Try the lake for fishing.
The Forest is an ideal place for a quiet stroll away from the main lakeside area. Wander along the main plains or head off into the trees and explore the rides.
Details of trails in the forest can be found by following the link at the end of this article. Please not that these are not way-marked.
We would ask that, during the winter months, you avoid walking on the footpaths amongst the wooded areas. These become very quickly muddy and footfall then causes irreperable damage to the ground. See Every Step Counts for further information
These walks start from the main entrance car park at 09.45am on Thursdays and take about 90 minutes. The walks use forest trails and open grassland. Please be aware cattle are roaming free in the forest from May to October.
Dogs are welcome on this walk if they are well trained and obedient.
The walks are free and led by a trained leader. This is a joint venture with Uttlesford District Council.
Tired of running along roads? Then try the delights of trail running in the Forest. The terrain is generally flat with broad tracks between the coppices. You can extend your run by venturing onto the Flitch Way at the northern end of the Forest. Lucky runners may spot fallow deer.
We would ask that, during the winter months, you avoid running on the footpaths amongst the wooded areas. These become very quickly muddy and footfall then causes irreperable damage to the ground. See Every Step Counts for further information
The forest is home to 14 hidden geocaches - see how many you can locate.
Please note that these are removed between November and March, to help protect the forest trails, as part of the Every Step Counts campaign.
Update - June 2021, the caches have yet to be replaced for the 2021 summer season.
Horses are welcome in the forest and on Woodside Green.
Annual permits can be purchased from the Estate Office. Please call 01279 870678 for details.
Day permits are not currently available for casual riders.
Horse boxes can be left in the entrance or Shell House car parks, by season ticket holders. You must however book a car parking slot in advance.
Further information is available from the Hatfield Forest Riding Association (HFRA).
The lake contains coarse fish such as carp, roach, perch and pike, including some large specimens. Annual season tickets can be purchased from the Estate Office. Please call 01279 870678 for further details and to arrange a suitable time to collect. If you want to fish at night, you must have a season ticket.
Day tickets are not currently available.
The closed season runs from 15 Mar to 15 Jun inclusive. The pike season runs from 1 Oct to 15 Mar.
You are welcome to come and explore the forest on your own bikes, in summer, when the ground has properly dried out.
If cycling to the forest, you can enter through the main gate; from the north, through gates on the Flitch Way; or, from the south, through the South gate, just beyond Woodside Green.
There are no trails as such, beyond the access roads, only the open plains and forest rides. An all terrain / mountain bike is recommended, with heavy duty tyres, as the ground is very uneven in places and there are plenty of viscious thorns to cause punctures.
The lake cannot be used for any form of water sports. So, the lake is not available for activities such as wild swimming, kayaking or paddle boarding.
We will NOT be running our boat hire operation this summer (2021).