Plan your visit to Hatfield Forest

Hatfield Forest is now fully open for visitors. Spontaneity is back .... Pre-booking is no longer needed. Non-members can pay for their car parking space using the PaybyPhone app on their smart phone or by card. Relax by the lake and enjoy some tempting refreshments from the cafe.

Car parking and when you arrive

Car parking is available by the main entrance gate and in the central area, by the lakeside, cafe and toilets.  Car parking may also be available in Elgin's, if ground conditions allow.  We do however only have a finite amount of parking space and on sunny Summer days, especially at weekends and bank holidays, this can be come fully used and we may need to turn visitors away.  

Parking is free for members. 

Non-members have to pay £8 for their space, by credit card or by using the PayByPhone parking app, at the main entrance gate.  The location is 803370 (Hatfield Forest, Main Car Park Entrance).  If you do not already have this on your phone, you are advised to download this from your usual app store before you arrive, as mobile phone reception is limited at Hatfield Forest.  Cash is not accepted. 

Please park only in designated spaces. Please do not park on local roads outside the forest, or on roadside verges or across drievways, and observe the red and yellow lines. Blocking roads can cause accidents and we need to have constant access to our site – thank you.


Our lakeside café is open every day between 9.00am and 5.00pm.  Outdoor seating is available whilst the Fishermen's Shelter offers some undercover seating and tables.

Toilets are open, in the lakeside area.

The shop, Shell House and Discovery Room are closed.


To borrow our manual wheelchair or the PMV please email the main Hatfield Forest address at

Mobility parking and adapted toilets are available at the lake area.

What to expect at this special National Nature Reserve

Now is the time to go exploring and enjoy the wider expanses of the Forest.  Ground conditions have improved significantly, to the extent that the exposed bare patches are now rock hard, with footprints from the muddy season baked in and making the ground quite uneven.  Take care after recent heavy rain as some of these areas can become quite slippery.

Summer is here.  All the trees are now in full leaf, so the forest is very green, and green curtains block out the open vistas of winter.  There is now dappled shade on the tree lined walks.  The spring glory that is golden blanket of millions of buttercups on the wood pastures is nearly over.  Water lilies will soon be coming into bloom on the Decoy Lake.  This year, the new growth on bushes has been particularly strong.

The red poll cattle have returned for summer grazing.  The grass in the wood pasture has grown quite long, so the cattle will have a busy time chomping away.  The flock of heritage  sheep has been moved to it's summer pastures, to continue its important conservation grazing in reclaimed wood pasture.  Please keeps your dogs on leads when in their vicinity.

In the air, swifts can be seen.  They have previously nested in the Fishermen's shelter.  Less welcome returnees are the Grey Leg Geese.  This is regarded as an invasive species, as they can dominate a water body, to the exclusion of many other wildfowl. In  addition, the waters edge by the Shell House and the path across the end of the lake become littered with their poop.

Upcoming events

Sorry, there are no upcoming events at this place.