On day two of our Outdoor Bloggers weekend in North Yorkshire, we decided it was only right and proper that we did a bit of exploring of the local area. We decided to walk into Dalby Forest on the southern slopes of the North York Moors National Park from our base at Low Farm Campsite, Ellerburn to see what was there.
It wasn’t the only reason to do so, but by walking into the forest we saved the £9 per car entrance fee. Dalby Forest is managed by the UK Forestry Commission, who have put a charge on the scenic drive into the forest (instead of per person entry or car parking fees) to help them raise the money needed to keep the facilities up to date and the forest working well. I don’t generally have any problem paying to get into a beauty spot like this that provides well managed facilities and ensures the environment is looked after, but why drive when you can walk?!
Views of Dalby Forest.
Our walk from Ellerbeck into Dalby Forest was about four miles and took us along a lovely track through a field, passed a fish farm, and into the woodland passed a few lovely looking cottages. It might not have had the views of a hill walk or a coastal path, but I absolutely adore a woodland trail, there is something so beautiful and calming about walking in amongst the trees.
Trail through to Dalby Forest.
We set the bloggers with us a little challenge while we were hiking, to take photos that showed the wildlife and nature we saw on our way. There was a prize in it – Rubbastuff had donated a couple of their very cool Pacmat waterproof picnic blankets (I raved about them in my recent wish list post, and so we had lots of fun snapping away as we walked. I thoroughly enjoyed the photo walk, actually, it was fun to see what each person took and how each of us saw the nature on this particular hike in a slightly different way. Sadly I didn’t win with my shot of this teeny little pine cone; I’m just going to have to buy myself a Pacmat aren’t I?!
My nature photo entry.
Once inside the forest we decided to take one of the marked trails – we couldn’t come into the forest and not see it properly. We decided to follow the Rabbit Run trail, identified by its green way markers, taking a small detour to play on the obstacle course, of course – it was harder than it looked and there was much falling off! It turned out that our detour meant we lost the start of the trail proper, which went up the side of the Go Ape course, and ended up doing the circular route in reverse. I’m not really sure why these trails aren’t marked in both directions, but we managed fine by looking out for the backs of signs and checking which way they were facing. We chose well, though, the two-mile trail took us right through the trees, giving us more opportunity for wildlife spotting and associated chatting.
The Urban Wanderer in Dalby Forest.
I can’t talk about our Sunday in Dalby Forest without mentioning the café. Aside from being a bit expensive, as these places tend to be, I was surprised by the attitude towards single use plastic. Apparently customers can’t be trusted with china mugs outside because it is close to a play park. We had a dog with us so had no option to sit inside, and even when we protested and asked if they were sure we couldn’t take a mug outside, they were quite insistent. I decided to go without tea on this occasion and have the water I’d carried with me instead (I didn’t have my tumbler with me (LINK XXX) on this occasion); thankfully the toasted sandwiches were served in paper bags and not in plastic. At a time when the vast majority of people are trying to do their bit to stop using single use plastic, I was a bit perplexed, especially when this café is run by a nature-based organisation, which is why this paragraph has made it into my blog post. I can kind of see the logic in this health and safety conscious world, but what do they actually think we’re going to do with the mugs? Chuck them down the slide or smash them on a kid’s head? Instead they have an outside eating area and adjacent play park littered with coffee cups and lids. I’ll take a packed lunch next time.
Walking to Dalby Forest from Ellerburn.
Having chosen the winners of our little photo competition over lunch, we took a slightly different route out of Dalby Forest, first along the Ellerburn Red Trail before crossing the river and heading back across farmland to our campsite. In all we walked around ten miles – a really lovely walk I highly recommend – one that makes our choice of campsite even better than it was already.
The Outdoor Bloggers in their natural habitat.
Dalby Forest is a great location for a day out – there are walks and cycling routes through the trees and all the facilities you might need. It was busy with people enjoying the trails and outside space, and I will be back to explore more another time. For more information about Dalby Forest and its facilities, visit the website here.