Wonderful walk at Hicks Lodge last week - I loved this birch with its golden leaves shining in the autumn sun. Wasn't sure if the 'Return to Centre' sign was telling me something deep and meaningful or simply saying it was time to visit Grounds Cafe for my daily cappuccino!
Brilliant news too - the lovely people at Grounds now have Walks for All in the Heart of the Forest. There is a copy available for you to browse while you are enjoying your refreshments and, if you want to buy it, then they have some for sale behind the counter.
You'll find 2 walks that start and finish at Hicks Lodge within the book plus plenty more from other local spots.
If you are looking for some good dog walks during the winter months Hicks Lodge gives you a few options.
Most popular with dog walkers is the simple loop around the main lake - just follow the trail around from the main car park. It can be fairly bracing and certainly blows away the cobwebs - if fact, before the Hicks Lodge days, this spot used to be known as 'The Windy Place' in our house!
My favourite for an 'everyday' walk is to cross over to the trails on the other side of the road and follow the first loop of the family trail around (as long as it isn't too wet you can vary this by including bits of the horse riding track too).
When we fancy a longer walk we again cross over the road, head out on the family trail, venture down the hill onto the second loop and then join the Wood Farm trail. This gives a good hours walk even at a fairly brisk pace and again you can make it longer or shorter by adding bits of the horse track too.
While the cycle centre side of the site is very popular you'll often find that the paths on the other side of the road are really quiet (especially if you can go weekdays). I love the little ponds over there too. And, of course, the icing on the cake (literally!) is the wonderful food at Grounds Cafe, plus dogs are welcome too :)
I just can't resist a footpath sign. The lure of that little arrow just says 'explore me' and sooner or later I just have to find out where it goes. Happily the National Forest is just full of paths. Public footpaths, permissive paths, tracks, trails and long distance paths - we've got the lot!