Dalby Forest is one of the gems of North Yorkshire. Just just off of the southern slopes of the North York Moors National Park, the forest is comprised of 8,000 acres of beautiful woodland. It’s located between Pickering and Scarborough, so it’s just a short car-ride down the road from York. The Dalby Forest visitor centre is large and beautiful – a great place to nip in to to get a hot drink before your walk and some information about different trails. Plus the centre is eco-friendly! (And I’m starting to sound like a tourist brochure).
Apparently, Dalby Forest is really famous for its bike paths and trails, including some professional level dirt-bike trails. As I can barely ride my bike on the reasonably well-maintained paths in the city of York, I’m not sure all this off-road biking is for me. So I come to Dalby Forest for the scenic walks and the beautiful nature.
Paths through the forest are well-marked and if you’re walking with a dog, you can chose a path that doesn’t have any cross-over with any of the biking trails so there’s no chance of you or your four-legged friend getting run into by a careening biker.
This was Harold’s first time being in a great big space (and in a large forest), so he was a bit timid at first but then he loved it! It was also the first time that we let him off of his lead so that he could have a proper run around. Harold ended up walking about 4 miles that day like an absolute little champion.
It wasn’t the most idyllic day out in Dalby Forest – the forecast was cold but sunny, but just around the halfway point in our walk, clouds rolled in out of nowhere and the heavens opened. Since we were equidistant from the starting point, we carried on with our walk whilst it was absolutely pouring down. At one point in time, little Harold refused to walk in the rain anymore so he got carried inside Sam’s coat. By the time we got back to the car, he was the only one of us who was remotely dry. But that’s the kind of risk you take when you go hiking in the UK so Sam and I just laughed it off and tried to shake off as much water as possible before we got back into the car.
When we were deep onto one trail, a few miles in, we discovered a bunch of white chocolate biscuits scattered around. A walker before us must have had a split in their bag. But one of my favourite thoughts from the whole experience is the fact that Harold must think that white chocolate Marks & Spencer cookies grow in the forest.
It was such a calming (despite the weather) day out and I can’t wait to go back again soon. Hopefully the spring will bring some glorious weather for picnics in the forest asap.
The park is free to enter if you’re on foot or on bicycle, but if you’re arriving by car you have to pay a toll. Between March and October it’s a £8 per car toll, and between November and February it’s a £4 per car toll. So if there’s more than one of you in the car, it’s a really small price to pay for a day out, supporting the Forestry Commission.
Have you visited Dalby Forest before?