Newest Review: ... make it up the observation tower. Things to do aside from the forest walks are what you would expect, an adventure playground for the kid... more
Woody Woodpecker wus ere!
Salcey Forest (Northamptonshire)
Member Name: freediveheaven
Salcey Forest (Northamptonshire)
Advantages: Peaceful if you walk far enough
Disadvantages: Very busy in the summer
There are a number of access points where there is parking and there are also some lay bys on the surrounding roads where you can park if you are too tight to stump up the £2 parking fee but to be honest if you are that sort of person then really you do not deserve to experience this great wooded area. The £2 parking fee is the same whether you stay for an hour or all day and goes directly towards the upkeep of the woods. The main entrance has a large parking area although this is not hard core layered so it can get muddy in places especially at this time of year. When you arrive there is a cafeteria in this area and some toilets as well as children's play area. In the summer there is also an ice cream stand that sells homemade ice cream which is just to die for however do be careful because it is prone to running out on very busy hot days. The run and raisin flavour is just heavenly as is the strawberry ripple.
The cafeteria sells reasonably priced meals and sandwiches, there is a small seating area inside and both covered and exposed seating outside as well, I must be honest I have not tried the food as we tend to take our own to consume on the longer hikes but I can vouch for the quality of the coffee. There is a small children play area that is well situated and constructed with a number of wooden climbing frames and slides, this area is only suitable for children under the age of ten.
To spend too much time in this area is a crime as the true splendour of these woods is to be found on the number of walks available. These are colour coded and vary from a 1km walk to a 10km one. The latter called the Woodpecker Trail is my favourite, in all it is a 10km walk that takes you all around the woods, it does involve two road crossings however these are country lanes and not busy. This is the walk that gets you away from the crowds and into the silent wonder of this wood, in all it takes about three hours to complete and is pretty flat all the way however it is very muddy as well which can make it hard going at times, in fact only when we have had a prolonged period of dry weather will you manage the whole route without getting muddy as there are a number of streams throughout the woods and it is very sheltered so retains dampness in the soil.
On this route you will at times make use of the cycle route and the bridle path so you have to watch out for riders of both types on your journey. There are a number of species of wildlife on the way including the chance to see woodpeckers, goldcrest and woodbill from the bird world as well as plenty of squirrels and the odd rabbit as well. All of the routes are really well marked using a colour code system and it is virtually impossible to get lost if you stick to the tracks. On the longer route there is plenty of variety in the types of woods and open meadows that you walk and plenty of places to stop of and appreciate the views and the peace and quiet.
There are two other shorter walks available that are suitable for those looking to spend less time or wanting to push buggies as these are flat, dry and hard paved. The shortest walk takes you to the tree top walk, a wooden structure that slowly rises to 20 meters in height on a fairly gentle gradient until you are up at tree top level and at the end of which there is an observation tower which gives superb views back on Northampton and out across to Milton Keynes in the south. This is really popular with children and adults alike and is worth seeing on your first visit. The third marked walk is about 1.5km in length and avoids the tree top walk but takes in a number of features such as some impressive fallen oaks and a wooden walk way across a pond.
For those preferring two wheels there is a 5km cycle path that cuts through the woods and is similar in the area it covers to the Woodpecker Walk, all of the routes tend to cut across each other at certain points and the cycle path is fairly even ground however there are some uneven bits making it suitable for hybrid or mountain bikes when it is dry and probably only the mountain bikes with their better grip when wet and muddy.
This is a popular destination at weekends in the summer but go during the week in the winter and it can be very peaceful once you get away from the shorter walks, indeed at half term I managed to walk for a good ninety minutes without seeing anyone on a three hour hike.
I do like these woods, Northamptonshire is blessed with some great walking areas and having this one so close to home is a real treat for both the kids and I, in fact I was tempted not to write about it as the fewer people the better but that would be to deny people the chance to see some old wild woods with some beautiful oak trees in it. Some parts of the woods are still cultivated for commercial purposes and in the centre of the woods there is some private land however this is well fenced to prevent you accidentally wandering on to it.
Opening times vary depending upon the time of year, check the website and look out or the closure times when you arrive as the car park is locked after a certain time. The facilities are good and the toilet area is well maintained and clean with a separate disabled toilet and baby change area.
For more information check out the following website
Thanks for reading and rating my review.
Summary: Lovely ancient woods
More reviews in the field of National Park
- A different day out at the Seaside.
- A genuine place of beauty.
- It's not really what I would call a Forest
- Queen of the Forests
- Think Guy Gibson - But On A Bike! Cycling Around Derwent Dam
- Such a beautiful place to visit!
- A Museum with a very big garden!
- Steaming Through Staffordshire
- Saucey and Salcey Forest!
- When we go down to the woods today. . . .