Visiting the Great Wood

The main gate to Northaw Great Wood opens every day (except Christmas Day) at 8am and closes at 6pm during the summer (1st April to 31st October) and 5pm during the winter (1st November to 31st March).

The car park and toilets close promptly at these times, so please allow plenty of time to return to your vehicle to avoid being locked in for the night.

If you fancy a stroll when the gate is shut then there is parking along The Ridgeway. However, please do not obstruct our neighbours’ driveways or disturb their privacy.

Please note that there are no longer any permitted bridleways in the wood.

Organised events need prior permission from the Council – please contact us and we will forward your enquiry.

The wood has no dedicated trails for off-road (pedal) cycling and this is not an activity that is encouraged. Motorcycles are prohibited. Many paths are unsuitable for cycling, though if used with care and consideration for pedestrian visitors and particularly their children, the less mobile and dogs – who must all be given priority – the Yellow trail is suitable for solo cyclists. However, parts of this trail in the north are very narrow.

We encourage all visitors to make a donation of £1 in the ‘honesty box’. This is a ‘letter-box’ on the side of the office facing the car-park, see photo above.

Where to walk

Click on map for larger scale.

There are three way-marked trails of different lengths, plus many smaller permitted paths. The routing of these trails were revised in December 2009 to reduce the impact on the most muddy areas of the trails.

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The yellow trail is 4.3km  /  2.7miles (about 1 hour 10 minutes to walk)
The blue trail is 2.2km  /  1.37miles (32 minutes)
The red trail is 1.1km  / 0.7 miles (18 minutes)

Visitors are encouraged to keep to these trails and the other major paths (such as Middle Way) in order to protect the wood and its wildlife. In particular, there are some areas of the wood where the paths have been fenced off to create quiet areas favourable to the breeding of Woodcock, which is very sensitive to disturbance by humans and dogs. Please keep out of these fenced areas and keep your dogs under control.

Fenced-off Quiet Area

Thanks to the Council’s Community Chest fund, the Great Wood is now well provisioned with benches and picnic tables.


Middle Way – this wider, open ride, with glades, encourages a greater variety of plant and animal species.

What to look out for

Visit these pages

What to see
Interesting features

Woodland Code of Conduct

Visitors are invited to enjoy the peace and quiet of this beautiful woodland and to observe this Woodland Code of Conduct and the Byelaws.

The following activities are not allowed:

  1. Unauthorised bonfires
  2. Barbeques
  3. Camping
  4. Use of firearms
  5. Motorcycling
  6. Picking/digging up of wild plants and fungi, cutting or felling trees
  7. Molestation of wild creatures
  8. Metal Detecting
  9. Dumping of rubbish, including garden waste

Visitors are also kindly reminded to please:

  1. Keep noise to a minimum
  2. Keep dogs under control at all times
  3. Clean up after your dog, use the dog bins provided in the car parks
  4. Organised events need prior permission from the Council
  5. Observe temporary warnings or instructions placed by the Council

The Byelaws are available here.

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