5 Attractions in the Forest you can visit this spring

15th Apr 2021

This spring we’re not only seeing the season changes, but there’s some exciting changes for us too. As lockdown begins to ease and businesses can start to open their outdoor spaces, we can get back to the things we love – exploring everything the National Forest has to offer! Whether you want the perfect family day out, are looking to discover somewhere new or admire the views you’ve missed, here are five places and attractions in the Forest that are now welcoming visitors and will provide a safe and fun day out this spring. 


Calke Abbey

Perhaps you’re looking for a place to immerse yourself in nature, head off on a tranquil walk, or spend a family day out. Calke Abbey parkland and gardens are now open, and with over 600 acres of parkland to explore, you can enjoy endless days of adventures. If you’re looking to explore on foot then look out for ancient trees, an abundance of wildlife, and the remnants of the once-industrial lime yards, or if you prefer a two-wheeled adventure, then why not enjoy a woodland bike ride and discover some of the old tramway which once linked Ticknall to Ashby. Or if you’re visiting with the family, Calke Explore is the perfect base, with easy access to the estate, trails, and a natural play area where kids can get closer to nature. If you’re looking to spend the day here, pre-booking is advised.

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National Forest Adventure Farm

If you’ve missed those family days of adventure in the Forest, then the National Forest Adventure Farm is the ultimate destination for hours of fun this spring! Set on the edge of Needwood Forest, the farm has a whole host of animals to meet, including pigs, sheep, cows and goats, and lots of activities on offer, from tractor rides and bean planting to mini-golf! On selected dates during April and May there will be plenty of new life to see including newborn lambs, kids and piglets, plus the new Critter Village, where you’ll meet an entertaining bee, butterfly and hedgehog and follow the Minibeast Quiz Trail! To help keep everyone safe there are limited tickets and two four-hour sessions each day.

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Hicks Lodge

If you’re looking for somewhere with miles of off-road cycle paths, a variety of trails suitable for budding cyclists to the more confident, set in the beautiful young woodland in the heart of the National Forest, then this is the destination for you. Hicks Lodge cycle trails and play area are now open, the onsite café is also offering takeaway options, so you can refuel after all that pedalling! And if you don’t fancy cycling, then don’t worry! The trails are designed for walkers, runners and nature spotters too, with the circular trail running through newly-planted woodland and around the lake at the heart of the site, bustling with a variety of ducks, geese and diving bird.! There are benches along the route so you can take a break, relax and see what wildlife you can spot! Hicks Lodge is likely to be busy at peak times, so you may have to be prepared to visit on another day if car parks are full.

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National Memorial Arboretum

Situated on the River Tame in Staffordshire, the National Memorial Arboretum is the national centre for remembrance. With over 150 acres of open space and woodlands to explore there’s something for all ages at the Arboretum. You can head off on a riverside walk, or younger visitors can take the Stick Man trail, and there’s something for your four-legged friends too with a dedicated dog-walking route that can be enjoyed all year round! There is also the new augmented reality experience app, perfect for families, which brings the Arboretum to life, and through a series of puzzles you’ll learn about remembrance, teamwork and reflection in a fun and exciting way. The NMA is open to visitors on a pre-booked basis.

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If you’ve missed the great outdoors, Conkers Discovery Centre is now welcoming people back with their outdoor activities open and ready for you to experience! Explore over 120 acres of the picturesque grounds including maturing woodland, lakes and gardens – in full spring colour! There are also 23 different outdoor activities including the 450-metre barefoot walk, sculpture trails, activity course and sky viewing tower, where you can pause for a treetop panorama. Or if you’re feeling brave then why not tackle the aerial high ropes as you traverse along high-level walks ways and climbing nets 30ft above the ground! Conkers is running a pre-booking system with a limited number of tickets available.

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We hope you enjoy spending time in the Forest this spring and visiting the attractions. Please remember when you’re out and about to keep a safe distance from others and take care of our outdoor spaces so others can enjoy them too, by leaving no trace of your visit. Visit the countryside code for more information.

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