Route details

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    7.5 miles 

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    3.5 hours

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    OS Explorer maps 233 and 245

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    OS Grid Ref


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     Thornton Reservoir, Thornton (LE67 1AR) 

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    Path type

    Unsurfaced paths, tracks, woodland trails and farmland

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    Unsurfaced paths may be muddy in wet weather

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  • NFW Stage 3 - Eastbound

    NFW Stage 3 - Eastbound

    pdf 3.38 Mb

  • NFW Stage 3 - Westbound

    NFW Stage 3 - Westbound

    pdf 3.36 Mb


On this stage, the National Forest Way enters ‘King Coal’ country, where the famous ‘black gold’ was mined for centuries. Mining has played a significant role in shaping both the landscape and the heritage of the people who lived and worked in this part of the Forest. The Way takes you through the ongoing transformation of this once-scarred landscape. 

Walk highlights

Thornton Reservoir

This attractive and tranquil expanse of water is a delightful spot to pause along the Way. If you chose to take the three mile surfaced path around the reservoir, don’t miss the sculpture trail hidden amongst the mature woodland.

Battram Wood

The Royal Forestry Society’s Battram Wood is intended to demonstrate how to manage woodland for different uses including leisure and recreation and commercial timber. In time, cricket bat willows and poplar will be harvested ensuring a sustainable income for the woodland.

Kelham Bridge Nature Reserve

Created on the site of a former sewage works, Kelham Bridge Nature Reserve is dominated by the River Sence and its floodplain habitats.  Pools attract wintering and migrant birds and osprey, merlin and peregrine falcon have all been seen here.  

Sence Valley Forest Park

Sence Valley Forest Park was once part of a large opencast coal mine. Nearly 100,000 trees, planted in 1998, have softened a black, scarred moonscape into a lush green bowl, surrounding three lakes and a river, where swans, coots, ducks and even otters have made their home.


  • Car Parking
  • Grassy Paths
  • Picnic Area
  • Viewpoint

Where to eat

The Little Blue Bird Cafe

Discover more

There's always somewhere new to visit in the National Forest, with an array of unique attractions to explore and discover. 

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