Walking and activities on foot

Get out and about on foot.

There are hundreds of miles of paths and trails to explore in the National Forest, and plenty of places accessible for all ages and abilities. Grab your walking boots, your trainers or your dog and head out into the woods for a walk or a run, or try your hand at orienteering or geocaching. Each step in the National Forest can take you somewhere completely different. Follow gentle trails through vibrant young woodlands and nature-rich ancient forests. Discover more about the area’s heritage or just let a canal towpath take you to the nearest pub lunch.

Places to walk

Here are just a handful of the great woodlands and sites where you can stretch your legs in the National Forest. If you can't find what you're looking for visit our Visit Search, where you can search for all walking activities in the Forest.

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See all of the walking locations and activities in the National Forest


National Forest Trails

If you are a confident explorer why not try one of our promoted walk routes. There are lots of circular routes of varying lengths, each accompanied by a leaflet together with a map and clear and concise directions and information on sights along the way.

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The National Forest Way

The National Forest Way long distance walking trail explores the highlights of The National Forest, extending over 75 miles between the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to Beacon Hill Country Park in Leicestershire.

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The National Forest Walking Festival

Every May, the National Forest Walking Festival offers a range of guided walks and other activities to encourage people to get out and enjoy the Forest. The walks range from short walks to longer more challenging ones. Each walk is led by a knowledgeable walk leader who will not only guide you along the route, but also tell you about the landscape, places and heritage you pass through.

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Guided walks

If you prefer to follow a leader, there are guided walks happening every week across the Forest. Ranging from seasonal walks to take in the sights and sounds of the woodlands to well-being walks for a healthy heart and mind.

More information on guided walks and local walking groups in the National Forest is available from the following organisations:

Ramblers Association

The Ramblers is a charity whose goal is to protect the ability of people to enjoy the sense of freedom and benefits that come from being outdoors on foot.

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Long Distance Walkers Association

The LDWA is an association of people with the common interest of walking long distances in rural, mountainous or moorland areas.

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Walking for Health

Walking for Health is England’s largest network of health walks with over 375 active schemes, helping people across the country lead a more active lifestyle.

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Running and jogging

You might be thinking about picking up a pair of trainers for the first time or you might be a seasoned racer looking for your next challenge. Whatever your speed or motivation, the trails of the National Forest are a great place to run. We have miles of footpaths and off road trails to explore, an athletics track in Burton on Trent and plenty of training runs, races and events to get involved in.

England Athletics website


Orienteering is truly a sport for all. It doesn’t matter how young, old or fit you are; you can run or walk making progress at your own pace on the courses planned to suit you. Events have a number of courses from ones for novices to more complicated and adventurous ones. The aim is to navigate between control points marked on an orienteering map. In competitive orienteering the challenge is to complete the course in the quickest time choosing your own best route.

There are orienteering courses and events on your doorstep or further afield helping you to discover new places. There are dozens of locations within the National Forest where events are held both at weekends and weekday evenings and in a number of places you can obtain a map and instructions and just go off by yourself to have a go.

There are two Orienteering clubs covering the National Forest. For information about fixtures and to find out where there are permanent courses set out, use the links below.


Find orienteering events, courses and activities in the National Forest


Derwent Valley Orienteers

Running events and activities in Derbyshire. Follow the link below to their website.

Club website

Leicestershire Orienteering Club

Running events and activities across Leicestershire. Follow the link below to their website.

Club website


parkrun organises free, weekly, 5km timed runs around the world. They are open to everyone, free, and are safe and easy to take part in. These events take place in pleasant parkland surroundings and we encourage people of every ability to take part; from those taking their first steps in running to Olympians; from juniors to those with more experience; everyone is welcome.

parkrun website


Imagine a free pastime that can be enjoyed by the whole family and combines technology with outdoor adventure: that is Geocaching. Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using a smart phone (or GPS receiver) to navigate to a set of co-ordinates to find a Geocache (container) hidden at that location. Geocaches can be found anywhere; there are over three million hidden worldwide and in lots of locations in the National Forest.

Geocaching Association of Great Britain

Be a responsible visitor to the National Forest

To get the most out of your visit to the National Forest and enjoy all it has to offer please be respectful of others, help protect our natural environment and follow some simple rules.

The Countryside Code

The updated Countryside Code was published by Natural England in 2012 and includes new advice on rights of way and preventing fires as well as new information on coastal safety and keeping dogs under “effective control” around livestock and wildlife.

Walking with dogs

The Ramblers Association has worked alongside Natural England, the Kennel Club, National Farmers’ Union and others to create a new Dog Walking code. It is a simple, ten-point guide which aims to ensure safe and happy walks with your dog, and to avoid causing problems for others.

Walking near livestock

The countryside is a working environment and it's important to be mindful and respectful of farms and farm animals, particularly during spring when cattle are rearing their young. The Ramblers Association has produced guidance on what to do when walking near livestock.

Reporting problems with Rights of Way

You can report problems with public Rights of Way in Derbyshire via the County Council's online reporting system.

Please report problems with Rights of Way in Leicestershire through the County Council's "Report it" website.

You can report problems with Rights of Way in Staffordshire through the County Council's website.