The National Forest Way

Welcome to 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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Find and view all walks on the National Forest Way on our search tool. You can view them in a list or a map, and find more information on each section and the points of interest along the way.

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All of our routes are colour-coded for clarity and ease of use but just to make sure you remain on route, we're collated all the route directions, information and downloads into one place.

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We try to provide answers to the most common questions people may ask about the National Forest Way here. If you can’t find the information you are looking for please contact us and we’ll do our best to help.

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About the National Forest Way

The National Forest Way extends over 75 miles from the National Forest Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to Beacon Hill Country Park in Leicestershire. You can walk it west to east or east to west, the choice is yours.

The National Forest Way takes walkers on a journey through a transforming landscape. You'll discover the area's evolution from a rural landscape, through industrialisation and decline, to the modern-day creation of a new forest. Here, 21st-century life is threaded through a mosaic of green spaces, towns and villages, all frames by woodland.

Suitable for experienced and new walkers alike, the National Forest Way reveals the history of a changing landscape, and is accompanied by leaflets, online information and clear signage.


Experience a varied landscape

The Way is divided into 12 stages ranging in length from 4 to 7½ miles. Each stage is designed to showcase a different aspect of The National Forest, such as the rugged natural beauty of Charnwood, the restored landscapes of the coalfield or the views from the Tatenhill ridge on the edge of Needwood Forest. This variety means that whether you are a nature lover, interested in industrial heritage or just love being in the open air, the National Forest Way has something for you to enjoy.

Colour-coded for clarity

You can walk the Way in the direction to suit you: westbound from Beacon Hill towards the NMA or eastbound from the NMA to Beacon Hill. To make this easier, we have colour-coded each direction of travel. If you are walking westbound, you will be using purple direction leaflets and following purple waymarker discs. If you are walking eastbound, the leaflets and waymarkers are orange.

The countryside code

To ensure that you and everyone else enjoy the National Forest Way, please follow the Countryside Code. In particular: Leave gates and property as you find them and follow paths. Leave no trace of your visit and take your litter home. Keep dogs under effective control, always clean up after your dog and dispose of the mess responsibly.

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Special Thanks

The National Forest Way was created by a partnership of the National Forest Company, Derbyshire County Council, Leicestershire County Council and Staffordshire County Council with the generous support of Fisher German.