“ 3,500 acres of woodland just fifteen minutes from Exeter. „
Haldon Forest Park nr Exeter in Devon.
I have grown up with visits to Haldon forest and now I am a parent myself I love taking my daughter up there for walks. I have so many fond memories of walking on Haldon as a child but it was all very basic back then, a few trails made out to suit your different requirements varying from a stroll path to an intense walking path.
How times of changed, and how I feel extremely lucky living in Exeter and only a 10 minute drive away from this fantastic attraction.
****** So here is the information I have taken from http://www.forestry.gov.uk/haldonforestpark *******
Whether you want a quiet gentle stroll or an exhilarating mountain biking experience, there's something for you at Haldon Forest Park. 3,500 acres of woodland just fifteen minutes from Exeter, we are open every day from 8.30am until 7.00pm (until 1st November 2009). All it will cost you is the price of a parking ticket, so we are sure you will find it great value for money. Everyone is welcome, and our Rangers are on-site daily to give advice and help you get the most out of your experience.
I wouldn't want to try and guess how much money has been spent on improving this forest over the recent years, but I have to say i am so grateful that they have and the fact that they don't charge an admission fee but the do charge a very reasonable parking charge and you pay a set price for the day.
How reasonable are these charges?
Annual Permit £13.00 from the 1st of April 2009
It is open 364 days a year (closed Christmas day).
There is a large parking area set slight off from the main road. Near to the car park are around 10 toilet cubicles some of which are equipped for wheel chair users.
There is a rangers office, which I personally was grateful of as last year one of the dogs i regularly take for a walk up there decided to follow his nose and got himself lost. Somebody took him straight to the rangers office and they immediately phoned the number on the dog collar to inform us that they had him.
They have recently opened a cafe selling local produced organic and fair trade products at quite reasonable prices.
There is also cycle hire available at the hub near the rangers office
"Forest Cycle Hire stock a full range of frame sizes for children and adults, plus tag-alongs, child seats, and buggy's. Using only Claud Butler mountain bikes assures a high quality ride, and something for everyone!
Call 01392 833768 for bookings and information. "
This forest has a range of walks you can take, including family friendly walks with huts and over sized wooden musical instruments to keep the children motivated along the way, there are short cuts if you don't want to do the full walks.
Dogs are welcome on the forest, though I only recall dog waste bins being situated at the car park.
They have recently opened a Go Ape area within the forest too which is a high wire adventure course, probably not for those of us who don't like heights, but they do hold party bookings there.
I love having a Sunday walk up there before or after a Sunday roast, don't feel obliged to wear welly boots as the paths are good. There are picnic areas and benches all along the route giving you a chance to take a rest.
There are some great views of Exeter, my daughter, every time we do the walk says "wow look at the view" bless her.
There is also a bike trail which i haven't personally used myself but i gather is a huge hit as there always lots of cyclists of all levels up there.
They have a sand play area near the car park for fine days, and this is definitely a hit with the children.
I can't fault haldon forest, I feel very fortunate to have this on my door step.
I believe they also hold ranger days up there for children during the holidays.
Definitely a recommended family day it.
The family trail taking it easy can take about 60 Min's to walk around, though i have done it in 20 Min's at a brisk pace walking the dogs.