Walking Trails

Update July 2017 : Please be aware that the Forestry Commission are currently making some changes to the Red and Green waymarked trails.  Take care and plan your walk carefully, as some waymarkers will be missing pending the launch of a new walking trails map.

There were three waymarked trails, starting from the main car park.  These are colour coded – please follow the waymarker posts.  A fourth trail, starting near the entrance at Hookergate/High Spen, takes visitors off the tarmac road and away from traffic through the Wood to the main car park – this is waymarked with orange arrows.  A “Cruck Frame” by Malcolm Lemmon is sited on the entrance trail.

Please, for you own safety, don’t walk along the Powerline Cycle Trail – this route is for mountain bike riders only.

Click below to download the Chopwell Walking Trails leaflet from the Forestry Commission website:

Chopwell Walking Trails Leaflet – (PDF)

Heritage Sites – 1 to 16 – Map shown below  – for further details go to the Heritage in the Wood page

Click images above to enlarge


Easy Access Trail 0.4 mls (0.6 km) Funded by the “Friends”, a circular route around the pine woodland next to the main car park with  a specially laid level surface, making it accessable for wheelchair users (horse & bike riders are requested not to use this route).  The “Woodland Spirit” and “Orchid” sculptures can be seen.
Easy Allow 20 mins +
Old Railway Line Trail 1.5 mls (2.4 km) A level, moderately easy route, along wide forest tracks.  This incorporates parts of the old railway line used to carry coal from Chopwell and High Spen to the staithes on the River Tyne, near Derwenthaugh. Two restored Railway Wagons are on the line.
Easy to Moderate Allow 45 mins
River Valley Trail 3.5 mls (5.5 km) A more demanding route taking in many scenic views of the Derwent Valley.  It passes through tall stands of Douglas Fir and skirts alongside the Oak woodland which cloaks the cliffs overlooking the river.  It also passes near to the “Bird of Prey” sculpture.
Moderate to Strenuous Allow 2 hours
Boundary Trail 4.5 mls (7.2 km) Our longest route along tracks and forest paths.  Explore cool pine, dappled beech woods, open glades and views.  The route passes two sculptures by David Gross – “The New Hands” and “The Bat”, and one sculpture by Richard Caink – “The Guardians”.
Strenuous Allow 3 hours

There are seven sculptures sited within the Woodland Park, five of the wood sculptures are by David Gross, two wood sculptures are by Richard Caink.  Sadly the ceramic sculpture, the “Chaffinch Eggs” by Joe Hillier, was destroyed by vandals in July 2011.  Another sculpture, a wood carving of a “Sleepy Owl” by Steve Iredale, has rotted away at the base and been removed.

The Millennium Oak Leaf sculpture, by David Gross, was removed from site in September 2016. After 16 years the sculpture was deteriorating due to the wood rotting, and it was becoming unsafe.

In 2006 David Gross was commissioned to carve a replacement for the woodland first sculpture, “The Hands”.  The old sculpture was made of Poplar wood and was decaying after 12 years, it has now been removed from site.  “The New Hands” are made from Oak and were installed on site during November 2006.  Once again the Wood has one of its most outstanding landmarks.

Guide leaflets for the Sculptures and a Tree Trail are available to “Friends” members.

In the south west area of the Wood a set of steps were built in 1999 to traverse a small deep valley.  Funding for this was provided by the “Friends”, and the work was done by BTCV.  Unfortunately, water erosion and the sheer steepness of the slope have since made these steps unsafe, and they have been removed.  A new path has now been created to take walkers around the valley, funding was again provided by the “Friends”.

The Forestry Commission recommends Waterproofs and Hiking Boots when walking in Chopwell Wood.

Horse riders and cyclists are welcome to use the firm surfaced routes.  However, some un-surfaced paths are not suitable for horse riding or mountain biking.  The Easy Access Trail in particular has been installed especially for the less-able, and this short circular route has a special surface.  Horses and cycles can severely damage this surface, which costs twice that of a normal path.