This is part one of an ongoing collection of walks that can be done immediately from Forest Way.
In recent years some of the local estates and forestry commission have been investing a great deal of time and money to help improve an ever increasing number of good standard paths and tracks. So now there are quite a number of walks with varying terrain and difficulty all on our doorstep and I hope to showcase these all in the coming months. To start us off I have detailed below a favourite walk of mine which is just across the road from Forest Way.
WALK 1 – LAEL FOREST GORGE WALK
This is a fabulous and varied walk which takes between 1-1.5hrs (not including stops for photos etc). The circuit route is 3.5km long and roughly 250m ascent.
Starting at Forest Way, you cross the A835 road to the north car park for Lael Forest Gardens. On the left hand side of the car park a path leads steeply alongside the gorge and waterfalls to join a forestry track next to a concrete bridge that crosses the gorge. Don’t turn right or left once you get to the forestry track, just continue on the path immediately in front of you and continue up the open hillside which has been deforested. After a few hundred metres you will pass a derelict wooden hut and now the path will head in the direction to another gorge. You will now start to get great views of the surrounding hills.
Once you reach the other gorge the track continues uphill and zigzags back to the first gorge and once you reach it again you will find a wooden bridge crosses the gorge. This is the highest point of the walk at just over 200m. After the bridge the path continues into the forest and a dramatic change in scene. You can just make out the path under the dark canopy of the forest and you follow this down for about 200m until you cross a tiny wooden bridge that joins a forestry track. Turn right onto the track and follow this all the way down. You will pass a clearing with a bench and table and this is a good viewpoint and place to stop and relax.
Once you reach the bottom of the forestry track you meet another track. Continue straight ahead and down a marked path which takes you down to the south car park for Lael Forest Gardens and from here you just walk through the gardens to the north car park and back to where you started. The gardens are particularly enjoyable with many different species and a nice waterfall at the north car park. Keep an eye out for red squirrels and birds of prey as there are many.