Haldon Forest Park | Best things to do in Devon 2022 |

Haldon Forest Park

3,500 acres of woodland just 15 minutes from Exeter

Haldon Forest Park

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Description

A timber shelter viewed from the air as a man pushes a pushchair along a trail

Whether you want a gentle stroll or an exhilarating mountain biking experience, there’s something for everyone at Haldon Forest Park. Open 364 days of the year, there is something for every interest to connect you with the great outdoors.

If you’re looking to entertain the family, get active, rediscover your connection with nature, or just make unforgettable memories, look no further than Haldon Forest Park.

Haldon Forest Park offers endless activities and miles of different trails. Ideal for families, runners, walkers, and cyclists of any age and ability. The Forest Park is set in the heart of beautiful Devon with some amazing views of the surrounding countryside. Discover easy going trails and a choice of stunning picnic spots, or head deeper into the forest for a more challenging hiking adventure. For thrill seekers, choose from cycling trails and activity areas, tree top adventures, Segway tours, the south west’s largest orienteering course, and more. With easy parking, toilets, and an on-site cafe, there is no excuse not to explore the forest at any time of year!

Things to do at Haldon Forest Park

Entertaining the kids

If 3,500 acres of forest to explore isn’t enough, don’t worry – we’ve got plenty to keep kids of all ages entertained. For little explorers, head out onto the Superworm activity trail to discover the minibeast heroes of the forest. Activity packs are available from the Info Pod for £3.50. Slightly older adventurers will enjoy challenging themselves with our Gruffalo orienteering course as they navigate their way between control points. Maps are available from the Info Pod for £1.50.

To burn off some energy, bring their bikes (or hire them on-site) to work up a sweat on our cycling and mountain biking trails. For those with a head for heights, check out the Go Ape Treetop Adventure, which will leave everyone with a sense of achievement.

A family plays in front of a Superworm trail sign

Walking

Whether you’re looking for play and adventure or a bit of peace and quiet to observe the wildlife, Haldon Forest Park has the perfect walking trail for you. The Discovery Trail is shared between walkers and beginner cyclists, with plenty of seating stops and stunning views. It is also home to our Superworm kids’ activity trail, taking families on an adventure to discover the minibeast heroes of the forest. For a more immersive forest walk, choose from the waymarked Raptor trail or Butterfly trail, or make up your own route. Visitors with reduced mobility can explore the forest with one of our off-road mobility vehicles, available to hire via the Countryside Mobility scheme. Our easy-to-use scooters can tackle forest terrain come rain or shine.

For a walk with a fitness boost, why not try Nordic walking? Bring your poles, or hire ours from the Info Pod, and stride out onto our waymarked Nordic walking routes.

Cycling and mountain biking

Whether you’ve just bought your first bike, or you’re happy shredding through rock gardens, Haldon Forest Park offers fantastic natural cycling. Practise your technique in the skills area and find your flow on the pump loop, then choose from graded trails that wind through the forest.

Haven’t brought your bike? Our on-site cycle hire specialists are here to help with mountain bikes for all ages, electrically-assisted bikes, tag-a-longs and child seats, recumbent cycles, and trikes. All cycle hire is heavily discounted for over 55s.

A middle-aged man and woman ride bikes through the forest

Running

Lace up your trainers and head into the forest for a run like no other. Choose from our 1-5km waymarked running routes or make up your own route. Trail running is not just good for your fitness. Tune into the colours and sounds of the forest for a mindful experience to leave you feeling refreshed.

Go Ape at Haldon Forest Park

Scale the heights of the treetops with daring crossings, wobbly bridges, and zip wires. Choose from the Treetop Adventure for younger thrill seekers or the Treetop Challenge for older adrenalin-junkies. Pre-booking is essential to avoid disappointment.

Segway tours

Glide effortlessly through the forest on an eco-friendly personal transporter with a guided Segway tour. Full training is provided by experienced guides who can cater for all ages (minimum height and weight apply).

A group of people smile at the camera while standing on Segways

Orienteering

For a walk with an added challenge, test your map navigational skills against Haldon Forest Park’s orienteering course. We have graded routes for everyone from complete beginner (white) to advanced (brown). Purchase your maps from the Info Pod (£1.50) or download them for free before you visit.

For younger explorers, try our Gruffalo Orienteering course with special Gruffalo-themed controls hidden along the Discovery Trail. Maps are available from the Info Pod for £1.50.

White, yellow, orange, and Gruffalo orienteering courses are accessible for off-road mobility vehicles.

Eating and drinking

After your forest adventure, refuel at the Ridge Cafe. You’ll be spoiled for choice with delicious homemade light bites, locally-made cakes, and hot and cold drinks. Or bring your own picnic to enjoy in your favourite spot. There are picnic benches dotted throughout the forest, or pick a peaceful spot among the trees. Top up your water bottles with our free refill station next to the toilet block. To help us prevent wild fires, please never light a BBQ or fire in the forest.

Dogs at Haldon Forest Park

Dogs love Haldon Forest with exciting sights smells to explore and plenty of shade on hot summer days. There is always fresh doggy drinking water in the forest visitor hub, and some of our picnic tables have tie rings to keep four-legged family members secure while you eat. For happy times and waggy tails, please check out our guidance for dogs in the forest.

A person and a brown dog walk towards the camera. The person is carrying a poo bag.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Haldon Forest Park located

Haldon Forest Park is 1 mile from the A38 just 15 minutes from Exeter and Newton Abbot.

Do you have to pay to park at Haldon Forest Park?

Parking charges apply at Haldon Forest park and can be paid by credit/debit card, or via the RingGo app. Members park for free. Parking charges help Forestry England care for the forest now and for the future.

How disability friendly is Haldon Forest Park?

Our staff have undertaken disability awareness training and we pride ourselves on providing a great day out for everyone. Haldon Forest Park is a sunflower-friendly destination. Our trails cater for all abilities with plenty of seating along the Discovery (green) walking trail. Visitors with limited mobility can hire one of our off-road mobility scooters via the Countryside Mobility Scheme, and our on-site cycle hire offers a range of disability bikes, including recumbent cycles and trikes. We are continually working to improve our accessibility and have published a full guide.

What is there for kids to do?

Kids are never bored at Haldon Forest Park. The Superworm activity trail takes children on an adventure to discover the minibeast heroes of the forest. Our Gruffalo orienteering challenge encourages map reading and exploration. The Discovery Trail is perfect for balance bikes and building cycling confidence, while Go Ape’s Tree Top Adventure is suitable for the whole family. If that isn’t enough, we have play areas and 3,500 acres of forest to explore!

Where is Go Ape in Devon?

Go Ape in Devon is located within Haldon Forest Park. Activities must be pre-booked and parking charges apply.

Can I bring my dog?

Dogs are welcome at Haldon Forest Park and we always provide fresh drinking water in the main visitor hub. For happy times and waggy tails for everyone, please read our guidance on dogs in the forest.

Can I hire bikes at Haldon Forest Park?

Yes! Our cycle hire specialists, Forest Cycle Hire, are open seven days a week. They can supply adults’ and kids’ mountain bikes, electrically-assisted bikes, tag-a-longs and child seats, as well as recumbent cycles and trikes. Cycle hire is discounted for over 55s.

Can I bring a BBQ?

No. To help us prevent wild fires, please never light a BBQ or fire in the forest. There are benches dotted around the forest for you to enjoy a picnic, and the Ridge Cafe is open daily serving freshly made light bites.

Offers

Haldon Forest Park members park for free

Become a member and support Haldon Forest Park while you enjoy unlimited parking for just £40 per year. Simply display  your pass in your vehicle without queuing for a ticket. Parking charges and memberships help us to look after Haldon Forest Park for everyone.

Haldon Forest Membership

Tripadvisor Logo

Sept. 2021 – What’s not to love!

This is a great place for young and old, there are some great walks and cycle paths, and children’s walks with great little finds along the way. Our grandchildren loved the giant Stick Man, one of their all time favourite stories.

Cal_Parry - Devon

Nov 2021

Lovely afternoon up in the forest 🌳 so near to Exeter yet makes you feel so far breath taking scenery and a great place to get back to nature wish I had worn better foot wear and dressed a bit better for the time of year still had a nice afternoon.

Rob-Hannaford- West Quantoxhead, UK

Autumn Sunshine

Very well maintained paths and attractive woodland, neat visitor centre with clean toilets.Different trails for everyone’s capabilities and tastes. Best views were from Belevedere Tower in our opinion just a short walk off the Haldon forest routes

johnandlizb

June 2021 – Family -Segway

We visited the Forest for the Segway experience. It was brilliant both instructors were very helpful and informative and made the whole experience fun.

Tom C

June 2021 – Wonderful morning Out!

We visited in May half term and did the Kiddens cycle trail (dark blue) with our 6 and 7 year olds, which seemed to have been created by a mountain biking ARTIST and to somehow consist of all downhill and almost no uphill sections! What a fantastic morning out. I nearly didn’t come because of some of the bad reviews recently, but so glad we decided to give it a try. It’s a lot like Glentress, but with blue skies and sunshine at 24 degrees C! I’d go back in a heartbeat. The skills track was also a lot of fun. We only met one other group the whole way round the Kiddens trail, which was incredible given that it was half term – very quiet once you get out of the main carpark. Awesome!

Becky1234 - London

Visit to Haldon Forest

We spend a couple of hours here as had elderly relatives with us.we did some of the green walking trail lovely scenery. Would come back when in the area.

MumP65

May 2021 – Family – Great time at Go Ape

Great time at Go Ape. Really kind and friendly staff who were great with kids that were scared. Our 4 and 6 year old loved it.

HappyHamishDog

May 2021 – Great Place

Nicely kept park, well drained and sloping so your dog won’t get too muddy when it is wet, though can make walking some of the routes an effort. Parking charges can be forgiven as they go towards keeping the park nice. There is plenty to entertain children too, from butterfly trails, to swings and for older children flywires through the canopy. Good little cafe too. Great for mountain bikers, dog walkers and families.

Ian K - Newton Abbot, UK

Good place for walks and other activities with stunning view over Exe estuary

My first time to Haldon Forest. In my mind I had associated the name with the busy and noisy A38 – but this place felt peaceful.

Well organised entrance and good range of activities available (cycle, running and walking trails) with more available in non-coronavirus times. Easy to pay parking fee (took card) and charge seemed reasonable £5 for up to 4 hours. So I don’t agree with some comments I’ve seen that too much (in particular as I understand money goes to help support the place).

We did the Butterfly walk (4 miles, I think). The signage was very clear – meant a rare treat of a family walk without moans about getting lost and my incompetent map reading. The view of Exeter and Exe Estuary was particularly impressive (only a short stroll from the car park). Felt tranquil for most of the walk with a plenty of bird sound, dappled sunlight through woods, lots of fox gloves and rhododendrons in flower.

My only “complaint” is where were the butterflies? It was a warm and still late May mid-morning and I’d hope to see a lot, but only saw one. Maybe my ignorance about butterfly behaviour.

Apart from mild disappointment about absence of butterflies a good trip. I will return for other activities and in other seasons.

Tim L

How To Find Us

By Car

Travelling by car on the A38, turn off at the exit for Exeter Racecourse (there are no slip roads for this turning). Follow the signs for Haldon Forest Park. The nearest postcode for sat nav is EX6 7XR but look out for the roadside banners directing you to the car park. The most accurate way to find our car park is using What3Words chuck.kicks.ruffling.

 

By Public Transport

The forest park is not served directly by local buses. Some services stop within walking distance but the walk is mostly on the highway as there are no footpaths.

Country Bus 360 stops close to Haldon Belvedere. The stop is approx. 0.25 mile from our walking trail network. The forest park facilities are a 1 mile walk along the Raptor and Discovery trails.

Stagecoach Bus 39 and X38 stop at Exeter Racecourse (1 mile away). The return stop is at Winning Post Service Station.

Stagecoach Bus 7 stops at the Haldon Grill on the A380 (2.5 miles away).

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