OS Grid ref:- SD 725 555
Gisburn Forest in the north east corner of Lancashire is a popular recreational area situated in the Forest of Bowland an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in in the North East corner of Lancashire.
The forest was largely created by the Forestry Commission in 1948. Large areas of former meadow-land and pasture were planted with conifers-maily Sitka and Norway Spruce and Larch trees. As this commercial forestry has matured, the composition of more recent planting has changed to include a higher proportion of native British broad-leaved tree species such as alder, ash, beech, oak etc, to improve the wildlife habitat diversity and aesthetic appeal of Gisburn Forest.
These walks start from United Utilities’ car park at Vicarage Garden and are waymnarked with coloured posts that have the same colour as the trail name:-
White Trail - 2.1 kilometres - around 40 minutes, A gently undulating walk through mixed coniferous and broadleaved woodland, with fine views of Stocks Reservoir.
Blue Trail - 3.5 kilometres - around 1 hour Passing through mixed woodland this route follows, in part, an old farmstead track known as Eggberry Road. There are views over Bottoms Beck to the ancient broadleaved woodland of Park Wood.
Red Trail - 5.3 kilometres - allow 1.5 hours. This is the longest route combining many of the best qualities of the two shorter walks. From Birch Hills the route passes over Swinshaw Top before dropping down to Bottoms Beck. The beck is followed downstream, for a while via the course of an old rail track that was used for the transport of stone during the dam construction at Stocks Reservoir, then onto Eggberry Road.
The Forest is also the best location for mountain biking in North Lancashire. Gisburn Forest Offers two fantastic new mountain bike trails with the unique Hully Gully where you get as close to dancing with your bike as it is possible.
Stocks Reservoir, on the edge of the forest, is a popular location and has a fly fishing club, the largest fly fishery in the North West of England and a small cafe, much favoured by walkers in the area. The reservoir was constructed by the Fylde Water Board in 1932 when the Dalehead valley and the surrounding farmland was flooded.
The forest is managed by the Forestry Commission's North lancashire and South East Cumbria Beat team who are based at Dunsop Bridge.