national forest

The National Forest


The National Forest

With landscape features which go back 500 million years, the former industrial landscape of north-west Leicestershire has been transformed in recent years. Nine million trees have been planted since 1990, creating a hidden gem in the heart of the country.

A beautiful natural landscape reclaimed from the region’s industrial past, while the National Forest came about thanks to a massive tree-planting effort, it’s the 500 million year old Leicestershire landscape that is its real star.

Take in the volcanic rocks of Bradgate Park and discover the home of the ‘Nine Day Queen’ as wild deer emerge from the undergrowth. Follow in the footsteps of David Attenborough and wander the pathways of Swithland Wood, a site of special scientific interest due to being an ‘ancient wood’ with fossils dating to the Cambrian period.

Enjoy the beautiful views across Thornton Reservoir and then head to one of the National Forest’s many attractions and historic sites, from the 1620s House, Moira Furnace, Conkers activity centre, Grace Dieu Priory or think about taking a National Forest e-bike holiday and and spend time exploring the tree-lined roads around the region.

Add The National Forest to your Itinerary

Visitor Details

Key Information

Enterprise Glade, Bath Yard, Moira, Swadlincote, Leicestershire, DE12 6BA

Tel: 01283 551211

Opening Times

Season (1 Jan 2024 - 31 Dec 2024)


Map & Directions



  • Uncover the story - Come and discover the National Forest, England’s first forest to be created for 1,000 years. Spanning 200 square miles to the north-west of Leicester, the Forest’s vibrant and varied landscape takes in ancient forest and newly planted woodland, wildflower meadows and rugged, rocky uplands. You’ll find reminders of the region’s industrial heritage, atmospheric castles and mighty manor houses, bluebell woods and country parks, home to herds of deer. <hr> Nine million trees have been planted since the early 1990s, transforming former coal pits and clay works at the heart of the Forest and joining the ancient forests of Charnwood in the east and Needwood in the west. A ‘hidden gem’ at the heart of the country, the National Forest has trebled the amount of land available for public access, created rich habitats for wildlife, and transformed the landscape for the people who live here, and for those who come to visit. <hr> A perfect place to meet up with family and friends, the National Forest is a gentle, welcoming landscape. You can stretch your legs with one of our many varied circular walks, explore safe off-road cycle trails under your own power or by e-bike, or indulge in delicious tea and cake. Try greenwood working under the trees with a master craftsman, or browse contemporary arts and crafts inspired by the Forest. <hr> If you want a greater challenge, take on the 75-mile National Forest Way, the long distance walking trail that winds its way through the landscape and history of the Forest. Divided into 12 stages, you can take it at your own pace. <hr> In July, come and experience Timber, a three-day festival celebrating our connection to trees and forests through arts, music, debate and outdoor activities. Held under the canopy of one of the Forest’s most beautiful woodlands, Timber brings to life the transformation that the National Forest has brought to this part of the Midlands. <hr> The National Forest is a natural playground with space to be with the people you love. Come and discover it!

Accreditations & Awards

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