Salcey Forest in Northamptonshire is an ancient woodland which is a remnant of the medieval royal hunting forest. There are several trails, a play area and a cafe. For those travelling from further afield, the big draw and most unique feature of Salcey used to be the Tree Top Trail – a walkway that would take you right up into the trees. However it closed in May 2018 due to health and safety concerns. The base of the trail remained closed off when we visited in February 2019 and the sign said ‘The Tree Top Walkway is closed until further. After working with independent structural engineers, we hope to keep the walkway and reconstruct the lower section. We are now considering the best way to fund this’.
What is the Zog trail at Salcey Forest?
Salcey Forest is a lovely woodland area and great for walks with the children, but given we have other woodland closer to home we hadn’t visited since the treetop trail closed. However on finding out there’s a ‘Zog’ trail there until September 2019 we decided to go – Zog is a book by Julia Donaldson. The trail is about 1.2 miles and includes pictures and information on posts set a short distance apart along the route. You can buy a £3 activity pack which includes a small booklet, pencil and red spy glass which enables children to see hidden pictures on several of the posts. You can still walk around without buying the pack but it gives them a few extra things to do. I took my two sons aged five and three. When we arrived we discovered you can buy the packs between 10am and 2pm but there was no-one in the office. We couldn’t get a phone signal to call the ranger so we had to ask someone else to do it, and he arrived promptly. My sons enjoyed the trail and found the distance fine.
What else is at Salcey Forest?
On the route around the Zog trail there are some small wooden houses that the children can play in. Just a word of advice though, make sure you and the kids wear wellies in wetter months, it’s like a bog in the middle of it – and of course there’s nothing more fun than muddy puddles. There is a play area which consists of a wooden climbing frame with ropes and a slide as well as a stack of logs. My 5 year old really enjoyed it but the frame was too tricky for my 3 year old. There is a Gruffalo orienteering trail there as well – you can buy a map for £1.50 but the markers for it are rather small and it’s not something I would go there especially to do with the kids. There is a really nice good sized cafe there. If you’re reading this and intend to visit in the summer it may be worth taking a picnic blanket with you or something to sit on, I recall there aren’t that many picnic benches and it can get busy in warm weather.
Where is Salcey Forest, how much does it cost and is it worth visiting?
The postcode is NN7 2HX and was about 25 mins from where we live in Milton Keynes. We have woodland closer to home so yes absolutely it’s nice for a change of scenery but we’re more likely only to visit now if there’s a themed trail on. There is not cost to enter the forest but you do pay to park. At the time of visiting in February 2019 it cost £1.50 an hour to park or £4 for the day. I’ve always taken cash but someone did tell me one of the machines takes cards – I’d still take cash to be certain. You can only pay for the trail sheets by card.
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