The ‘Needs to Know’
PLEASE NOTE: As of February 2019 the ‘Tree Top Walk’ featured in this walk is currently closed for repairs. We will update when reopened
Distance: 2.5 miles (4.02km)
Time to walk: It can normally be done in about an hour, but Salcey Forest has so may walks & there’s many cut offs &, like today, just take your time, walk quietly & slowly along to watch the wildlife. If you cut off down the other paths you’re likely to see so much more.
Today we were in ‘wildlife creep about’ mode. I only took a mega long lens with me as I was on an owl mission & spent a long time towards dusk sitting in a ditch trying to capture owls on the hunt alongside hedges – ah well….next time. Could hear them screeching though. That’s the frustration of wildlife photography though.
Also spent 30 mins standing waiting for an amazing late season dragonfly to land on a twig for me to snap – never did the swine! Caught a great photo of a late season butterfly as a bonus though.
Difficulty: Good forestry tracks
Parking: Public car park at Salcey Forest – don’t forget to buy a ticket!
Public toilets: In the car park
Map of the route : None so just follow our instructions.
So what can we tell you about this walk…well it’s pretty simple & suitable for the whole year & something all the family can do, even in a pushchair in good weather. There’s lots of opportunities for seeing wildlife too, but you need to be alert & quiet & it depends on what time of year you walk here as to what you’ll see. It’s also worth walking in the forest at different times of the day…evening is a great time to see deer & owls etc. Keep an eye out for butterflies, moths & dragonflies. It’s also renowned as a habitat of the dormouse.
Salcey Forest is a fabulous place ( although has a dodgy reputation after dark ). According to the Forestry Commission the name of The Elephant Walk is taken from the fact that during World War 2 elephants were used for logging here. Some of the oaks here are over 500 years old. The forest is an ancient royal hunting forest established by William the Conquerer.
Right enough of the history let’s move…
1. Park up & don’t forget to get a ticket – best to pay £3 as I guarantee that even if you do this walk you’ll want to do a bit more. Great cafe & information centre here too – buy a map if you want, there’s lots of walks. The cafe is also highly recommended (fab home made soup) & on a Friday night currently have live music & food.
2. Walk towards the children’s playground & spot the signpost on the right below – basically in general we’re following the purple marks.
3. Follow the path & at the post below turn left
4. Ignore the path joining from the right & follow our one as it bends right. Great sunlight through autumn trees along here
5. Eventually we come to a wider track so turn right & follow. On our left is a tree top assault course – fancy a go? Yes please!!!!
Lovely bench at this junction too…
6. Carry on along the wide track – further signs of autumn along here plus keep looking behind as there are cycle paths in the forest too.
7. When we come to this marker turn left..
Be careful walking down here as a horse track crosses
See the bench at the end – we turn right here. Carry on down this path & then it’ll bend right & continue straight – met the guy & dog below here who had heard the owls
8. Now we come to a new construction that’s part of the ‘Church Walk’ – ignore & carry straight on.
Keep straight on to a crossroads of tracks & then head straight across aiming for the picnic tables
9. The Tree Top walk is now on your left – couldn’t get many pictures of this with the lens I had, but just follow it up. Have a look at the stagnant pond on the left – that’s where the amazing dragonflies were (Sept). Also notice how the whole structure bounces when loads of people on it!!! Take time going up to appreciate how you’re amongst the trees.
10. So here we are at the top & today it was quite misty – if you look you can pick out Northampton – the best time to go up is on a crisp clear winter’s day when you can pick out the Burton Latimer Wind Farm many miles away.
11. Right..retrace your steps back down to the bottom & then turn left to continue along the ‘Elephant Walk’. There’s another bench ahead if you fancy a stop to watch the world go by…
12. Just keep straight on….more signs of nature & note the fruit fly gorging itself before the on-coming winter
13. So now it’s pretty straight forward back to the car park , but take it slowly & look around you in case you miss anything – where did this beautiful butterfly come from?
14. Well that’s about the end of our little walk in Salcey Forest but there’s so many trails etc you can try – it’s such a great place & you’ll see different things throughout the seasons.
Today we sat in a ditch waiting for an owl to start hunting along this hedge (classic owl territory) but not today – ah well that’s nature photography …it’s all about patience…next time!
So…this is a great little walk at any time of the year & there are many other paths we could have gone off
Salcey’s always great so…