Project Description

 Highway Rat image.jpg

Distance from Peaks and Pods: The Hub (car parking, toilets and café, and the start of most trails) – five miles, Tosside (entrance to the forest for mountain bikers) – two miles

Information –

Gisburn Forest is a superb destination for mountain bikers, walkers, families and people who just enjoy a trip somewhere different to eat. Facilities include a large car park, excellent toilets, information boards and leaflets, cafe with plenty of inside and outside seating, (even sofas upstairs!).

The forest is a perfect destination for mountain bikers, and more details for cyclists can be found on our Cycling tab, and at It’s perfect for riders of all abilities – you’ll be hooked! Bike hire is available.

Stretch your legs and walk on one of the many trails through Gisburn Forest, most starting from Stocks Reservoir car park, with a link trail to and from Gisburn Forest Hub. The Gisburn Forest website has details of five different walks of varying difficulty for all ages and abilities – .

If you chose to walk all round Stocks Reservoir you’ll find the tackle shop across the reservoir, which has toilets and some basic refreshments. Find out more on our Walking and Outdoors tab.

Details of a walk round Stocks Reservoir –

Eating and drinking

Whilst exploring the surroundings of Gisburn Forest take time to sample the delicious food, drinks and ice cream at the Gisburn Forest Hub Cafe. It doesn’t matter whether you’re caked in mud or not, you’ll always get a warm welcome. If you really want to relax, there’s a spacious dining area upstairs with cosy leather sofas. (We can highly recommend the coffee!)

Highway Rat Activity Trail

The ‘Highway Rat Trail’ will run until December 31st 2018 at Gisburn Forest. It replaced the previous ‘Gruffalo Spotters’ Trail’. The trail is aimed at younger children, but the whole family can enjoy completing activities and spotting characters. You can find the start at the Gisburn Forest Hub cafe and it is about 1 mile long. There’s an optional activity pack available from the Hub Cafe for £3 each. It contains an activity leaflet plus an extra activity sheet, a Highway Rat mask, stickers of the Highway Rat characters, string, a pencil and a crayon.

The Highway Rat is the latest Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler book to be brought to life on the forest trails at Gisburn Forest. Follow the panels, complete activities and interact with the forest as you head on a journey with The Highway Rat and all the characters from the story.


Dark Skies

There’s no better time to explore the Forest of Bowland’s dark skies thanks to a national initiative that has recently given Gisburn Forest ‘Dark Sky Discovery Site’ status. Dark Sky Discovery Sites are recognised by the Dark Sky Discovery Partnership as places within the UK that are both dark and easily accessible, but where it is possible to observe the spectacle of the Milky Way or the constellations, such as Orion, with the naked eye.

Astronomer Robert Ince runs events at Discovery site locations when glittering star clusters and magnificent constellations like Orion grace the sky, and when the Milky Way is overhead and meteor showers can put on an amazing show.