With very little free time as of late, I managed to grab a couple of hours at the weekend so Claire could take me to one of the walking areas of her childhood, Hamsterley Forest.
Sandwiched between Teesdale and Weardale, this forest, run by the Forestry Commission covers 5000 acres and makes for some excellent outdoors time.
As well as the walking you can do, there is a great selection of bike tracks - reminding me of the time one of my colleagues back in Berlin took me on a track, insisting I would be fine on my old bone shaker. He went flying over the trail on his high tech bike, whilst I pushed mine most of the way - flat tyres and a broken chain after the very first section not helping much...
With Autumn in full flow it was a great time to visit the forest, with the colours on the trees setting a spectacular scene. You could return every week in Autumn and the same view would offer a different colour spectrum every time.
The paths and trails around the forest reminded me of Whinlatter forest and Dodd wood and it's good to see woodland being well managed and offering the opportunity to really get away from it all whilst being easily accessible