Salcey Forest has a lovely natural environment for dogs to sniff and explore. Scores well due to somewhere to buy refreshments and a toilet block. Parking charge isn’t that cheap but they do have an hour option. I generally like Salcey Forest on a week day. Weekends can be too busy, having to share with mountain bikes and horses which are not always a good mix with dogs. Also a muddy location in winter.
Salcey Forest is one of Northampton’s most popular green spaces and makes a great place to walk dogs. Situated about 7 miles to the south of Northampton it’s relatively quiet during the week but can be busy at weekends.
Salcey Forest – Facilities
The main car park is well signposted as you approach Salcey Forest. Prices are £1.50 to park for an hour which is usually all I need during a weekday walk. Should you want to spend longer then there is also a £4.00 charge for all day parking. Payment can be by cash or using your mobile phone. Apparently there is also some free parking where the horse boxes park but I’ve never used this before.
There is also a toilet block and the Salcey Forest cafe which sells a large range of hot and cold snacks and drinks. For the more adventurous in the family there is a high ropes course called Tree Ninja with the usual climbing, swinging and zip lines. It also has something called Shock Drop which is almost identical to one I tried in Snowdonia many years ago. If you want more information about the forest before planning your visit click here for more information.
Salcey Forest for Dog Owners
From the car park you will see a number of clearly marked walking trails. These include:
- The Elephant Walk – 3/4 mile walk that passes the Tree Top Way
- Church Path Trail – 1.5 mile walk passing ancient oak trees
- Woodpecker Trail – 6 mile walk circling the whole forest
Most of the main paths are on very good paths that are perfect for year round use. The less used narrow side paths however can be muddy in winter. Dogs being curious animals often seem to prefer these narrow side paths that go through the dense woodland. Dogs can be off lead in the whole of Salcey Forest. Due to the marker posts you shouldn’t get lost but if you have concerns maps are available at the cafe. During the week it’s relatively quiet. You will meet some other dog owners but it’s perhaps not the best place for dog socialisation. At weekends however it is much busier, perhaps too busy for some people. Certainly our Border Collie Archie is not a fan of visiting at weekends due to the large number of children running around.
Some of the paths are bridleways suitable for horses. They have not exactly been a regular sight on my previous visits but if your dog has an issue with horses you should bear this in mind. It’s also a popular location with mountain bikers but again this is probably more the case at weekends.
I should also point out that Salcey Forest was the location of a case of the deadly Alabama Rot back in 2014. It has been found in various locations in England previously including the New Forest, Surrey, Cornwall and Dorset among others. There have not been any recent cases reported here but I thought it was worth mentioning in this review.