Walking is the most popular activity that takes place on the Forest.
You are entitled to walk anywhere on the common land at any time. The "common land" is that area managed by the Conservators and is best identified by the Forest Map and Guide which can be obtained from the Visitor Centre (priced £2.50). If you don't have a map, it is generally safe to assume that if you walk out from any Forest car-park you will remain on the Forest until you come to a boundary fence. A notable exception is the grazing enclosure fence but it is usually clear that the land on the other side of the fence is a continuation of the common land.
The Forest offers the visitor wide open spaces, far-reaching views, deep-sided rushing ghylls and tranquil wooded areas. Each season brings its delights from the scent of the heather in full bloom on a hot summer's day to the mysterious misty days of autumn and winter. Walk away from the car parks and you could easily walk for hours without seeing another person!
There are numerous paths, fire breaks and rides cross-crossing the 2500 hectares (10 square miles) of heathland and woodland for visitors to explore and enjoy.
Walking is the very best way to see the Forest and appreciate the unique heathland landscape and its wildlife. The Board of Conservators have produced a Forest wide map to help you find your way around. The map shows all of the car parks, each of the individual mapped walks (that can also be obtained from the Visitor Centre) and many points of interest.
There are a series of seven walks leaflets, each walk is roughly two miles and they can be joined together to make longer walks for the more adventurous. The terrain is mostly rough so not suitable for prams or wheelchairs and there are some steep climbs and slopes. After rain the Forest can be very muddy and slippery.