Founder's Walk

A longer stroll through the growing Forest, taking in new tree planting, more mature woodland and meandering brooks. Discover the Founder’s Rock and pass by the Heart of England Forest Arboretum, or step off the trail to pay it a visit.

How to get here

The start / finish point for this walk is Dorothy's Wood car park:

Address: Welford Road, Barton, B50 4NP
OS Grid Ref: SP 11632 51325
What3Words: ///mush.apart.joke

Facilities and access

The Founder's Walk starts and finishes at Dorothy's Wood car park. This car park and woodland walking route is being provided for your enjoyment and we ask that you display your Friend of the Forest parking permit or donate via the post in the car park or by text.

This walk has no stiles, steps or kissing gates but features several single person width bridges and a walk through metal gate (with fitted bottom rail to step up over). The route crosses the public highway.

Download the Founder's Walk
Download a wider area map to show links to other walking routes
4 miles
Dorothy's Wood car park
Nearest postcode:
B50 4NP
Easy going and clearly marked trail, can get muddy in winter

Begin walk

1. From the car park, cross the road into Dorothy’s Wood – a riot of blossom and colour in spring. Follow the trail through the trees until you reach the wide grass path.
Dorothy's Wood sign with trees behind and wildflowers in the foreground
2. Turn left onto the path. Continue until you reach a clearing in the woodland. Turn right and follow the path up the hill.
'Tree Dedication Area' sign in Dorothy's Wood
3. At the top of the hill catch your breath and enjoy the stunning views over the surrounding countryside. Continue on up to level ground.
View from the top of the hill in Dorothy's Wood looking back down towards the car park
4. Walk on and take the left fork, following the signposted arrows. This part of the path is lined with flowering shrubs. Follow this curved path.
Flowering shrubs at the fork in the woodland path
5. At the hedge turn left for 50m, then right and out of the wood following the post and rail fence down the field to the road. Cross the road into the woodland on the other side and turn right along the brook for about 80m to a wooden bridge.
A gate in the Forest surrounded by flowering shrubs
6. Cross the brook on the wooden bridge and enter Roman Field Wood.
Wooden bridge in the Forest
7. Carry on along the brook to just before the fallen willow tree, then follow the waymarker to the right into the younger broadleaf tree planting.
Waymarker directing along right-hand side fork in the Forest
8. Follow the winding path until you emerge into an open glade of newly planted woodland. Cross the glade diagonally and enter Robert’s Wood. Take a right onto the track, walk uphill, take a left and then bear right, following the waymarkers.
An open glade of newly planted woodland
9. Keep straight on at the crossroads, then left at the woodland edge. Go through the gate on your right, over the bridge and cross the road. Head through the gate on the right into Colletts Wood. Follow the path along the brook.
Wooden gate and sign into Colletts Wood
10. Continue on the winding footpath, with the brook on your right. You’ll reach Colletts Pond with its wild-flower meadow. Just past the pond, turn left then right through the hedge into a young wooded area.
The wooden carved bench next to Colletts Pond
11. At the hedge turn left for 50m, then right and out of the wood following the post and rail fence down the field to the road. Cross the road into the woodland on the other side.
Heart of England Forest bench and waymarker directing left through a gap in the hedge
12. Turn right along the brook for about 80m to a wooden bridge over the brook. Continue along the brook towards Dorsington Wood.
Close up of the Dorsington Wood sign in the Forest
13. Drop down left into Dorsington Wood along the central path. Carry on down through the woodland on the wide ride. At the bottom, exit Dorsington Wood and go over the footbridge. Then take a left along Willow Walk and the stream.
The Founder's Rock celebrating the life of Forest founder Felix Dennis
Felix Dennis's statue and poem
Here you can step off the Founder's Walk and visit the arboretum. Discover a fascinating collection of 600 trees and shrubs from around the world.
View of pathway with bench through autumn trees in the arboretum
14. Head through the gate at the end on to the road, turn left across the bridge, then cross the road at the Dorsington sign. Head through another gate and onto the path. Follow this path over a footbridge. Cross back over the brook.
The mature poplar trees that surround this path
A wooden footbridge crossing a brook in the Forest
15. Cross back over the brook and onto a path surrounded by mature poplar trees.
A path in the Forest surrounded by mature poplar treest
16. At the next gate, turn right over the bridge following the signs ‘Path to Crooked Barn Cottage’. Follow this path and, at the gate, turn left back over the brook and take a right to follow the brook, with it on your right.
A light wooden bridge crossing over a brook in the Forest
17. Cross over a bridge into Robert’s Wood, taking the path on your right following the brook. This leads back to the fallen willow and the footbridge into Roman Field Wood.
Bridge in the Forest crossing a brook
18. Walk up the slope. Bear left and follow the arrows through a gate and cross the road. Join the public footpath for a short stretch.
Orange footpath marker on post with green leaves in the background
19. Go through the pedestrian gate on the left into the river meadows and head to the River Avon. Walk left along the banks of the river, past Pilgrim Lock with its large weeping willow.
Also known as Shakespeare’s Avon, this picturesque river flows from Northamptonshire through Warwickshire to join the River Severn in Gloucestershire.
View of the River Avon from our riverside trail walk
20. Head downstream along the river and cross over the Noleham Brook via the pedestrian bridge. At the angling association car park follow the access track out and turn right near the road into Dorothy's Wood Car Park.
Kingfishers make their home near slow-flowing water, so keep an eye out for their unmistakable bright blue and orange plumage
Kingfisher with bright blue and orange plumage sitting on a tree branch
End! Well done