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 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.

The habitat audio trail & Forest story audio trail are available on this walk. You can download the Forest Trails app for iOS and Android. Learn more about Forest audio trails here.

Download the Founder's Walk
Founder's Walk.pdf (884.69 KB)
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
Audio trail:
The habitat audio trail & the Forest story audio trail are available on this walk

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.
A rectangular sign that says "Dorothy's Wood" in clear font, the sign is in a wintery woodland
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.
Winter shrubs at the fork in the woodland path
5. At the hedge turn left, continuing until you see the woodland sign and head right-handed through the gate opposite, into the young woodland plantation- one of our dedication areas.
A gate in the Forest surrounded by winter shrubs
6. Follow the hedgerow down the field and through the pedestrian gate to the road. Cross the road into the woodland on the other side and turn right following the brook to a wooden bridge then turn left.
Wooden bridge in the Forest
7. Keeping the wooden bridge with handrails to your left, 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 crossing footpaths, then left at the woodland edge. Go through the gate on your right onto the road. Cross the road and bear left and 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 gate into a young wooded area.
The wooden carved bench next to Colletts Pond
11. Continue straight on uphill, through the gate and cross the grass farm track through a second gate, turning right to follow the bridleway between the wire fence and hedge. Turn left through the gap in the hedge leading into Dorsington Wood.
Close up of the Dorsington Wood sign in the Forest
13. Drop down left into Dorsington Wood along the central path, passing the Founder's Rock. Continue following the waymarkers down through the woodland, exiting Dorsington Wood in the bottom left corner.
The Founder's Rock celebrating the life of Forest founder Felix Dennis
The Founder's Rock sculpture of Heart of England Forest founded Felix Dennis
14. Cross over the footbridge. At this point the trail continues left along Willow Walk following the stream, however you are opposite the Heart of England Forest Arboretum, should you want to explore and then return to this point.
A wooden footbridge crossing a brook in the Forest
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
15. Head through the gate at the end on to the road, turn left crossing the stream, then cross the road at the Dorsington sign. Head through another gate and follow this path over a footbridge cross the brook, through mature woodland.
The mature poplar trees that surround this path
A path in the Forest surrounded by mature poplar trees
16. Cross back over the brook and onto a path surrounded by mature poplar trees. Follow this fence lined footpath with the grassland meadow to your left and brook on your right.
A light wooden bridge crossing over a brook in the Forest
17. At the next gate, turn right over the concrete bridge. Follow this narrower path along the edge of farmland, passing behind Dorsington Manor. At the gate, turn left back over the brook and turn right to follow the brook, with it on your right.
Bridge in the Forest crossing a brook
18. Enjoy trail through Robert’s Wood following the brook. This leads back to the fallen willow and this time take a right turn to cross the footbridge with handrails into Roman Field Wood.
Wooden bridge with handrails across brook.
18. Walk up the slope through Roman Field Wood. Bear left and follow the arrows leading to a gate and cross the road. Join the public footpath through the metal gate 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