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 large rectangular sign that says 'Dorothy's Wood', surrounded by new spring vegetation.
2. Turn left onto the path. Continue until you reach a clearing in the woodland. Turn right and follow the path up the hill.
A close up of a tree dedication, including plaque and a thriving young tree in a protective tree guard.
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.
A clear view of the top of an audio trail post looking downhill over the tree dedication area in Dorothy's Wood.
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.
A woodland sign saying 'Dorothy's Wood' running adjacent to a woodland pathway.
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 wooden gate in the foreground leading to an open area of new woodland next to Dorothy's Wood.
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.
A close up of the top of a gate leading on to a road.
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.
A fork in a woodland path along the Founder's Walk.
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 area of woodland surrounded by mature trees in bright fresh green hues.
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.
A woodland gate leading in to a lush, green woodland, surrounded by spring foliage.
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.
A view of Collett's pond on a sunny spring day.
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.
A view of a large rectangular sign saying 'Dorsington Wood' on the right with an open pathway through the woodland.
12. 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 statue of Felix Dennis and the Founder's Rock in Dorsington Wood.
13. 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 view of a wooden bridge across Noleham Brook, surrounded by spring foliage.
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.
A view from a wooden bridge looking towards a gate in to the Arboretum.
14. 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 road sign saying 'Dorsington' along the side of a road.
15. 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 pathway running adjacent to an open area of woodland surrounded by mature trees and spring foliage.
16. 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.
A concrete bridge over Noleham Brook, following the Founder's Walk route.
17. 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.
A wooden bridge crossing Noleham Brook, surrounded by spring foliage.
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.
An orange footpath marker on a post surrounded by grass and overhanging branch leaves.
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.
A view of the metal gate near the River Avon along the Founder's 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
A kingfisher with bright blue and orange plumage sitting on a tree branch.
End! Well done

Thank you to volunteer Nigel for contributing these wonderful woodland walk photos (all apart from point 20).