The criss-cross of sandy tracks and views from the top of the ridge make it a pleasure to explore these woods, and the pockets of heath land.
Along the length of the ridge there are frequent outcrops of red sandstone. This rock is very soft and over century’s families created dwellings to live in, especially in the 18th century when the Hyde Iron Works in Inver opened and the workers coming in from the Black Country arrived and found a severe shortage of accommodation. Most of the rock houses are now derelict and out of bounds, but Holy Austin rock house on Kinver Edge (owned and managed by the National Trust) has been restored to its original condition and can be viewed safely by visitors.
After the Ice Age Kingsford, like the rest of Britain, was covered by natural Oak forest. In Norman and Saxon times it formed the central part of the great Royal Hunting Forest of Feckenham, equivalent to the New Forest and the Forest of Dean today. There was a Royal Hunting Lodge situated on Castle Hill to the west of the park and because the road to the lodge passed through the stream, the area became known as the Kingsford.
Gradually areas of wood were cleared for agriculture, but the soil was not very productive, so was used for grazing sheep and rabbits and lowland heath land formed, typified by gorse, heather and bracken. The grazing prevented trees growing up again, so specialised heath land flora and fauna was able to establish it-self. The purple carpet of Heather in summer attracts butterflies like Small Heath, Common Blue and Small Copper.
There is a way-marked path linking the forest with Cookley, so you can explore on foot from the area. You can join this at Debdale Bridge or Bridge Street and it takes you to the Blakeshall Lane side of the Forest Park.
The on-site circular trails at Kingsford Forest Park have been designed to give an enjoyable woodland experience to a range of participants. Starting from Kingsford Lane and Blakeshall Lane car parks, there is a choice of four circular way-marked walks; The Robin Trail (0.5km), The Coal Tit Trail (2km), The Nuthatch Trail (2.5km) and The Woodpecker Trail (3 km).
All four circular trails are well way-marked at each main junction to guide you back to your start point. In addition there are individual signposts for both car parks.
Kingsford Forest Park is a heaven for wildlife of all descriptions, particularly birds. You may not see each bird on each trail, but these birds are quite typical of the woodland and heath-land environment at Kingsford Forest Park.
TV action man Bear Grylls visited Kinver Scout Camp in October 2012 which is located just north of Kingsford Forest. Kinver’s woodland sandstone ridge offers dramatic views across surrounding counties and miles of heathland walking country.
- Accepts groups
- Disabled toilets
- Dogs accepted
- Picnic site
- Public toilets
- Smoking allowed