Dalby Forest is a forest located on the southern slopes of the North York Moors National Park in North Yorkshire, England. It is maintained by the UK Forestry Commission. Dalby Forest, along with Langdale Forest and Cropton Forest, forms part of the North Riding Forest Park, found within the North York Moors National Park.
Dalby Forest is home to many species of wildlife such as badgers, roe deer and nightjars. There are also many species of trees including oak, beech, ash, alder and hazel.
There is evidence of people living in Dalby Forest since the Bronze Age. Burial mounds, linear earthworks of unknown purpose and the remains of a flourishing rabbit warrening industry have also been found throughout the woods.
During the 1930s, unemployed men were set to work in Dalby Forest, breaking ground, building tracks and undertaking other heavy labour. The men lived in a work camp at Low Dalby, which was one of a number of so-called Instructional Centres run by the Ministry of Labour in order to 'harden' young men who had been out of work for some time. By 1938, the Ministry was operating 35 Instructional Centres across Britain with a total capacity of over 6,000 places.
By 1939, unemployment was declining in the face of impending war and the Ministry closed down its work camps. However, much of Dalby village seems to be based partly on the layout of the old Instructional Centre.
In 1982, Barry Prudom sought refuge from a police manhunt in Dalby Forest. Prudom who was wanted for several murders holed up in Malton near the police station and when cornered, he committed suicide.
Today, Dalby Forest is used for recreation as well as timber production. There are several car parks, hiking trails and mountain bike trails, a 'forest drive' throughout the forest and a Go Ape centre. A toll is charged to enter either end of the forest drive by car. There is no further charge for parking at the car parks along the route. The main visitor centre has a café and shop, which is adjacent to a selection of other businesses including a bike shop and various craft workshops. A free, weekly, timed 5k parkrun takes place at 9am every Saturday starting near The Courtyard, Low Dalby.
Mountain bike trails correspond to the standard IMBA and Forestry Commission grading scheme. Some start from the main visitor centre, others from Dixons Hollow, an area a little further along the forest drive. They include:
The trickier trails deliberately start from Dixons Hollow, a little remote from the main visitor centre, to discourage inexperienced mountain bikers.
In 2010 and 2011 the forest hosted a round of the cross-country section of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. A climb through the forest featured on the first stage of the 2015 Tour de Yorkshire.
The route of The White Rose Way, a long distance walk from Leeds to Scarborough passes through the forest.
Dalby has long been a popular venue for rallying, its forest tracks, noted for their long straights and difficult bends, for many years was one of the most daunting stages on Britain's round of the World Rally Championship, the RAC Rally. It is also part of the Forest Live music network, and hosts a number of concerts per year from artists of a great variety of genres.
The Dark-sky preserve aspect of Dalby, ensures its place as a perfect venue for local and national astronomical societies.