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Gorge of the River Allen with ornamental and ancient woodland

Take a walk on the wild side at Allen Banks and Staward Gorge, one of the largest areas of ancient woodland in Northumberland.

This extensive area of gorge and river scenery, including the 41-hectare (101-acre) Stawardpeel Site of Special Scientific Interest, has miles of waymarked walks through ornamental and ancient woods.

Largely created by Susan Davidson, Allen Banks has become a fantastic home for flora, fauna and fungi. It is also well known for its carpet of bluebells and ramsons, commonly known as wild garlic, which covers the woodland floor in spring and early summer.

Look out for the remains of a medieval pele tower and a reconstructed Victorian summer-house - and with over 70 species of birds spotted at Allen Banks as well as a wide range of wildlife you are never alone.

NB: All of the woodland area sits within the North Pennines AONB.

50 things to do before you're 11 ¾

Taking a closer look at a mushroom

Taking a closer look at a mushroom

Love being outdoors? Then '50 Things to do before you're 11 ¾' is the challenge for you!

With the help of our '50 Things' map you can complete a range of tasks by yourself and tackle the tricker ones by taking part in an organised event.

The 'wobbly' bridge news

  • Local firms BT Bell and Dodwell Brothers have been appointed to work on the bridge.
  • Hopefully work will be completed by the middle of October.
  • If you're visiting, you can still cross the River Allen via Plankey Mill.

Great British Walk

The best way to discover this woodland is by foot and this is a beautiful time of year to explore it. Head to the summerhouse for one of the best views where you can see all the fabulous seasonal colours.

Forage with us

Allen Banks provides the ideal habitat for fungi - which is why you can find so much here, but would you like to learn more from Doctor Gordon Beakes, Mycology Lecturer at Newcastle Uni?

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