Gibside explorer trail

Walking trail

Discover the fun side of Gibside with an action-packed walk finding family adventure highlights including the Nature Playscape, den building area, the Low Ropes Course Strawberry Castle Play Area, and mini-Gibside Hall in the Discovery Room at the Stables.

A girl walking with a stick


Map route for Gibside family highlights trail


Market Place, grid ref: NZ171583


Find the start of the trail after crossing the road from the raised wooden walkway beside the estate map. Go straight ahead with the Walled Garden wall on your left and the play castle on your right.

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At the doorway to the Walled Garden, take a left turn and head through the door. The path leads you straight through the middle of the garden, passing apple trees and allotment plots. The end of the path leads to large wooden gates.

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Out of the Walled Garden turn right and head towards the Avenue and when you reach it, turn left. You have a couple of options here, you can walk along the road alongside the Avenue or you can head up the grassy slope, and walk along the Avenue itself. The road will give you a roughly surfaced path while the Avenue is grassy but flat and a nice place for kids to run away from the road. Head along the Avenue, passing on your left the ruin if the Orangery first, followed by some woodland and then Green Close (a large field with a mound in the middle of it). There is usually a sports box here so you could stop for a quick game of football or rounders before continuing on your way. Continue with Green Close on your left which leads to the ruin of the Hall. Head to the end of the Avenue and the road bears to the right.

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Turn right at the end of the Avenue and start to wind your way up the hill between the yew trees. Watch out for any vehicles on this section as it has a few bends in the road. Keep heading up the hill until you emerge out of the trees with a grassed lawn on your right in front of the Stables. At the top of the hill at the junction, turn right and follow the road towards the Stables

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After climbing that hill, you might need a little rest. As you follow the road towards the Stables, you have the option to head inside the courtyard, stop at the Coffee Shop for a drink, or use the picnic tables to enjoy your lunch. Toilets and baby change facilities are also found here if you need them. There is also a chance to see some horses, but they aren't in all the time. Once you are ready, head back outside and head up the hill away from the building. You do have a another hill to climb but there is an incentive of the Nature Playscape on your right as you head up into the woods. Keep following the road until you get to the top of the hill.

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Follow the road which heads along the top of Park Fields on your right. if you look carefully you might spot the Chapel peaking out between the trees on the Avenue but you might also spot a giant wooden bat hanging in the trees. Continue you straight ahead, even when you reach a road junction, keeping on the level. You'll pass Gibside's den building area on your right, have a go building a den if you like. As you head onwards further into West Wood, you may have noticed more wooden carved animals amongst the trees. You may have spotted an owl and a weasel. The track continues straight ahead for about half a mile before a path junction marked my a finger post. If you miss it, you'll see a sign saying Forestry Access - there is no through route, so turn around and find that junction that heads down the hill.

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Head down hill through the woods on this roughly surfaced footpath. less than 1/4 mile down the hill, there is a path on the left hand side. If you have time and are willing to try it, you could head along it to have a go at the Low Ropes Course. Once you have had a go, continue down the hill, crossing the road junction, and take a right up the hill into the woods leading you towards Strawberry Castle Play Area.

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After a short steep climb, following the path that bears left, you can see the play area ahead. Follow the path around the side of the field and enter into Strawberry Castle Play Area. Don't forget to stop for a good play!

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Once you've had you enough play, you are on your final stretch to finish. Find the path to the right of the Cafe Cabin, and follow it round along the edge of the field. There could be a range of farm animals in the fields with sheep, cows or sometimes horses making a regular appearance. The path comes out at the end of the Avenue, behind the Chapel and leads you straight ahead back to Market Place. You've finished the walk so reward yourself with ice cream of the shop or lunch and drinks in the cafe, before heading off for your next adventure.


Market Place, behind the Chapel

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Gibside explorer trail


This is a circular route of the West Woods starting and finishing at Market Place, passing by all of Gibside's play areas including Strawberry Castle. All on pushchair-accessible, roughly surfaced footpaths and tracks. There are no steps or stiles but there are some steep gradients in places along the route.

Gibside explorer trail

Contact us

Gibside explorer trail

How to get here

Gibside, near Burnopfield, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE16 6BG
By train

Metrocentre 5 miles (8km); Newcastle 8 miles (12.8km)

By road
Entrance on B6314 between Burnopfield and Rowlands Gill; follow brown signs from A1, taking exit on to A694 at north end of Metrocentre
Parking: free, 100 yards
By foot

½ mile from Rowlands Gill

By bus

Go North East 'The Red Kite' 45, 46, 47 from Newcastle (passing Newcastle railway station and Metrocentre), alight Rowlands Gill, 0.5 miles (0.8km)

By bicycle

0.5 miles (0.8km) from Derwent Walk (National Cycle Network Route 14)

Gibside explorer trail

Facilities and access

  • Wheelchair and buggy-friendly shuttle bus service to help visitors get around Gibside more easily
  • 21 easy access parking spaces for blue badge holders
  • We've two powered mobility vehicles to help you get around the estate
  • Three adventure play areas
  • Baby-changing facilities
  • We have numerous cafe's as well as a gift shop and toilets
  • We've robust wheelchairs to help those needing some help to get around the estate