Gibside Wonders of Nature Trail

Walking trail

Explore woodlands, meadows, wetlands and along the riverside. You'll see nature at work and, if you are lucky, spot some wildlife at play.

Gibside's Avenue in autumn



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. Follow the road with the Avenue on your right and a large field and Orangery ruin on your left. Continue past this field which becomes a section of woodland. Just after the wood ends, another field appears, turn left at this point, following the edge of the woodland and into the wood itself.

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As you enter the woodland, carefully walk down the steps and follow the steep path that takes you to the bottom of the dene. The path bends to the left where it emerges onto a grassy clearing (the site of the historic bath house (only stone foundations can be seen today), and turns back on itself to take you alongside the river.

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Continue along the path that slowly starts to descend down to the riverside. It's a roughly surfaced path that has some steeper slopes than others. The trail follows the river, so ignore any paths that join the trail from the right. There are several benches to stop and rest at along this stretch, so have seat and see what wildlife shows up at the river and in the meadow (known as Lady Haugh) behind you. The path eventually turns away from the river, cuts across the end of the meadow and heads back up into the woodland where it joins one of the forestry roads. Take a right at this point.

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Follow the track as it starts to head uphill through the woods. Pass the steep trail to your left that is signed for the Column, and continue up to the Lily Pond, with the Column to Liberty towering above you. The track emerges from the woodland with a clearing and a dip in the landscape on your right (the Hollow Walk). If you look across the Hollow Walk, you can see the Avenue leading along to the Chapel. Behind you is a small path leading from the track back into the woods, signed for the Column. Head up this path.

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The path winds its way through the trees, eventually emerging in a clearing, home to the Column to Liberty. Take a moment to admire this grand tower and its surrounding glades, before continuing back on the trail, with the Column to your left, reenter the woodland and at the junction, turn right. The path weaves through more conifer woodland, and soon with a field on your right (Brick Kiln Field). At the next junction, turn left and you will begin to see some of the slopes that have been felled of their trees. The trail gets quite steep at this point as it drops downhill, so take your time, the it levels out to pass the coal mine entrance on your right. Continue straight ahead and when the path forks, take the right hand path that starts to head back uphill and joins another of the forestry roads.

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Turn right and begin the walk up to the top of Snipes Dene. The track gets a bit steeper in places, but heads upwards for just over half a mile, with established woodland on your left, and cleared areas on your left. There are several benches on this stretch if you need to take a break. Keep looking across the cleared areas to spot deer or fox in the undergrowth. At the top of the hill, the track bends round to the right and heads back down along the other side of Snipes Dene. Continue on this track, passing a track junction on your left, and see your first glimpse of the Octagon Pond at the bottom of the hill in front of you.

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The track bends to the right, passing the Octagon Pond on your left, however, before continuing to follow the waymarked trail, you can take the path on your right, taking you back into the woodland, and visit the bird hide which is just along the path on your left. You can also get a better look at the Octagon Pond and head onto the grass on your left. once you are ready to continue, return to the forestry track, and head down, ignoring the right hand track going down the hill, but walk straight along, passing straight over the t-junction and seeing the stables on your right.

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Continue to follow the track towards the Stables. Take this opportunity to stop at the Stables to grab a drink from the Carriage House Coffee Shop or use the toilet facilities. There's rooms to learn about Gibside's history and wildlife too. To continue on the trail head straight up the hill from the Stables back into the woodland, passing the Woodland Bothy on your right and just further up on your left, spot the site of the historic sawmill. Continue up the hill, passing a yurt on your left.

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Head straight up the hill and see Park Fields through the trees on your right. See if you can spot the large wooden bat that hangs from the trees over the track at the top of the hill. Keep going, passing across the t-junction, staying on the level. Just past this junction is the den building area. Continue straight on and follow the track as it winds through the woods.

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Follow the track until you reach a finger post that directs you down a path into the woods (signposted to the Low Ropes Course). Continue down the path, stopping at the Low Ropes Course if you feel like a quick challenge, reaching the bottom of West Wood. Cross over the bottom of the t-junction, and take a path on your right heading up the slope and signed for Strawberry Castle Play Area. The path leads you around the edge of the fields, and passes into the play area.


Walk through the play area, and continue around to the right with the woods on your left and fields on your right. The path winds along the edge of the wood and brings you out at the end of the Avenue, behind the Chapel and back to Market Place. Treat yourself to a refreshing drink or snack at the cafe or pop into the shop and see what wildlife books or animal themed gifts are in stock to remind you of some of the wildlife you have seen.

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Market Place, behind the Chapel

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Gibside Wonders of Nature Trail


This is a circular route that starts and finishes in Market  Place.  It covers much of the boundary of the estate along roughly surfaced paths.  There are some steps (on the path down to the riverside) and some steep slopes in places.  The route extends from the riverside to the top of the estate (climbing ??? in elevation)

Gibside Wonders of Nature Trail

Contact us

Telephone: 01207 541820
Gibside Wonders of Nature 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 ferry

Not available

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 underground

Not available

By bicycle

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

Gibside Wonders of Nature Trail

Facilities and access

  • Wheelchair and buggy friendly