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The Column to Liberty at Gibside, Tyne and Wear
The Column to Liberty at Gibside | © National Trust Images/Tom Carr
North East

The Liberty trail at Gibside

This route meanders around the landscape garden, created by George Bowes, inherited by his daughter Mary Eleanor and nearly destroyed by "Stoney" Robinson. See the grand historic features that play a huge part in Gibside's story and garden design. On the way, you'll discover the Walled Garden, the Orangery and Shrubbery, the Column to Liberty, and not to mention some breathtaking woodland scenery.

Total steps: 12

Total steps: 12

Start point

Market Place, Gibside. Grid ref: NZ171583.

Step 1

Starting in the Market Place, cross the road from the raised wooden walkway beside the estate map. Find the start of the trail and go straight ahead with the Walled Garden on your left and Market Place café in front of you.

Step 2

When you arrive at the entrance to the Walled Garden, head inside. Follow the path through the middle of the garden, passing apple trees and vegetable plots. At the end of the path, you'll find some large wooden gates.

Step 3

After leaving the Walled Garden, via left then carefully cross the road and head into the Shrubbery. Follow the grassy path to the Orangery ruin. After exploring it, continue straight ahead and walk down the flight of steps. (If you struggle with stairs, you can leave the shrubbery the way you entered. Follow the meadow round until the Orangery is on your left. Continue until you reach the edge of the woodland. This will miss out Step 4 of the walk.)

Step 4

At the bottom of the steps, walk across the path and up the steps on the opposite side. These will lead you into Ice House Dene. Follow the path through the woodland until you emerge at the corner of Orangery Field and the Avenue. Turn left along the road.

Step 5

Continue along the Avenue, past the woodland and grassy area on your left (Green Close Field). After passing Hall Field (the one in front of the hall ruin), follow the road around to the right.

Step 6

As you approach the end of the Avenue, glance to the left and you'll see the Column to Liberty towering above the treetops. Begun in the 1750s, the monument was commissioned by George Bowes to reflect his allegiance to the Whig movement. After viewing it, continue up the road that winds its way between historic yew trees, until you arrive at a T-junction. Turn right towards the Stables.

Step 7

At the Stables, take a break if needed. When you're ready to continue, there are 2 route options to take. Either head up the hill away from the Stables and after about 110yd (100m), just past the Woodland Bothy on your right, take the path into the woods on the left. Follow this roughly surfaced track through the woods, until it emerges beside the Octagon Pond. Or as you leave the Stables, turn left on the track. You'll pass a waymarker (don't via left) head straight up the hill.

Step 8

Keep walking until you notice the Octagon pond on your right, looking up the slope to see the historic Banqueting House, and behind you to see a lovely view across the Derwent Valley. On the road, continue heading uphill until you see an opening in the woodland. Take this dirt track on your left.

Step 9

As you wander through the woodland, notice the bird hide on your left. After passing a grassy area (Brick Kiln Field), also on the left, you'll arrive at a junction. Turn left and, after weaving through the trees for a few minutes, take another left.

Step 10

Emerge from the woods to see the Column to Liberty standing in a clearing, towering above its surroundings at a height of 194ft (59m). You can wander around the base of the Column and take in the views over the bushes along the Avenue or down the slope to the Lily Pond. When you're ready to resume the walk, return to the side of the Column with the grassy glade looking towards a field, and find the path that enters the woods to the right. Continue down through the woodland until it emerges onto a road.

Step 11

Before continuing on the trail, walk across the road to the grassy area opposite. To the right is a mound (climb up here). This was a central point in the original garden design and gives views in every direction. When you're ready, get back on the trail. Return to the road and head towards the hill. Before reaching the slope, take the path on the right, into a wooded area. This will return you to the road below the yew trees. At the road, you'll see a prominent redwood, turn right and walk back to the end of the Avenue.

Step 12

At this point, you can choose to head up the grassy slope to wander along the grassed avenue beneath the trees, or stick to the road. You'll see the hall and Green Close Field (both on your right this time), along with Park Fields and their grazing cattle on the left. When you get to the Chapel, walk down the gravel path, turn right behind the building and you'll arrive back in the Market Place.

End point

Market Place, Gibside. Grid ref: NZ171583.

Trail map

Liberty trail map at Gibside
Liberty trail map at Gibside | © Crown Copyright and database right 2023 Ordnance Survey 100023974

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near Rowlands Gill, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, NE16 6BG

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