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The wildlife and garden at Gibside

Frosty apple trees in Gibside's Walled Garden
Frosty apple trees in Gibside's Walled Garden | © National Trust Images/Tom Carr

From peaceful strolls through the Walled Garden to walks along the winding river and wildlife spotting in the ancient woodlands.

A Georgian landscape garden

Gibside is a Georgian landscape garden, an early expression of the natural movement. Although some features like the tree-lined Avenue feel formal, the design of Gibside was inspired by Stephen Switzer's work, which moved away from formality and took on a naturalistic approach.

Eighteenth century landscape gardens were influenced by the liberalism of Whig politics and the idealism of classical art. They were designed to imitate nature, to arouse emotions with ‘wow’ moments and create a sensory experience in the individual.

As you roam around Gibside you'll witness this artificial naturalness, of the use of colour, light and shape; where meandering paths of dark foliage open to reveal spectacular vista views, and where architecture is highlighted by amphitheatres which surprise the wanderer on their journey.

Yellow flowers on short green stems.
The yellow of winter aconites | © National Trust Images/Hugh Mothersole

What is growing in winter?

Landscape garden tours

In the eighteenth century it was a popular pastime for the wealthy to tour around Britain on holiday, visiting stately homes and gardens. Gibside was a popular destination and George Bowes wanted to astound his guests with a fashionable garden.

Nowadays you can visualise the grandeur of Gibside by walking in the footsteps of George Bowes. Learn about the early expression of the natural movement and why landscape garden design was fashionable, find out more.

Enjoy garden tours? After your visit to Gibside, discover Crook Hall Gardens on a garden tour every Friday 11am and 1.30pm.

Spotting winter wildlife

At Gibside you'll find tree dwelling wildlife from birds and squirrels to hundred-legged insects. Get closer to the waters edge to spot otters and amphibian pondlife or look for signs of roe deer and nocturnal beasts like badgers and bats.

Young jay in the woodland
Young jay in the woodland | © National Trust Images/Annapurna Mellor

See and hear jays squabbling over acorns on the Avenue

Like squirrels, jays collect acorns and store them away for the cold winter days. Sometimes in the early mornings you might see roe deer eating the fallen acorns on the avenue too.

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Dog on a walk

Visiting Gibside with your dog 

Gibside is a three pawprint rated place. There are 15 miles of paths for you and your dog to explore, lots of facilities and they’re even welcome inside the coffee shop.

Exploring the further reaches of Gibside

Wonders of Nature trail at Gibside 

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

DistanceMiles: 5.5 (km: 8.8)
Family visitors exploring the garden in autumn at Wallington, Northumberland

Gardens in the North East 

As the weather gets warmer, there are some quite spectacular moments in store in gardens across the North East this spring. Discover wow moments set to lift your spirits, delicate, gentle blossom and colourful borders teeming with wildlife.