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Activities in the countryside

For more information on where you can go and what you can do in the Countyside don't forget to visit our lovely pop-up cafe at Thornley Woodlands Visitor Centre where our Voluneer Rangers will be happy to advise you.

Occassionally we run events - for more information see our Countryside and Wildlife events page.

Walking in Gateshead  

If you have health problems or you have had them in the past walking for health can provide advice and support. 

Visit Get Walking Gateshead for free regular organised walking activities.

Lamesley Pastures

Walk your way to health with Gateshead's Red Kites

The Friends of Red Kites are continuing with free Health walks every Monday afternoon. For more information visit the Friends of Red Kites website.

Where else can I visit and walk in Gateshead's Countryside?

Most of our countryside sites and nature reserves have free open access. Many of these sites offer a wide range of walking from easy, level surfaced paths to more challenging routes. Most of the sites have leaflets to download showing paths and access.

We, and other organisations such as Durham Wildlife Trust, owns or manages a large amount of other accessible natural greenspace sites across Gateshead. Many of these areas, while not managed as countryside sites, are still accessible to the public along paths and trails found there. For more information on the total coverage of all greenspaces in Gateshead see the Accessible Natural Greenspace Map (2.3Mb).

You can also walk on the extensive network of Public Rights of Way in the wider countryside.

We are currently working on a series of new new access maps, but these copies from the 2008 Tyne and Wear Access map guide give you an idea of what paths are available.

When walking on public paths in the wider countryside it is recommended that you take a current Ordnance Survey Map to check the most up to date routes. For Gateshead the 1:25,000 Explorer Maps for Newcastle upon Tyne (No 316) Durham (308) and Consett (307) are recommended.

Suggested walks  are also given on the Walk4Life website where you can track your own walking progress, add your own walks and rate those of others.

Cycling in Gateshead

There are fantastic opportunities for cyling in Gateshead along many of the old reclaimed waggonways.

You can pick up a copy of the Gateshead Cycling maps from the Swalwell and Thornley Woodlands Visitor Centres, or download them from the Go Smarter website.

We are running bike rides from Watergate Forest Park on a Tuesday and Friday and from Bill Quay Farm on a Thursday. There is a £1.50 charge. Bikes and helmets can be hired for £3. Visit Our Gateshead for more information.

For information on other social and organised cycle rides visit British Cycling's Lets Ride website.

For more information on the future of cycling in Gateshead, visit our Cycling Strategy webpage.

Countryside Volunteering

Countryside Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, learn new skills, find out from the experts about our amazing wildlife and work outside doing something worthwhile.  It's also a great way to improve your health and wellbeing.

Find out more about becoming a Gateshead Volunteer Countryside Ranger.

Wildlife watching

Green Woodpecker - (c) Andrew RamsayWith a wide range of differing habitats Gateshead is a fantastic place to go birdwatching. 'Bird Watching' magazine described Gateshead as having some 'outstanding birding' for an urban environment. 

See our Wildlife Guide (876Kb) and for information on Council Nature Reserves, including those with hides, visit our countryside sites page

For more information visit our wildlife webpages

If you want to get involved in helping wildlife in Gateshead why not become a Volunteer Countryside Ranger? Or, for ideas to help wildlife at home, visit our get involved page.

For general information about birding and the Birdwatchers' code visit the RSPB website.


For information on Angling and Fishing Licences see our Angling permits page.