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Countryside and Wildlife

Lamesley Pastures
The Angel of the North from Lamesley Pastures Countryside Site

Did you know that over half of Gateshead is made up of Countryside?

The council cares for over 20 nature reserves and country parks for the benefit of people and wildlife. These wonderful places include ancient woodlands, wildflower meadows, ponds and riverbanks and most are just a bus ride away.

Our aim is to, "Conserve, enhance and promote our countryside for the benefit of people and wildlife."

There is lots to see and do in Gateshead's Countryside, you can take a
walk, watch wildlife and escape from the stresses of modern life. We produce a number of leaflets and most of these are available as downloads or are free from libraries & Visitor Centres. 

Countryside Volunteers
Gateshead Voluntary Countryside Rangers

Gateshead Voluntary Countryside Rangers.

If you want to get more involved in our work you can help us by joining 
Gateshead Voluntary Countryside Rangers. The Voluntary Rangers take part in a wide range of work such as tree planting or carrying out wildlife surveys.


Red Kites

The Northern Kites project, now ended, was one of the northeast's most high profile wildlife initiatives. The aim of the project was to return breeding red kites to the region after an absence of 170 years and to provide opportunities for people to enjoy and appreciate these spectacular birds. The project was the first in the world to re-introduce kites into a semi-urban environment in Gateshead's Derwent Valley.

The Friends of the Red Kites (FoRK) are still active promoting Red Kite and their conservation. To find out more, including information on events and how to become a Red Kites Volunteer visit the Friends of the Red Kites website|


Winter Visitor Centre Opening Times
Thornley Woodland Centre
10am - 2pm daily midweek and
10am - 4pm weekend or dusk if earlier.

Swalwell Visitor Centre are
10am - 4pm daily or dusk if earlier

Cafe at Thornley Woodlands Centre Winter Opening times
The Cafe in the Woods at Thornley Woodlands Centre|  is open from
10am to 2pm midweek and
10am to 3pm at weekends.

Under New Management

In Summer 2014 Durham Wildlife Trust took over the management of 7 sites across Gateshead.

The sites are Lamesley Pastures, Cross Lane Meadows, Chopwell Meadows, Westfield Pastures (near Ryton) Addison Woodlands and Hedgefield Quarry, Barlow Burn (owned by SITA) and Shibdon Meadow.

The sites are being taken on a 30 year lease and a member of staff from the Wildlife Trust will oversee the management of the sites and encourage community involvement.

Councillor John McElroy the Council Cabinet Member for the Environment said, 'Durham Wildlife Trust is an organisation with valuable expertise and experience in managing important wildlife sites. This is a fantastic opportunity to strengthen Gateshead's links with the Trust and to help to safeguard the future of these significant areas. I look forward to seeing the Trust add to the Council's previous work on these sites for the benefit of both communities and widlife conservation'. 

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for Durham Wildlife Trust| and working on these sites contact the Trust on 0191 584 3112


Birds on Your Doorstep - Dunston Staiths
Guided Walk
Saturday 28th February 2015, 10.30 - 12 noon
Meet outside the South Staiths Cafe Bar
1 Autumn Drive, NE8 2BZ (former Taylor Wimpey Sales Office)
FREE short guided walk by Keith Bowey
No booking required
Find out all about the fascinating birds that visit the Staiths and the surrounding riverside.
For more information contact Kari Vickers 0191 260 2133
at the Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust
For more information click on the Birds on Your Doorstep poster.
Walk your way to health with the friends of the Red Kites
The Friends of Red Kites are continuing with FREE Health walks every Monday afternoon.

Walks start at 1.30pm until 3pm (approx 3 miles). New walkers please meet at 1.20pm to register. For more information on meeting points visit the health walks page on the Friends of Red Kites website.|

Wildlife images used on the countryside pages are courtesy of Darin Smith.

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