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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 and 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


Kittiwake Camera

Durham Wildlife Trust have installed a live 'Kittiwake Cam' on the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art.


Image credit: Durham Wildlife Trust

To see the live footage of the Kittiwakes' colony as the birds make their nests, lay and incubate their eggs, see the chicks hatch and watch them grow before they fledge their nests and return to sea in the Summer, view the Kittiwake Cam.

Summer 2015 visitor centre opening times

Thornley Woodland Centre 10am - 3pm daily weekdays and 10am - 4pm weekends.

The Cafe in the Woods at Thornley Woodlands Centre is open from 10am - 3pm.

Swalwell Visitor Centre 10am - 4pm daily.

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.


Family Fun - Dunston Saltmarsh Garden Celebration
Part of Heritage Open Day Weekend
Sunday 13 September 1 - 4pm
Join Durham Wildlife Trust and Gateshead Council for outdoor wildlife activities for all ages.
No need to book - just turn up.
Car parking on Staiths Road, Dunston
Contact -

RSPB - Go on a Bug Hunt!
Saltwell Park
Sunday 30 August 1pm - 4pm

Discover a whole new world of minibeasts and make bug houses and colourful masks.
Meet at the Avenue Bowling Pavilion - next to the children's play area.

Wildlife Walk - Migrants on the Mud
Sunday 4 October, 10 - 11.30am
From Scandinavia to the Staiths - come and meet the mud-loving bird migrants.
Meet at the Staiths Cafe Bar, No 1 Autumn Drive, Staiths Southbank, NE8 2BZ
Contact -

Dunston Saltmarsh Garden

The Saltmarsh Garden will be open in autumn 2015 when the developer completes the work.  For more information visit our Saltmarsh Garden webpage.

Saltmarsh Garden

For more information on the Staiths restoration project visit

Friends of Red Kites Health Walks

The Friends of Red Kites are continuing with free health walks every Monday afternoon. Walks start at 1.30 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.