Derwent Walk Country Park and Derwenthaugh Park
The Derwent Walk Country Park is an amazing place owned and managed by Gateshead Council.
It is about the size of 146 football pitches and contains woodlands, meadows, wetlands and riverside all linked by a series of waymarked walks.
The Country Park runs from Swalwell to Rowlands Gill through the River Derwent Valley and is made up of several countryside sites joined together including The Derwent Walk and Derwenthaugh Park.
The Derwent Walk follows the route of the former Derwent Valley Railway which once carried iron ore and passengers between Consett and the River Tyne.
Derwenthaugh Park is the reclaimed site of the former Derwenthaugh Coke Works which was reclaimed for people and wildlife over 21 years ago.
The Coast to Coast Cycle Path (C2C) National Cycle Network No 14 runs through the Country Park.
There are 2 visitor centres with cafes, 2 bird hides, public toilets, 7 car parks and lots of opportunities for people to get out and about including for those with access disabilities, walkers, runners, cyclists and horse riders. For more information visit our visitor centres page.
The ancient woodlands of the Derwent Valley hold a wide variety of wildlife - carpets of springtime wood anemones and celandines, many birds including green and great spotted woodpecker, nuthatch and sparrowhawk plus the occasional glimpse of animals such as fox, badger and roe deer. The flowers found in the hay meadows support butterflies like the common blue and meadow brown. The Derwent Walk is home to blackcap and whitethroat, heard singing in summer, and bullfinches and flocks of siskins seen feeding in the winter. The River Derwent supports a wide range of wildlife including kingfisher, dipper and otter.
There are bird hides at the following locations:
Overlooks a bird feeding station. Car parking at the Thornley Woodlands Centre.
Far Pasture Ponds and Shibdon Pond
Overlook wetland areas. Far Pasture - car park beside the hide.
All hides are kept locked and keys are available for purchase from the Thornley Woodlands Centre and the Development and Enterprise Helpdesk at Gateshead Civic Centre. The hides are wheelchair accessible.
For more information visit our bird hides page.
Northern Kites Project
Between 2004 and 2006 ninety four red kites were released into the lower Derwent Valley as part of the Northern Kites Project. Kites began to breed in the north east in 2006 after an absence of 170 years. The Northern Kites Project was managed by English Nature and the RSPB in partnership with Gateshead Council, the National Trust, Northumbrian Water and the Forestry Commission with additional funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the SITA Environmental Trust.
The Friends of the Red Kites run free Health walks every Monday from 1.30pm walking approximately three miles.
The area has a long and interesting history - for more information visit our history of the Derwent Walk page.
Thornley Woodlands Visitor Centre
Monday to Friday, 10am to 3pm
Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 3.30pm
Swalwell Visitor Visitor Centre
Monday to Friday, 10am to 3pm or dusk if earlier.
Gateshead Council Countryside Team
Waste Services and Ground Maintenance,
Local Environmental Services,
Park Road, Gateshead
0191 433 7412