Bedlington Country Park Local Nature Reserve
This page contains information about visiting Bedlington Country Park
Bedlington Country Park covers approximately 57 hectares of
woodland and grassland on the north banks of River Blyth. The
Country Park can be reached by bus, which stops at Hartford Hall,
Bedlington Front Street and beside the Bank Top Public House
There are three car parks within the site, at Furnace Bridge, at
the bottom of Bedlington Bank, Attlee Park and at Humford
Pedestrian access is also available from Spring Park Road, Church
Lane (leads to Humford Mill) and Hartford Hall.The park is a
steep sloping, natural wooded valley which runs from the old
Bedlington Iron Works site at Furnace Bridge in the east, through
Attlee Park at the bottom of Bedlington Bank, beside Bedlington
Bridge and the A193 road, west towards Humford Mill and Hartford
Hall to the west.
The area has long been a popular area for informal recreation over
many decades until 1984 when the Country Park was created to
protect the unique nature of the area. In 2006 Local Nature Reserve
status was gained.
The earliest industrial use of the valley was
the quarrying of sandstone which took place in several places along
the valley side. These quarries are now filled and are hidden
and overgrown with mature trees.
The largest and most important industrial site was the Bedlington
Iron and Engine Works (1736-1867). The Works were situated at the
east end of the park, on both sides of the river at Furnace Bridge.
Weirs were built across the river so waterpower could be used
within the works. In the early 19th Century, the first mass
produced "malleable" iron rails were made here. Locomotives were
also manufactured at the Works and the first passenger train to
leave Kings Cross was hauled by a Bedlington loco, as were the
first trains in Holland and Italy.
The Works closed down in 1867, unable to complete with developing
iron towns such as Middlesbrough. In 1959 the derelict buildings
were cleared and the area was named Dene Park.
The area to the west of the site is known as Free Wood as you did
not have to pay to walk through the wood unlike the south side of
the river which was and is still known today as Ha'penny Wood,
where you would have to pay a half penny (lest than today's 1p) to
walk through the woods.
Furnace Bridge was the main highway north and south between
Bedlington and Blyth. Furnace Bridge was built about the mid to
late 18th Century.
Further upstream at the bottom of Bedlington Bank is Bedlington
Bridge. The large grass area beside the bridge is known as
Attlee Park and was named after Clement Richard Attlee, Labour
Party Leader from 1935 to 1955 and Prime Minister from 1945 to
1951. For many years the Northumberland Miners Picnic was held
Further upstream again is Humford Mill. As part of the name
suggests this was a fording point to cross the river and you can
still cross today by using the stepping stones (if the river level
is low). A water pumping station used to be located at Humford to
pump water up to a reservoir at the top end of Bedlington. After
the pumping station went out of use, the site was used as an open
air swimming pool. Today the area has a children's play and
At the west end of the Country Park stands
Hartford Hall. The Hall was first built in 1807 and later
rebuilt into a Victorian mansion in 1870's. In the 1944 the Hall
was converted into a Miners Rehabilitation Centre. In recent years
the Hall and its grounds have been redeveloped and new housing
Although there is no guarantee that you will
see any of these wild (and rather shy!) animals, if you are lucky
your visit to the park may include a slighting of the following
mammals: Red Squirrel, Rabbit, Bank Vole, Fox, and Roe deer.
On a summer evening Pipistrelle and Daubenton's bats can be seen
along the river.
On the river you can expect to see Mallard, Moorhen, Heron or the
bright blue flash of the Kingfisher. In the rest of the park you
may see or hear Blue Tit, Chiffchaff, Great Spotted Woodpecker,
Nuthatch, Treecreeper and Robin.
Plant lovers may find Red Campion, Cowslip, Primrose,
Bird's-foot-trefoil, Forget-me-not, Buttercup, Foxglove, Lesser
Celandine, Common Spotted Orchid, Northern March Orchid, Meadow
Crane's-bill and Yarrow. Most of the woodland within the western
half of the site is listed as Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland and is
of significant regional and national importance supporting a wealth
of birds, mammals and insects. There are many species of insect to
be seen, the Common Hawker Dragonfly, 7-spot Ladybirds, Wall Brown
& Meadow Brown butterflies.
For further details contact:
The County Council: 0845 600
Bedlington and Wansbeck Riverside Country Parks Information
Other country parks in the area