The council owns and manages a number of popular countryside recreation sites and coastal sites throughout the county.
Take the turning opposite the Hadston junction. You can park by the lake or follow the road to the main car park at the visitor centre.
The beach, visitor centre (and toilets), and the children’s play areas are all a short walk from the main car park.
County Hall: 0345 600 6400
Woodhorn Colliery was established in 1894 by Ashington Coal Company and produced its first coal in 1901. The colliery started to decline in the 1960s and closed in 1981. The old colliery buildings were turned into a museum in 1989, after the country park was developed.
The QEII Country Park is an excellent example of restored industrial land, as the site was once one of the biggest colliery spoil heaps in Europe, and the adjacent North Ashington Wood was the other.
The park covers a 19-hectare site which includes a golf course and greens. The land was presented to commemorate Queen Victoria's Jubilee in 1887 by Lord Allendale for the leisure of the local people. It was set out with public walks between avenues of trees and became very popular with the people of Hexham.
It is free to park in the Tyne Green car park. You are advised not to leave any valuables in your car.
Visitors are respectfully asked to keep their cars within the outlined car parking areas and not to drive on the green itself.
The River Tyne is wide, fast and, in places, deep. Swimming in the river is not advised unless it is as part of an organised group of experienced swimmers. Throw-lines and lifebelts are located at intervals along the riverside.
Please do not try to walk along the weir, which is the barrier across the river.
All organised events must be booked with Northumberland County Council's green spaces officer to prevent clashes and to regulate the activities provided.
Telephone: 0345 600 6400
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 country park can be reached by bus, which stops at Hartford Hall, Bedlington Front Street and beside The Bank Top public house (Bedlington Station).
There are three car parks within the site, at Furnace Bridge, at the bottom of Bedlington Bank, Attlee Park, and at Humford Mill. Pedestrian access is also available from Spring Park Road, Church Lane (leads to Humford Mill) and Hartford Hall. The Humford Mill area has a small children's play area and picnic benches.
The earliest industrial use of the valley was for the quarrying of sandstone. These quarries are now filled and hidden by trees.
The largest and most important industrial site was the Bedlington iron and engine works (1736-1867). Locomotives were 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 area to the west of Furnace Bridge and north of the river is known as Free Wood as you didn’t have to pay to walk through the wood, unlike the south side of the river which is still known as Ha'penny Wood.
The large grass area beside Bedlington 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 here.
Further upstream is Humford Mill, where you can cross the river by stepping stones when the water level is low. After the pumping station went out of use, the site was used as an open air swimming pool.
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 the 1870s. In 1944 the hall was converted into a miners’ rehabilitation centre. The hall and its grounds are not part of the country park.
If you are lucky, you may spot a red squirrel, bank vole, fox or roe deer. On a summer evening, bats can also be seen.
On the river you might see mallards, moorhen, heron or the bright blue flash of the kingfisher. In the rest of the park you may see or hear a blue tit, chiffchaff, great spotted woodpecker, nuthatch or robin.
Plant lovers may find red campion, primrose, forget-me-not, foxglove, orchids, 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 national importance.
There are many species of insect to be seen: the common hawker dragonfly, seven-spot ladybirds, wall brown & meadow brown butterflies.
The park is a popular area for activities such as walking, bird watching and picnicking, as well as organised activities such as rowing and fishing. In 2003, Castle Island gained status as a Local Nature Reserve and Wansbeck Riverside Park gained Local Nature Reserve status in 2007.
There are car parks located at Blackclose Dene (just off Stakeford Bridge, A196 heading north to Ashington) and the main car park off the Wellhead Dene road (accessed from the A1068 - Sheepwash road).
You may spot a red squirrel, bank vole, fox, or roe deer. On a summer evening, bats can also be seen. On the river you might see a mallard, moorhen, heron or the bright blue flash of the kingfisher. In the rest of the park, you may see or hear a blue tit, chiffchaff, great spotted woodpecker, nuthatch or robin.
In the spring and summer, plant lovers may find red campion, primrose, forget-me-not, foxglove, orchids, meadow crane's-bill and yarrow. The area of woodland at Blackclose Dene is listed as ancient semi-natural woodland and is of significant national importance. Within the woodlands are species of scots pine, oak, elder, ash and sycamore. New woodland has been planted on the south side of the river at Stakeford.
Areas in Wansbeck Riverside Park have been used for quarrying sandstone, coal mining, as a limekiln and a blacksmith forge. One of the early river crossing points was Stakeford, a fording point only available when the tide was out. Now the Stakeford Bridge stands at this location.
In more recent times, the eroding riverbanks have been reinforced by wire gabions (wire cages filled with stone) and back filled, providing large grass areas on both banks. At the river a barrage was installed, making areas of the river available to be used for water activities.
People have come to Plessey Woods for generations to enjoy the woods and the river. Known locally as Bluebell Woods, the country park is an ideal place for a family day out with great opportunities for getting close to nature.
The park offers 100 acres of woodland, meadow and riverside to explore. The woodland is home to many birds, such as the great spotted woodpecker, nuthatch and tree creeper, as well as animals including the red squirrel, roe deer and fox. The banks of the River Blyth are also an important habitat for wildlife, such as kingfishers, dippers and otters.
Fishing is allowed on the river by permit and is controlled and administered by the Bedlington and Blagdon Angling Association. Details are available from the visitor centre.
Enjoy a scenic riverside walk or take a path deep into the woodland, learning more about the park as you go by following one of our self-guided trails.
Only organised groups such as guides and scouts are allowed to camp in the country park. Bookings should be made in advance.
The visitor centre and café is open is open from 10.30am-4pm on Saturdays, Sundays, bank holidays (apart from Christmas Day and Boxing Day) and school holidays, all year round. It's a great place to start and end your visit.
Staff are on hand at busy periods to help you make the most of your visit. An assortment of books, maps and gifts are available, as well as a cup of tea and light snack in the café.
A range of leaflets and local information is available, including three self-guided trails around the country park and maps of the orienteering course.
There is a children's play area near the visitor centre. The toilets are open from dawn to dusk every day.
Easy gradients provide access into the visitor centre, which is on the ground floor, and a disabled toilet and parking space is provided.
A wide, firm path leads from the car park through the woods and along the riverside, although steep gradients mean that access by wheelchair can be difficult. There are seats around the park.
The park gates are open to vehicles during daylight hours and parking is free of charge. You are advised not to leave any valuables in your car.
Please ensure you remove your car in the evening by the closure time stated on the signs.
If you would like to help out with practical tasks, or simply report problems or wildlife sightings, please email Mike.Jeffrey@northumberland.gov.uk
To find out more, visit the Country Trust website.
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