Bedlington Country Park covers approximately 57 hectares of woodland and grassland on the north banks of River Blyth.
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.
Launching drones from County Council land is only allowed with the consent of the Council and where a formal license agreement has been signed. The council reserves the right to refuse consent and where consent is granted will require evidence of your Civil Aviation Training Certificate and public liability insurance.
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.
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