Bolam Lake Country Park

Bolam Lake Country Park lies about nine miles west of Morpeth and is signposted off the A696 from Belsay.

Bolam Lake Country Park lies about nine miles west of Morpeth and is signposted off the A696 from Belsay.

The beautiful Bolam Lake Country Park is open for all to enjoy and explore the lake, woodland, and visitor centre. The park is open throughout the year during daylight hours. 

Situated in the heart of rural Northumberland, Bolam Lake Country Park contains a lake, woodland, and open grassland for all to enjoy. The park is surrounded by historic landscapes and open countryside. 

There are a variety of woodland and lake view walks throughout the park, including a fully accessible path around the lakeshore. 

The park is the perfect setting for classic British wildlife - roe deer, red squirrels, and nuthatches have all been known to visit. Bolam Lake is home to swans and other waterfowl. All visitors are kindly asked to please respect the breeding season (spring and early summer). 

This planned landscape park has a long, rich history. Find out more information about its past and its wildlife in the visitor centre and as you walk round the lake. 

The park gates are open throughout the year during daylight hours.

Drone use
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.

Take a tour of Bolam lake

The history of Bolam Lake and the surrounding area is long and rich, with historical evidence dating back thousands of years. 

The beginning of the formation of the park began in 1816. It is believed that John Beresford, Lord Decies owner of the land around Bolam village, was moved to try to help the rural population gain employment by creating his own pleasure ground. His plan was to dig the ground known locally as Bolam Bog or Bolam Splashes into a picturesque lake and plant the ground around with trees for his own personal use.

Lord Decies commissioned esteemed architect John Dobson to create the lake for him. Lord Decies employed local people, paying them 1 shilling a day. The work started in 1816 taking two years to complete, and the woodland was planted in 1819.

After years of neglect, the Trustees of Bolam Estate decided to sell the lake and an area of adjoining woodland. The park has been managed as a site of public recreation and "rural character and attractiveness" by Northumberland County Council since 1972.

2016 marked the bicentennial anniversary of the beginning of the landscape park. The event was commemorated by:
  • Planting of 200 trees
  • Improvements to the lakeside path
  • New site interpretation panels, history guide and trail leaflet
  • Series of public events
  • A celebration day
  • Education programme with local schools
  • Visitor survey
  • Research into John Dobsons involvement at Bolam
More information about the Bolam@200 Project can be found below:

Evaluation report
Visitor survey
Education report
Newsletter
Events evaluation
John Dobson Panel
Bolam Interpretation Booklet
Bolam Wildlife Panel

Some memories of Bolam lake over the 20 years were also collected. Below are a few.

David Cowans
The Foster Family
200 Memories
 
​Bolam Lake Country Park lies about 9 miles west of Morpeth and is signposted off the A696 from Belsay, providing easy access from Newcastle and Gateshead.


Unfortunately, there is no direct public transport link to Bolam Lake Country Park. There is a direct bus to nearby Belsay from Newcastle.

To find out how to get to Bolam Lake Country Park by public transport, view bus company information here.


 
There are three car parks at the country park. The car parks are open during daylight hours and are locked at dusk. Each car park has disabled parking bays. The cafe and toilets are located in Boathouse Wood Car Park, to the north of the lake.

The following parking charges apply:
  • First hour - free
  • Up to two hours - £1.60
  • Over two hours - £3.00
  • An annual permit is also available for regular visitors at a cost of £35. Annual permits run from 1 July to 30 June each year. 
The park gates are open during daylight hours. Please ensure that your vehicle is removed from the car park by the closing time stated on the car park notices. 
Unfortunately, there is no direct public transport link to Bolam Lake Country Park. There is a direct bus to nearby Belsay from Newcastle.

To find out how to get to Bolam Lake Country Park by public transport, view bus company information here.
The cafe at Bolam Lake is situated next to the Boathouse Wood Car Park, to the north of the lake.

PLEASE NOTE: This Cafe can only accept  CASH Payments due to it 's remote location.
 
Toilets are located in the Boathouse Wood Car Park adjacent to the visitor centre and are open daily during daylight hours. 

Cafe opening times
 
  April-September October-March
Monday Closed Closed
Tuesday Closed Closed
Wednesday 10am - 4pm Closed
Thursday 10am - 4pm 10am - 3pm
Friday 10am - 4pm 10am - 3pm
Saturday 10am - 4pm 10am - 4pm
Sunday 10am - 4pm 10am - 4pm











The cafe is open 10-4pm 7 days a week during school holidays and on bank holidays. 
There are a variety of woodland and lakeside paths for visitors. The path circumnavigating the lake is approximately 1 mile long and is fully accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

A permanent orienteering course exists in the park. Maps and guidance notes are available from the visitor centre. 

The park is an excellent place to walk dogs. Dog walkers are kindly encouraged to keep dogs under control and be considerate of wildlife in the park and livestock in the surrounding area. Bins are provided in each car park. 

Visitors can explore the wider countryside using the extensive public rights of way network that spans from the park. 
The park is an excellent place to walk dogs. Dog walkers are kindly encouraged to keep dogs under control and be considerate of wildlife in the park and livestock in the surrounding area. Bins are provided in each car park. 

Visitors can explore the wider countryside using the extensive public rights of way network that spans from the park. 
Due to submerged hazards and deep mud, swimming is not permitted in the lake. 

Canoeing is permitted on the lake. Individuals or groups wishing to canoe must book their visit and obtain a permit from the visitor centre in advance. 
  • Due to the breeding season, canoeing is not permitted from 15 March to 15 June inclusive. 
  • Inflatable or motorised boats are not permitted.
Fishing for pike and perch is allowed but anglers must have a rod licence and obtain a permit.
 Find out more about fishing permits here. 
There is no fishing from boats or in the nature sanctuary.

There is a closed season from 15 March to 15 June inclusive.

Night fishing is not permitted.

Camping is not permitted.
For any enquiries, please use the contact details below.

Telephone: 01661 881234
Email: bolamlake@northumberland.gov.uk