Bolam Lake Country Park

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

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This information was last updated 5 August 2020

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Unfortunately due to COVID-19 no water parks are open and there are no plans to reopen them this summer.
Bolam Lake Country Park lies about nine miles west of Morpeth and is signposted off the A696 from Belsay.

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

The park provides the perfect environment for wildlife such as roe deer, red squirrels, and nuthatches. Bolam Lake is also home to swans and other waterfowl. All visitors are kindly asked to please respect breeding season (spring and early summer). 

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

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.


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. 

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.

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

View local bus company information here

Parking
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. 
Please click here for more information about parking permits

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.
 
The cafe at Bolam Lake is situated next to the Boathouse Wood Car Park, to the north of the lake.

Please note, Bolam lake country park cafe is currently closed until further notice.

PLEASE NOTE: This Cafe can only accept CASH payments due to it 's remote location.

Cafe opening times
 
  April-September October-March
Monday 10am - 4pm Closed
Tuesday 10am - 4pm 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 10am - 4pm, 7 days a week during school holidays and bank holidays.

Toilets are located in the Boathouse Wood Car Park adjacent to the visitor centre and are open daily during daylight hours. 
Here you will find a variety of activities that are fun to take part in during your time at Bolam Lake.

There are a variety of woodland and lakeside paths for visitors to make their way around. 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.

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.
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. Fishing permits can be purchased from Belsay Post Office.

Find out more about fishing permits here

Fishing is not permitted 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.