Country parks, visitor centres & coastal sites

The council owns and manages a number of popular countryside recreation sites and coastal sites throughout the county.

The country parks of Northumberland vary greatly in their size and character. They include open coast, valley woodlands, lakes and grassland. Each site provides for the recreational needs of local communities, as well as drawing visitors from across the county and further afield.

Several of the sites offer coastal beauty spots, picnic sites and viewpoints.

The council also manages a section of the former railway line between Alston and Haltwhistle known as the South Tyne Trail.

This provides a route for walkers, riders and cyclists to enjoy some of the finest North Pennine scenery.
Large areas of Northumberland's uplands, together with areas of registered common land, have been designated as access land. This means that the public have a free right of access by foot on this land and are not required to remain on public rights of way.

The right of access includes the right to take dogs onto the land but between 1 March and 31 July, and at any time in the vicinity of livestock, dogs should be kept on a lead. The right to take a dog onto grouse moors can also be restricted throughout the year. When entering access land, take note of any signs giving information about restrictions. Access land across the county is mapped on the updated Ordnance Survey Explorer Series maps.

Look out for the marking symbols that show when you are entering or leaving access land.
As of July 2018 the Council is introducing a small charge for parking at Druridge Bay, Plessey Woods and Bolam Lake Country Parks.

This charge will be used to help the council to fund a substantial programme of enhancements at the three parks, including improvements to the visitor centres at Druridge Bay and Bolam Lake, and new children's play facilities at Druridge Bay and Plessey Woods.

The scale of the parking charges will be:
  • 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. If you would like to purchase an annual parking permit please click on the link below.

You can also pay by phone by calling 0345 600 6400, or in person at our Customer Information Centres.    

Please allow up to 10 working days following payment for your permit to arrive.'
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. 
A ballet of swans at the lake

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.
Inside the Bolam Lake Café at the visitor centreThe cafe at Bolam Lake is situated next to the Boathouse Wood Car Park, to the north of the lake. The cafe sells a range of hot and cold refreshments, including soup, sandwiches, and local homemade cakes and scones. The visitor centre also sells a wide variety of books, maps, and handmade local gifts. 

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. 
Swans on Bolam lakeThere 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. 

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.

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.

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 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
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
Druridge Bay Country Park is a large park with a lake, woodland, visitor centre and beach just off the A1068, three miles south of Amble.

The park is open throughout the year during daylight hours. 

Sand dunes at Druridge bay beach

Druridge Bay Country Park is situated on Druridge Bay itself, between Amble and Cresswell. The park comprises a large freshwater lake, woodland, and grassland and meadows. The park also contains three miles of beautiful beach and sand dunes. 
A network of paths allows you to explore all of this and discover the wildlife and landscapes of Druridge Bay. A visitor centre, cafe, toilets, play area, and car parking are all available for you to make the most of your visit to the country park. 

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

Family of four building a sandcastle

The visitor centre and cafe lies at the south-eastern edge of Ladyburn Lake, next to the main car park. Druridge Bay Country Park visitor centre
The cafe serves a variety of hot and cold meals and drinks, perfect in any weather to finish off your visit to the country park. The visitor centre also contains a historical information centre, viewing platform, and small shop selling books, maps, and gifts. The toilets and information area of the visitor centre are open daily from 9.30am to 4.30pm. 

Cafe opening times
  April - September October - March
Monday 10am - 3:30pm Closed
Tuesday 10am - 3:30pm Closed
Wednesday 10am -3:30pm 11am - 2pm
Thursday 10am - 3:30pm 11am - 2pm
Friday 10am - 3:30pm 11am - 2pm
Saturday 10am - 3:30pm 9am - 3.30pm
Sunday 10am -3:30pm 10am - 3.30pm

At popular times, the cafe and visitor centre may be open later into the afternoon. 

Next to the visitor centre is a children's play area and picnic benches - ideal for a family day out. 
A photo of Ladyburn lakeThere are many paths within the park, taking you round the lake, through woodland, and along the dunes. Many of the paths are fully accessible for visitors of all abilities. 

The Northumberland Coast Path and National Cycle Network Route 1 pass directly through the country park. There is also an established rights of way network connecting the park to the wider area. Cyclists and walkers are warmly welcomed to the visitor centre. 

Swimming is permitted in the lake for experienced open-water swimmers. Wetsuits, a buddy system, and high-visibility floats should all be used. 

Sailing, canoeing, and windsurfing is available on Ladyburn Lake from April until the end of October. Permits are required. We work in partnership with the Coquet Shorebase Trust, which offers training facilities in water sports. Click here to find out more information about the Coquet Shorebase Trust.

The current charges for water sports permits are: 
  Day       Season
Child £4 £30
Adult £6 £40
Family £12 £60

Many birds use the lake for roosting and feeding in autumn and winter, so no water sports are permitted. 

Fishing is not permitted. 

Safety Information

A weekly parkrun takes place every Saturday at 9am. For more information, please click here. Please note, the park and car parks may be busy around this time.

A series of events will take place over the course of 2019. Events will be listed here as events are organised.

If you are interested in putting on an event at the park please email

Summer Events at Druridge Bay Country Park 2018

Please note that Druridge Bay Country Park will be holding several large scale events, as a result the park will be busier than normal. On these day additional staff will be on duty to assist with parking etc. 

If you are planning to use the park on these days, please be prepared for delays and give yourself ample time to park

Sat 4th & Sun 5th August 2018
Red Row Vintage Rally.
10.30am / 6hrs each day
This annual event offers a rare chance to see some of the best kept vintage vehicle in the land. From Tractors to some of the rarest push bikes in the land.
Cost: Sat £3 Sun £4 with Children free each day
Age: All ages
Accessible for all

Sat 11th & Sun 12th August 2018
Wild Camping Weekend
Picnic area in use

Fri night 16th to Mon 19th August 2018
Coquet Fest Beer, Bands & Beach
10.00 am till 5.00pm both days
A fantastic day for all the family with wide range of music on offer, 3 stages from rock to acoustic, something for all.
Cost: TBC
Age:  all ages
Accessible for all

Monday 27th August 2018
Bank Holiday Monday

Sun Sept TBC
Druridge Skinny Dip
5.30 / 6.00
A celebrate the autumn equinox with a sunrise swim – bathing suits not required.
NESD at Druridge Bay Country Park, is here for you to take that step
Cost: TBC
Age:  Adult
Accessible for the physically fit

Sunday Oct TBC
Endurance Northumberland and Tyneside Pleasure/ Training Ride
8.00am / 10.30am
Druridge Bay Beach Pleasure/Training Ride.
Endurance Northumberland annual end of season ride on Druridge Bay.
Approx. 12 miles ride mostly on the beach but also making use of local bridleways.
Cost: TBC.
Age:  min 8 year old accompanied by adult rider.
Accessible for all.

Druridge Bay Country Park lies just off the A1068, just three miles from Amble, providing easy access from Newcastle and south-east Northumberland. 

There are three car parks in the park, the largest of which is found at the far end of the access road, adjacent to the visitor centre. 

The following car parking charges apply:
  • First hour - free (please still display a ticket)
  • 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. 

The nearby village of Hadston is well-connected by public transport. Take the MAX X20 bus from Newcastle or Alnwick; or the MAX X18 bus from Morpeth. 

To find out how to get to Druridge Bay by public transport, view bus company information here.

Druridge Bay has an extensive history of human habitation. Mesolithic remains, early Bronze Age cemetery and artefacts, and ancient peat beds have all been found along the coast. 

During the Second World War, Druridge Bay was identified as a site of potential invasion due to its ease of access from mainland Europe and its relative remoteness. Dozens of anti-tank blocks still line the beach and pill boxes can be found along the coast. 

The site was the location of an opencast coal mine, one of many found in south-east Northumberland. The mine closed in 1983 with the intention to convert it to a country park for people to enjoy and as a home for wildlife. The large pit was lined and filled to create Ladyburn Lake. Planting and management over the intervening years has lead to the country park becoming home to coniferous and deciduous woodland, wildflowers and waterfowl, and ecologically-rich sand dunes that line the coast. 

More information about the history of the area and its present wildlife can be found in the visitor centre. 
Telephone: 01670 760968

Druridge Bay Country Park, Red Row, Northumberland, NE61 5BX
Plessey Woods Country Park is located near Hartford Bridge, off the A192, mid-way between Bedlington and Cramlington and about five miles south of Morpeth.

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 is open throughout the year during daylight hours. 

Plessey woods visitor centreThe 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.

A visitor centre and cafe, toilets, children's play area and parking are all available for visitors. The park is the perfect place for a family day out to walk, play, explore, and picnic. 

Plessey woods house visitor centre closerThe visitor centre and cafe lie at the entrance of the park. It's a great place to start or finish your visit to the country park. 

The cafe provides a great place to enjoy hot or cold 
meals and drinks, perfect for a hot summer's day or frosty winter morning. A range of books, maps, local information and gifts are also available from the visitor centre shop. Find out more about the park, trails, and local area at the visitor centre.

The cafe overlooks the children's play area and picnic area - ideal for a family day out. 

Opening Times
  April-September October-March
Monday Closed Closed
Tuesday Closed Closed
Wednesday Closed Closed
Thursday 10:30am - 4pm Closed
Friday 10:30am - 4pm Closed
Saturday 10:30am - 4pm 10:30am - 4pm
Sunday 10:30am - 4pm 10:30am - 4pm

The cafe is open 10:30am - 4pm on bank holidays and 7 days a week during school holidays. 

The public toilets and disabled toilet are adjoined to the visitor centre and are open during daylight hours. 
Trees at Plessey WoodsEnjoy a scenic riverside walk or take a path deep into the woodland, learning more about the park as you follow our many trails. A self-guided orienteering route and maps are also available from the visitor centre. Whilst exploring the park, look out for the many woodland sculptures and hidden treasures. 

A full circuit of the park is about 1½ miles (2.5km) and includes some steep steps and grassy paths. Fully-accessible surfaced paths run from the visitor centre through the woods to the river, though steep gradients along the riverside are difficult for wheelchairs. Seats and picnic benches can be found throughout the park. There is no public vehicle access to the riverside.

There is an extensive public rights of way network connecting the park to the wider countryside and Bedlington Country Park, also managed by the County Council.

Horse riders and cyclists can use the bridleways within the park. Off-trail riding is not allowed.
Cows standing in a field
The park is a fantastic place to walk dogs - please be considerate of other park users, wildlife and nearby livestock. Bins are provided outside the visitor centre. 

Educational visits for schools and groups are very popular and can be arranged with a member of staff. For large groups or requirement of special arrangements, please contact a member of staff in advance. Organised groups, such as Scouts and Guides, can overnight camp in the park which can be booked in advance with staff. Camping is otherwise not permitted.

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.

The park lies between Bedlington and Cramlington, five miles south of Morpeth. It is situated near the A1 and A189, providing easy access from Newcastle and south-east Northumberland. 

Parking is available at the main entrance by the visitor centre. 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 to vehicles during daylight hours. Please ensure that your vehicle is removed from the car park by the closing time stated on the car park notices. 

Public Transport
Hartford Bridge/Hall and Shields Road Bus Stop, a short distance from the park, are the closest bus stops to the park. There are direct buses to these stops from Morpeth and Newcastle. 

To find out how to get there by public transport, view bus company information here.

The settlement and woods take their name from the Plessis - later Plessey - family and estate that was situated in the area as far back as the 13th century. 

Plessey Woods themselves are semi-ancient woodland and provide a fantastic place for wildlife. The disused quarry on the site supplied stone for the local area and nearby Hartford Hall - and it is claimed even for the Houses of Parliament.  

Information about the park and the local area can be found in the visitor centre. 
Plessey Woods Country Park
Shields Road
Plessey, Nr Bedlington
NE22 6HZ
Located between Blyth and the county boundary at Seaton Sluice, the bays, links and foreshore offer something for everyone who wants to visit the beautiful Northumberland coast.

With 5km of golden sand, dunes and rock pools to explore, there’s a chance to spot some spectacular wildlife along the coastline.
The dune system between Blyth and Seaton Sluice is a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) and is recognised nationally for its diverse plant species. The dunes attract many migrant birds both in spring and autumn and have good communities of reptiles and invertebrates that are regionally and nationally important.

Access through the dunes is via a well surfaced track, which is suitable for wheelchairs and buggies. Horses are not allowed on the track or dune system but there is horse access across the track to the beach at The Ranch car park and at Fountain Head.

No motorised vehicles are allowed on the dunes or the beach and no camping or overnight parking is allowed on the beach, dunes or any of the links car parks.

The dune system is fragile and visitors are asked to respect the wildlife and especially the dune faces. Damage to the vegetation and the dune face can quickly escalate and threaten the integrity of the dunes, which are our first line of sea defence.

Five car parks serve the area: two at Seaton Sluice, two at Blyth and one on the coast road in between. The three larger car parks all have public toilet facilities.

No fires or barbecues are allowed on the dunes. Barbecues may be used on the beach with the coastal warden’s permission and there is a permit system in place for organised barbecues. Contact the coastal warden for more information.
Visits from social and community groups are welcome, but staff time is not normally available to guide visits without prior special arrangements. If you intend to bring a large group, you may require arranged use of facilities, so please phone first.

Many educational visits are made to the area each year. A range of activities are available for many age groups. A small charge is made for accompanied school visits.
Blyth beach hutsThe Blyth Personal Watercraft (Jet Ski) club operates the launch facility for members at the north end of the promenade. Surfing and sea kayaking are popular in the bay, with the Blyth Kayak Club based in the old engine house part of the wartime structures. Kite surfers are encouraged to launch from the beach behind The Ranch car park, away from the main bathing areas and powered craft. Boats may be launched from Seaton Sluice Harbour with a permit. The harbour has some mooring facilities, although it is restricted by its tidal nature.
Blyth Battery Museum is a scheduled ancient monument consisting of the most complete set of First World War coastal defence structures left on the coast of Great Britain. There is a tea room and museum and several of the buildings are open to the public on weekends during the summer. The museum is open from Easter to the end of October, weekends and occasional days. Entry is free. Group and school visits can be booked with Blyth Battery volunteers on the Blyth Battery website or by calling 07881462284.

The Watch House Museum at Seaton Sluice is on Rocky Island, accessible via a footbridge in front of the King’s Arms. It is the old Seaton Sluice volunteer lifesaving brigade’s watch house and tells the story of their daring rescues on the local coast.

Both museums are run by volunteer groups and have seasonal opening hours with organised walks and events during the summer.
The three toilet blocks on the links all have disabled toilet facilities, accessed with a Radar key. The surfaced dunes track and promenade are accessible to wheelchair users and there are numerous seats along the walkways.

The Blyth lifeguard and swimming club operate a beach lifeguard service during the summer from the Dave Stevens Centre, a purpose built facility at Blyth south beach. The club cover the whole bay and provide lifeguards at weekends only. There are lifebuoys and other public rescue equipment along the coast.

Wear something on your feet when you go into the sea and wear sun block or cover up.

Don’t leave your litter behind. Follow the seaside code:
  • leave only footprints
  • take only pictures
  • keep only memories
  • waste nothing but time
Contact the coastal warden:

Tel: 01670 797323
Mobile: 07932440838

The warden is based in Fort House Education Resource Centre, South Beach, Blyth, NE24 3PL.

Postal address:
Countryside Access and Recreation Team
Northumberland County Council
County Hall
NE61 2EF
Bedlington Country Park covers approximately 57 hectares of woodland and grassland on the north banks of River Blyth.

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.

Bedlington woods showing wild garlicThe 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.

Located east of Ashington, Newbiggin Bay is a beautiful sandy coastal site nestled into a 1.5km bay.

Shops and cafés can be found close by in the village and the promenade offers a sheltered walk with views along the bay.
The beach within Newbiggin Bay has had a sand recharge as it was discovered that prevailing currents were removing sand from the bay. There is a seasonal beach ban on part of the bay for dogs, with signage on site.

Each end of the bay provides a chance for rock pooling and, occasionally, seals can be spotted on the rocks.

On-street parking can be found on the village main street, as well as limited off street parking. The main car park is at Church Point, with the public toilets situated beside the entrance to Newbiggin Golf Club near the car park entrance.

Remember to follow the seaside code:
  • leave only footprints
  • take only photos
  • keep only memories
  • waste nothing but time
Please use the litter bins provided.
The offshore break water provides a sheltered area with excellent water quality for bathers and water sports enthusiasts to enjoy.

There is a community of professional fishermen operating out of the bay who can be seen regularly launching and recovering their boats from the sea.

The Newbiggin Small Boat Club and the Sandridge Fisherman’s Group also launch through the bay, as does the Newbiggin Sailing Club, who regularly hold club sailing events in the bay. There is a launch registration scheme in place for the bay and all boats and vehicles which access the bay need to be registered. Details can be found on the Newbiggin Bay craft and vehicle permit site.

The sheltered southern end of the bay is ideal for sea kayak beginners and is outside of the powered craft corridor.
To the very north of the bay at Church Point stands the Newbiggin Maritime Centre with its museum and café/restaurant. The museum is run by a community-based trust and is open daily all year round. The nearby St Bartholomew’s Church is one of the oldest churches on the Northumberland coast.

Newbiggin Golf Club is situated on Newbiggin moor, and non-members are welcome. Newbiggin Sports and Community Centre has a range of facilities for everyone to enjoy and is only a five minute walk from the village main street.
The promenade is accessible to disabled visitors, with flat paths and no gradients. The northern end allows for interaction with people on the beach for wheelchair users and there is access to the sand via the lifeboat ramp.

There is public rescue equipment and safety signage on the promenade. The bay has two access points for vehicles and boats. Please be cautious when fishermen or lifeboat crews are launching and recovering their craft. Remember that the vehicles need right of way on the ramps.

Tractors and horses with carts are often on the beach to remove sea coal. Please be aware of them and allow for their safe passage.
For water sports, boat launch and general enquiries, please contact Arthur Cranson:

Tel: 01670 797323 or 07932440838
QE II Country Park is located on the north edge of Ashington, between the A197 and the A189, with the main car park off the A189.

It is popular for walking, dog walking, picnics and jogging, as well as activities on the lake such as windsurfing, canoeing and coarse fishing. 

The main feature of the park is the 16-hectare lake surrounded by developing woodland and open grassland.
The site can be accessed by footpath or by the Coast and Castles Cycle route out of Ashington, or from Woodhorn Colliery Museum. Tarmac paths and cut grass paths on the eastern side of the park allow good access around the lake. A small narrow gauge railway runs from the car park, through the country park to Woodhorn, which is operated by volunteers in the summer months.

The diverse and developing habitats around the lake now host a variety of birds, plants and mammals, and the lake itself is host to both resident and migratory birds.

For information about fishing permits and lake use permits, please visit the Wansbeck and Cramlington Angling Club website. Accessible fishing platforms by the lake make the site suitable for fishing for the less able, including wheelchair users.

The lake is used during the spring and summer for organised open water swimming training and events. Swimming by individuals is not encouraged.

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.

Tyne Green is located on the south bank of the River Tyne, just off the A69 on the road into Hexham.

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.

Tyne Green was designated a country park in 1982 and the facilities have expanded over the years to include a golf course and club house, play area and water sports centre. The park and river provides wildlife habitats to many species, and the River Tyne is a great place for wintering birds like goosander, goldeneye and teal.

There is no visitor centre but there are public toilets on site. Café Enna at Tynedale Golf Club is open to the public for food and refreshments.

There is a recently redesigned children's play area in the central part of the park, which is managed and owned by Hexham Town Council.

There are several sporting clubs based at Tyne Green: For more information on their activities, please visit their websites. In addition to these clubs, Tyne Tour is held here each November.
Fishing permits are available. Find out more about fishing permits here.
No overnight camping is allowed, except in specific circumstances as part of a larger organised event, such as the regatta or Tyne Tour canoe event.

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

Tyne Riverside Country Park follows the River Tyne for four miles through 200 acres of meadows, chalk grassland, woodland and river bank - all within easy reach of the urban areas of Northumberland and a short distance from Newcastle and Gateshead.

A kayak group having fun on the river TyneTyne Riverside Country Park Centre is located at Low Prudhoe on the banks of the river Tyne near Prudhoe railway station. The park centre provides public toilets.Facilities include picnic benches, a young children’s play area and canoe launch area.

Explore the park on foot or bicycle along Hadrian’s Cycleway or Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail, or by following one of the many other paths and trails through the park. Take part in other activities including fishing, horse riding, canoeing, orienteering, wildlife watching and exploring the remains of our industrial heritage. Or perhaps you’d prefer to relax by the river and enjoy the view.

The fishing rights along this stretch of the river are private. Further details can be obtained from the Northumbrian Anglers' Federation.
The park is a great place for walking dogs, but walkers are encouraged to keep dogs under control and to be considerate towards other park users by clearing away dog faeces into the bins provided. If walking dogs near the park boundary or on the rights of way outside the park, extra care should be taken to keep dogs under close control to avoid worrying farm stock.
The Spetchells are chalk waste heaps from a chemical factory that operated on a nearby site until the mid-1960s. The name comes from old maps that refer to this area of land as the ‘spetchells’.

Although the heaps are not natural, they now provide Northumberland's largest area of chalk grassland habitat. The wide range of flowers attracts many species of common and, occasionally, rare butterflies.
Hagg Bank Bridge, Wylam on the river TyneHagg Bank Bridge near Wylam was built in 1876. It was the first railway bridge to cross the Tyne in a single span, with a deck that was supported by a wrought iron arch. The last train crossed the bridge in 1968.

Hagg Bank Bridge is now part of the country park and was restored to its original colours in 1997, with financial help from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
  • Kayak sport racingSwimming in the river is not advisable as the water is cold and the flow can change rapidly.
  • Always wear British Standard buoyancy aids or life jackets when boating.
  • Note the location of the lifebelt before going on the water.
  • Keep away from the river when it is in flood.
The country park is a short walk from Wylam and Prudhoe train stations and Tyne Valley bus routes.

To find out how to get there by public transport, view bus company information here.

County Hall: 0345 600 6400

Wansbeck Riverside Park covers around 112 hectares of woodland, grassland and the river and is located to the south of Ashington, between the A1068 and A189.

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.

Fishing permits can be obtained for Wansbeck Riverside Park. Find out more about fishing permits here. 
For further information or to report any incidents please contact the county council on 0345 600 6400.
The Environment Agency collects water quality data each year from May to September, to ensure that designated bathing water sites on the coast and inland are safe and clean for swimming and other activities.

Schools and other groups may use the council’s countryside sites as a natural environment for educational activities.

For information about opportunities and resources, please contact the sites directly at the phone numbers given below: An educational activities pack has been produced for Choppington Community Woods Local Nature Reserve. The pack contains ideas and work sheets for school or youth groups who want to visit the site. The activities can also be undertaken at other nearby countryside sites.

The pack can be downloaded by clicking on the links below:
There are opportunities to volunteer at our country parks, local nature reserves and other countryside sites.

If you would like to help out with practical tasks, or simply report problems or wildlife sightings, please email

The Country Trust works to bridge the gap between urban and rural communities by showing the working countryside to children, parents and teachers from inner-city areas.

To find out more, visit the Country Trust website.


Fishing permits are available from Northumberland County Council to enable the general public to fish at certain parks.

A Rod Licence must be obtained from the Environment Agency prior to obtaining permission to fish

For fishing at Tyne Green Country Park, Hexham; Wansbeck Riverside Park, Ashington and Bolam Lake Country Park, please contact customer services here to obtain a fishing permit. You can pay in person or by telephone and you'll be emailed your permit.
Terms and conditions that apply to use of fisheries within our parks are here
Fishing Permit Prices 2018
Day Pass Week Pass Year Pass
Adult Over 65 & 13-16 yrs Adult Over 65 & 13-16 yrs Adult Over 65 & 13-16 yrs
Tyne Green Country Park
Coarse and brown trout £8.90 £4.75 £15.57 £8.30 £23.75 £12.66
Migratory and salmon, coarse and brown trout £29.21 £15.59 £51.12 £27.28 £77.95 £41.60
Wansbeck Riverside
Coarse and brown trout £8.90 £4.75 £15.57 £8.30 £23.75 £12.66
Migratory and salmon, coarse and brown trout £29.21 £15.59 £51.12 £27.28 £77.95 £41.60
Wansbeck and Cramlington Angling Club - Coarse         £11.95 £11.95
Bolam Lake Country Park Coarse Fishing £8.90 £4.75 £15.57 £8.30 £23.75 £12.66
Tyne Green and Wansbeck (2 site) Corase and brown trout £15.57 £8.31 £27.24 £14.52 £41.56 £22.15
Tyne Green, Wansbeck and Bolam (3 site)
Coarse only     £35.03 £18.68 £53.44 £28.49
Migratory and salmon, coarse and brown trout     £89.46 £47.74 £136.41 £83.20