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Other activities in Kielder Water and Forest Park

Backpacking - bothies - fishing permits - geocaching - learning - permits - volunteering

Please note, Wainhope Bothy and Backpacking sites will be closed from 25 March to 31 August 2016.

Backpacking and bothy sites

There are a number of backpacking sites and mountain bothies in the area for use by visitors who want a little more of a 'back to basics' adventure in this fantastic wilderness setting. Remote and away from it all, these sites are amazing places to stay to get up close to nature or experience the ink dark skies of the forest.

Backpacking sites are little more than open areas within the forest in which to camp, while bothies have basic beds, furniture and fireplace for heat. Holiday homes they are not. Camping without a tent is closer to the mark, though lots of things can be useful in a bothy that have no place in a tent, such as candles or a line from which to dry socks.

When going to a bothy, it is important to assume that there will be no facilities. No tap, no sink, no beds, no lights, and, even if there is a fireplace, perhaps nothing to burn.

Bothies may have a simple sleeping platform, but if busy you might find that the only place to sleep is on a stone floor. You will need to make your own arrangement for water and should be aware that there may not be a suitable supply near the bothy.

If there is no fire then on a cold night you may have trouble staying warm. The great majority of nights in Britain are on the cool side and remember that most bothies are up in the hills.

Few bothies have toilet facilities apart from a spade and the advice is that you should walk at least a couple of hundred metres from the bothy and 60 metres from the water supply before excavations and evacuations commence. If all this sounds rather rough, you are beginning to get the picture. Your comforts have to be carried in.

Please note that fires outdoors at bothy and backpacking sites is strictly prohibited. For information on the location of bothies and backpacking sites in the Kielder area, contact Linda Scott on 01434 220242 or visit the Mountain Bothies Association website.

Fishing Permits

A permit is required to fish on the reservoir and streams in the Kielder area. Permits are available for fishing on the Kielder Burn (the confluence with River North Tyne upstream), Lewisburn and River Rede at Cottonshopeburn direct from Fish Tyne website or call 01573 470612 during office hours.

Fishing on Kielder Reservoir is permitted via Northumbrian Water (contact 01434 251000).


Geocaching is an increasingly popular sport that utilises GPS technology to locate and find hidden objects. If you simply enjoy the fun and challenge of looking and finding caches you are welcome to access our land on foot without seeking specific permission from us. Please abide by the Forestry Commission byelaws and GAGB Geocachers Code of Conduct. In addition please abide by all temporary signing where forest operations such as timber harvesting or other activities such as motor sports are taking place.

Geocache Placers
If you want to place a cache on Forestry Commission land in Kielder we need to agree with you the location of the cache to ensure it does not conflict with other recreational activities, forest operations, sensitive wildlife or habitats and is safe for cache finders to look for. To do this we ask that you agree to the Forestry Commission byelaws (available on request) and GAGB Geocachers Code of Conduct. Please contact Linda Scott with your name, postal, email and phone contacts plus the grid reference of where you would like to place your geocache and the dates your geocache will be 'live'.

On receipt of your email we will check you proposals with operational, ecological and wildlife members of staff for approval. This consultation process will take 5 weeks to complete. On approval, your sites will remain 'live' for 12 months. At the end of this period you must either remove the geocache or make a further request to extend the duration that the site remains live by another year. Please note that the Forestry Commission takes no responsibility for the security of your geocache and reserves the right to remove the geocache at any time.


Kielder Castle is a fantastic venue for a school or group outing and acts as the perfect springboard for excursions and activities in the forest. The site has been awarded a CLOtC Site Provider Award. The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC) is the national voice for learning outside the classroom. This award recognises organisations which actively welcome schools onto their site/s for self-led visits and ensure that the sites and any other services provided meet the needs of schools.

The eighteenth century castle hosts a forest classroom (for hire) plus an exhibition on Kielder Forest, bike hire and cafe. Groups who intend to organise a self-led visit are still required to make contact with the ranger on site and complete a booking form. Please note, parking charges apply whether your group is self-led or led by paid leaders.


Kielder Forest is a large working forest and welcomes those members of the public who wish to visit for recreational purposes. Those who wish to use the forest estate for a specific purpose will require a permit. The Forestry Commission issues permits for many different reasons including survey work, events such as rallies, firewood permits and those users requiring vehicle access. If you wish to acquire a permit, are unsure whether your proposed activity requires a permit or for further information about the permit system please contact Kielder Castle or telephone 01434 250209.


If you want to get some fresh air and make a difference in your local forest, the Forestry Commission and partner organisations offer a number of opportunities to lend a hand with a variety of projects and events.

Volunteers are always welcome on the osprey project to help keep a watchful eye on the nest and engage the public at viewing sites. Other wildlife and conservation projects run throughout the year, managed by Northumberland Wildlife Trust based at Leaplish Waterside Park. Call 01434 251000 for further information.

If mountain biking is your ‘thing’, then the ‘Kielder Reavers’ are in the midst of helping extend and improve Kielder Water and Forest Park's vast trail network. Volunteers are always welcomed on trailbuilding days.

Last updated: 29th February 2016

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OS Grid ref: NY632936
Postcode: NE48 1ER

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Kielder Castle

01434 250209
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England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.