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Explore Kielder Water and Forest Park
(Average user rating: 5 unrated 4.5/5)

The scale of Kielder Forest is enough to take your breath away! At 250 square miles it is England’s largest forest.

But Kielder is not just about trees. At any one time, a quarter of the area of Kielder is open space, including England’s largest area of blanket bog. Kielder is also England’s most important red squirrel reserve, home to the biggest remaining population of red squirrels in the country. A visit to Kielder will uncover many surprises such as the Minotaur Maze and Skyspace, one of England's largest mountain bike trail network and home to Northumberland's only breeding osprey population. So if it is adventure or tranquillity and wild beauty you are after then there is something for you in this awe-inspiring place.

Crowned the best tourism experience of the year

Kielder Water & Forest Park won the prestigious honour at the VisitEngland 2013 Awards for Excellence and is now officially recognised as the best tourism experience in the country.

Visit England Gold Award 2013 More information about other sites within Kielder Water Forest Park, including where to stay and where to eat, can be found at Visit Kielder.

Explore on foot

Miles of wild Northumberland await with some pretty spectacular views along the way.

Experience the Kielder 'buzz'

England's largest mountain bike trail network with miles of breathtaking singletrack awaits.

England's 'Big Country'

It doesn't get much better than trekking along miles of track and bridleway in England's last great wilderness.

Art and Architecture

The forest is a fantastic backdrop to showcase the work of some of the world's finest artists and architects.

Wild about Kielder!

Grab your binoculars and ID books! Ospreys, goshawks, buzzards, red squirrels, otters - the forest is home to many iconic species and unique habitats.

A Window on the Universe

Experience some of the darkest skies in the country and view the majesty of our galaxy at Kielder Observatory.

What's On?

Find out what's happening at Kielder over the next few months with our calendar of events.

Food and Drink

Running low on energy after all that exploration and exercise? Kielder Castle cafe (formerly the Duke's Pantry) at Kielder Castle provides the ideal refuelling stop, be it for a meal, drink or just a nibble of cake. Don't worry, we won't tell! 

What do other visitors say?

5 Stars 5 Stars

This was my first visit at Kielder with my wife, daughter and son in-law and it certainly will not be the last. What an absolute wonderful place to be, it was relaxing and there were breath taking views. The activities are great for every one. The stars at night are amazing here. I would recommend Kielder for any one that loves the outdoors in this beautiful place.

Ken Rodgers, 4/Sep/2014
5 Stars 5 Stars

Anonymous, 31/Mar/2014
5 Stars 5 Stars

Along with Durham, this is my favourite part of England. The border country is seriously underrated. I would love to live and work in Kielder Forest & the people who get to day in and day out have my envy and appreciation for what they do, they really do a fantastic job. Brilliant place that can't be fully seen in a week never mind a day, it's a regular day out for me and my family.

Steven, 28/Feb/2014
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Please tell us about your visit

Please email us at kieldercastle@forestry.gsi.gov.uk if you have an enquiry or would like a reply to your comments.

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Be a forest hero

What's Here?

  • Information
  • Picnic
  • Arts
  • Kielder is the country's largest outdoor centre for art. Numerous installations throughout the park as part of the Art and Architecture programme.
  • Boat launch
  • Osprey Ferry departs Leaplish Waterside Park and calls at jetties around Kielder Water. Call 01434 251000 for details.
  • Bus Stop
  • Outside Kielder Castle. Seasonal service, Sundays only.
  • Cafe
  • Duke's Pantry at Kielder Castle
  • Camping
  • Kielder campsite is open seasonally April to October. Call 01434 250291 for details.
  • Canoeing
  • Group bookings taken by Calvert Trust (01434 250232) and Hawkhirst Scout Camp (01434 250217) for sessions on Kielder Water.
  • Caravan Site
  • At Leaplish Waterside Park
  • Castle
  • Kielder Castle is an eighteenth century hunting lodge and has a cafe and exhibition open daily (exhibition closed until Easter 2013).
  • Mountain biking
  • Over 100 miles of mountain bike routes start from Kielder Castle.
  • Cycle wash
  • Located at bike hire centre, Kielder Castle
  • Dogs
  • There are no dog bins anywhere in the park. Please take bagged dog waste home with you or flick your dog's waste off the path and into the undergrowth.
  • Easy Access
  • Lakeside Way has many miles of wide, wheelchair assessible track.
  • Educational
  • Lakeside Way has many miles of wide, wheelchair assessible track.
  • Fishing
  • Burn fishing permits can be obtained during the fishing season from Kielder Castle.
  • Forest drive
  • A 12 mile forest drive from Kielder Castle to the A68.
  • Horse riding
  • Horse riders welcome
  • Litter bin
  • Litter bins are only provided at Kielder Castle and not in the wider forest. Please follow the Countryside Code and take your litter home with you.
  • Ancient Monuments
  • Explore the Bastle Trail at Sidwood
  • No swimming
  • Please note, swimming is strictly prohibited in Kielder Water.
  • Orienteering
  • Two junior courses start from Kielder Castle.
  • Parking (easy access)
  • Parking for Blue Badge holders is available at Kielder Castle. Please note, parking charges still apply.
  • Parking (chargeable)
  • 4 all day (covers all car parks within the park including those operated by Northumbrian Water)
    1.50 for one hour at Kielder Castle.
  • Petrol station
  • Fuel available in Kielder village at Kielder Garage. Additional filling stations at Bellingham, Newcastleton and Chollerford.
  • Play area
  • At Kielder Castle
  • Sailing
  • Contact Kielder Sailing Club (01434 240052) for details of sailing on Kielder Water.
  • Telephone
  • Public telephones are located in Kielder village (one opposite the garage and the other in Butteryhaugh). Note that mobile phone reception is poor or non-existant in most of the Kielder area.
  • Walking
  • Walking trails start from Kielder Castle, Lewisburn, Sidwood, Warksburn and Blakehopeburnhaugh.
  • Visitor centre
  • Information, exhibition about Kielder Forest and cafe located at Kielder Castle.
  • Viewpoint
  • Views of the reservoir from Elf Kirk and other spectacular panoramas from Deadwater Fell, Kielder Observatory and the Lonesome Pine MTB Trail.
  • Water sports
  • Many forms of watersport are available on Kielder Water, for general information contact Leaplish Waterside Park: 01434 251000
  • Toliets
  • Toilets, including disabled toilets and baby change facilities can be found at Kielder Castle. An outlying toilet block is located at Blakehopeburnhaugh. Northumbria Water provide toilet facilities on the Lakeside Way at Leaplish, Tower Knowe, Hawkhope and Matthews Linn.
  • Wildlife
  • Osprey and red squirrel viewing at Kielder Castle.
    Kielder Salmon Centre in Kielder village open seasonally.
    Kielder Bird of Prey Centre at Leaplish Waterside Park open daily.
More about what's here

Location

OS Grid ref: NY632934
Postcode: NE48 1ER

Get directions

Contact

Kielder Castle

01434 250209
kieldercastle@­forestry.gsi.gov.uk

Opening & Parking

Opening Times:
Car parks are open dawn to dusk daily.
Parking
4 all day (covers all car parks within the park including those operated by Northumbrian Water)
1.50 for one hour at Kielder Castle.

Useful sites

Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification certifiedenjoy England quality assured visitor attractionForest Stewardship Council certified