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Explore Chopwell Woodland Park
(Average user rating: 3 unrated 2.5/5)

Colour rating today: still green still green

Chopwell Wood really is a wood for everyone. This 360-hectare mixed woodland is a real gem, set right on the fringe of Gateshead. Miles of paths allow fantastic access, walking and cycling into the heart of this fascinating woodland. 

More recently Chopwell Wood has been recognised as a PAWS (Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site). This means it was an ancient forest but in more recent times it has been planted with modern timber crops. Most of the ancient trees, predominantly oak, were felled in the 17th and 18th century for ship and bridge building. The remnants of these still survive on the steep crags above the river Derwent. Today, areas of conifer are being removed to help the wood return one day to it's original cover of native trees.

You can now download the Chopwell walking leaflet.

You can walk for miles!

No two parts of this varied woodland are the same and spectacular views of the River Derwent and North Pennines await discovery.

Go for a spin on your bike

Just the right size for an evening ride or a quick warm-up for some of the region's other mountain bike hot spots at Hamsterley Forest and Kielder Water and Forest Park.

Horse riding

Horse riders are welcome in the forest.

Upcoming events

Find out what's on in Chopwell Wood.

Friends of Chopwell Wood

The Friends are a local charity that help look after the wood, raising money and lending practical support to complete recreation, conservation and educational projects. The group celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2012. To find out more about the work they do, events that are on and how you can help the group visit their website or call Liz Searle on 01207 542495.

What do other visitors say?

4 Stars 4 Stars

Brilliant woods great for long walks, however why is there no dog poo bins?? There are signs up saying about picking up your dogs poo but there are no bins, I admit I don't pick it o for the simple fact I'm not going to leave plastic bags around the forest floor or take the bags home in my car. I'm tempted to take this further if there are no bins put in even just at the car park. As I feel this lets the forest down, please please put in some bins so I can pick it up and dispose of it in the proper way. Thank you!

Anonymous, 31/Aug/2015

Sorry, but the responsibility for disposal of dog waste lies with the owner. At Chopwell there are no bins as it is a free to visit woodland site and should be treated as a countryside site and not a town park - the Countryside Code applies. This means dog waste around the car park and on trails and grass verges should be bagged and taken home for disposal. In the wider forest, we tolerate a 'stick and flick' approach where waste can be flicked into the undergrowth (such as nettle or bramble) where feet are unlikely to tread. If all dog owners took this approach then there would not be an issue of dog waste in the forest.

Forestry Commission Response
1 Star 1 Star

Bike ride route at chopwell woods:

four wooden pillars approx. 1m high have been placed at the end of a technical slope at the powerline route as you go from main car park. I think they are placed in order to slow people down at the end of a route because it runs onto a walkway with a ditch at the opposite end. However I feel that no consideration has been allocated for use with bikes that have wide handle bars (normal for downhill bikes 800mm wide) and the wooden pillars have limited visibility (dark brown which blends in with forest). I think it needs to be re-assessed as I feel they are dangerous as they are. Making them more visible would help, and allowing for a moving bike of wide handle bars would make it safe.

Duncan Mills, 13/Aug/2015

Thank you for your email. The rangers will look at ways of making the chicane more visible and allowing better passage for bikes without compromising the aim of the chicane to slow cyclists down before they meet the forest road.

Forestry Commission Response

the Woods are lovely - but why, o why do dog owners carefully pick up their dog's poo but then leave it in little plastic bags, either suspended from trees or just dropped by the path side? The whole area seemed to be festooned with brightly coloured plastic bags! What are people thinking of? With two small grand-daughters, I absolutely hate dog poo but it would probably be better to leave it, at least it will degrade and dissipate over time, unlike a bright blue plastic bag.

Brenda, 8/Apr/2015
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Last updated: 10/05/2015

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What's Here?

  • Arts
  • Horse riding
  • Information
  • Picnic
  • Running
  • Viewpoint
  • Cycling
  • Two blue grade trails and one red grade (the 'Powerline') all start in the main car park.
  • Dogs
  • There are no dog bins provided in the wood. Please take all bagged dog waste home with you or flick unbagged waste off the paths and into the undergrowth. Don't give your dog a bad name!
  • Easy Access
  • A short easy-going trail loops round the woodland to the south of the car park. Many forest roads are also accessible by wheelchair with assistance.
  • Educational
  • A short easy-going trail loops round the woodland to the south of the car park. Many forest roads are also accessible by wheelchair with assistance.
  • Prehistoric
  • A number of sites relating to the industrial heritage of the area are located within the wood, including colliery works and old railway line.
  • Orienteering
  • A permanent orienteering course aimed at school groups and beginners with accompanying map is available. Maps can be ordered from Liz Searle, Friends of Chopwell Wood, by calling 01207 542495.
  • Parking
  • Parking is in the main car park, accessed by single track road from Hookergate, High Spen.
  • Walking
  • Four waymarked walking trails start from the main car park
More about what's here


Map showing the local area
OS Grid ref: NZ137586
Postcode: NE39 1LT

Get directions


Hamsterley Forest

01388 488312

Opening & Parking

Parking is in the main car park, accessed by single track road from Hookergate, High Spen.

Useful sites

Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification certifiedForest Stewardship Council certified