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Explore Chopwell Woodland Park
(Average user rating: 5 unrated 4.2/5)

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?

5 Stars 5 Stars

WOW. Im amazed at some of the negative comments on here ~ I had family living in rowlands gill and grew up visiting exploring and playing in thornley millers and chopwell woods ~ I still visit very regularly and am really hoping I can move myself to chopwell or highfield mainly for the BEAUTIFUL woods. Im very shocked at people moaning about trails and ponds a natural wood forms itself and has muddy trails and you get lost in them. Thats all part of the fun and being in a surrounding as close to the natural world as can be. Im really shocked their werent more positive comments regarding this beautiful woodland and really shocked people havent seen wildlife as over the years I have witnessed everything from deer to kites to foxes to what I think was a buzzard. I would advise anyone to visit this wonderful woodland area and to really apprechiate it for what it is ~ natural beauty and the restoration of what was an ancient forest. Well I have nothing but positive comments I think it is one of the most beautiful places in the north east and really hope to live as close as possible to it as I can. I saw a lot of complaints about horse riders and dog walking groups. I think both walkers and riders should be allowed to enjoy the woods so it gets muddy wear wellies mud is part of the natural world! It seems alot of people want the countryside or a forest without actually wanting the countryside or a forest. Be a big kid embrace natural and splash in the mud. I did read some comments regarding a dog walking group and a lady ~ I think its important for everyone to be understanding and hear both sides the lady Maria may not be confident or used to large groups of dogs or have had a bad experience in the past and also didnt know the dogs personally so a large group of stranger dogs approaching her very small dog could of been very frightening. On the other side you have confirmed you are a dog walking group and your dogs were beagles who are very simular to fox hounds in appearance sometimes and there are some very tragic events where fox hounds have mistook dogs for foxes and this could also of scared the lady. I think it is important for all dog walkers to be respectful and to recall their dog or ask before they allow their dogs to approach a dog they dont know. I have a rescue dog who is very nervous of strange dogs due to a bad experience prior to rescue for this reason I keep him on his lead at all times in public spaces and he will when it arrives be wearing his fluro I need space vest and lead to let other walkers know from a distance I need space and alert them of this as many dogs for many reasons nerves anxiety recovering from illness or surgery need space and not to approached by other dogs and a group of dogs running to play couldve frightened a dog like mine. I dont know anyone or either side so I think on both sides just instead of arguing try to be understanding of why Maria may of been afraid and vice versa for Maria to realise she may of mistook the dogs breeds or been over alarmed. But I would say for dog walking groups nomatter how friendly their dogs are it would be polite and considerate to recall your dogs to you when you see other walkers as many rescue mums do have dogs who need space and whose dog may be frightened or alarmed of being approached by a group of dogs however friendly so that would be a considerate gesture for the future. As my big soft lump is scared of friendly dogs play bouncing him and it would cause him anxiety so I would hope if we were out walking people would recall their dogs before they approach and ask before allowing their dogs to bounce over to play or sniff. Its just very sad that there are so many negative comments on here as it is really such a beautiful wood with so much wildlife and natural beauty and if you walk far enough into the woods you cant see anything but woods. And it would of been really nice to see some more positive comments on here. Also for Maria if your little one s scared of larger or groups of dogs have a look at the yellow dog campaign uk ~ they provide advice and also a dog wearing the colour yellow means they need space and alerts other dog owners they have a range also of vests bandanas and leads in yellow with bold I need space writing to let other dog owners know you need space. A friend told me of the campaign due to my anxious nervous lad who likes to get to know dogs before they bombard him with bounces running or kisses ~ one to one slow introductions and alot of etiquette and sniffs before he decides whether he wants to greet or ignore them and walk off in the opposite direction and I think this is a great campaign for all dog owners and walkers to be aware of as in all fairness alot of people and especially dogs could feel nervous if approached by fifteen dogs nomatter how friendly they are and some dogs just need total space from others. Anyway my comment the whole area from thornley through to chopwell woods is amazing full of natural beauty and wildlife and alot of history and Id recommend it as a place of beauty and a great visit for any nature or wildlife enthusiasts.

Margaret, 11/Apr/2014

thanks for the response re ponds. unfortunately the ponds mentioned are very small at ten/twenty feet across and highly unlikely to attract much wildfowl, but im sure small wildlife will appreciate them. imagine how spectacular a much larger pond would look when wildfowl has settled in and bushes/shrubs/reeds/trees line the banks, a marvelous sight indeed but quite rare nowadays to see ponds like this ( they need to be pretty big to attract wildlife, at least 200 square metres or so ).

Anonymous, 16/Feb/2014

rare thing to have in the uk, a public wood, in the 2nd least wooded country in europe, after ireland. great wood, but constant traffic noise is a wee pain. sick of timber wagons, other vehicles and horses churning up the paths and reducing them to muddy trails. the private residence of carr house and its huge lawned areas is a blot on the landscape and should not be allowed in a green belt wood, nor the other houses near the so called forest classroom. a large pond is really needed in the middle of the wood to attract wildfowl, swans etc and other wildlife, as well as being a great addition to the wood, after all, lots of areas have already been cleared and spoilt to make way for houses/golf course/empty areas etc, so why not have a large pond or small lake in one of these cleared areas, that would be great as there are no large ponds with wildfowl for many miles around. and note to woodland trust-- stop taking the magnificent tall conifers down, there are more than enough empty barren spaces as it is.

Anonymous, 29/Jan/2014

Three new ponds were excavated last year in the south west corner of the wood, hopefully attracting some of the wildlife you mention.

Forestry Commission Response
More user comments

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What's Here?

  • Arts
  • Horse riding
  • Information
  • Picnic
  • 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

Location

OS Grid ref: NZ137586
Postcode: NE39 1LT

Get directions

Contact

Hamsterley Forest

01388 488312
enquiries.hamsterley@­forestry.gsi.gov.uk

Opening & Parking

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