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Explore Holystone Wood
(Average user rating: 5 unrated 4.7/5)

Holystone burn SSSI, upland ancient semi-natural woodland

You won't find a more atmospheric and tranquil woodland than Holystone Wood.

Holystone is tucked away in a quiet corner of Coquetdale. The peace and tranquillity of the area attracted a religious order that built a nunnery here in the twelfth century, around which Holystone village grew.

The nunnery has long gone, but the tranquil surroundings remain, offering both beautiful walks and much of interest for the historian and naturalist alike. There are waterfalls, crags and plenty of aged broadleaved woodland which is a delight to walk in at any time of year.

Nearby Holystone Common is a Site of Special Scientific Interest jointly managed for conservation purposes by Forestry Commission and Northumberland Wildlife Trust and lying within Northumberland National Park.

Explore on foot

Only one trail to Lady's Well is waymarked. This is a short, 1/4 mile route (green markers) which leads you to the National Trust landmark where St Paulinus supposedly baptised 3000 Northumbrians during Easter week, AD 627.

None of the longer paths and trails within the wood are waymarked and it is recommended that you take an OS Landranger or Explorer map with you to aid navigation. Mountain bikes and horses are welcome in this wood.

What do other visitors say?

Walk across holystone burn nature reserve blocked by shrubbery in July 2018

Anonymous, 19/Jul/2018

Thank you for highlighting. We will programme in getting this cleared as soon possible

Forestry Commission Response

Has access to dove crag reopened yet?

Anonymous, 28/Jun/2018
4 Stars 4 Stars

Trying to follow a circular route from a walking book through North wood (beautiful) and up to Dove Crag but it seems due to timber operations and or water damage all the paths to Dove Crag are closed. The diversions dont seem to lead anywhere so we ended up having to backtrack walking 7 miles instead 5.5.

Information on the board in the car park would be very helpful. The bits we did however were lovely but it was frustrating as the paths are very unclear and bear little resemblance to the OS Map.

Anonymous, 19/Nov/2017

Dove Crag is currently closed due to forestry operations which when completed will open up the waterfall and improve access to the site. We will install additional signage in the car park area to inform visitors while the work is on-going.

Forestry Commission Response
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Last updated: 29th June 2018

Help us take care of your forest

What's Here?

  • Information
  • Parking
  • Picnic
  • Cycling
  • Mountain bikes welcome
  • Dogs
  • There are no dog bins provided in the forest. 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!
  • Horse riding
  • Horses welcome
  • Ancient Monuments
  • Lady's Well is a reputed ancient site, although the current stonework dates from more recent times.
  • Walking
  • Paths at Holystone follow unsurfaced track at some point in their length. Access to all paths is via a gate at the car park. The shortest walk to Lady’s Well (green) is the most level trail. A walk to Dove Crag involves walking over rough ground, especially the return route from Dove Crag that crosses Holystone Common. This involves a long descent and climb back out of the Common.
  • Viewpoint
  • Views of Coquet Valley
More about what's here


OS Grid ref: NT951026
Postcode: NE65 7AX

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01434 250209

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