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Explore Kielder Water and Forest Park
(Average user rating: 4 unrated 3.4/5)

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. Visit England Gold Award 2013

So if it is adventure or tranquillity and wild beauty you are after then there is something for you in this awe-inspiring place.

Visit Kielder is the official tourist information visitor website for Kielder Water and Forest Park.

 Ride the Super 6

Super6webgraphic6 amazing forests in 6 breath-taking locations. Chopwell, Gisburn, Grizedale, Hamsterley, Kielder, Whinlatter are the Super 6! Grab your bike and discover our exhilarating trails!


Stargazing at Kielder

StargazingExperience stars in the night sky like never before when visiting Kielder Forest after dark this winter. Kielder Observatory will run a whole programme of events throughout the year, but start at the Kielder Castle visitor centre to try our "Why stars matter" trail to see why we hold Dark Sky Discovery status and are amongst the top stargazing sites in the country. Trail starts at Bakethin Viaduct car park.

 Highway Rat Activity Trail

Highway RatThe Highway Rat is the latest Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler book to be brought to life at Kielder Forest. Until November, head on a journey with the Highway Rat and all the characters from the story. Packs will be avaliable from Kielder Castle or Kielder Cycle Centre for £3.


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?

Lewis burn car park closed due to ongoing ant-social incidents,were the police involved, are there ongoing prosecutions, what about the vast majority of visitors who used this car park and didn`t cause a problem. The majority being denied because of the minority, that`s dreadful.

Alan M , 11/Dec/2017

Access to the forest has not been stopped. We now ask visitors to park in the more visible car park at Matthew's Linn, about 1km from Lewisburn. From here the Lakeside Way and Cross Border Trails can be easily accessed. As this car park can be more easily monitored, hopefully this will make it a more secure place for visitors to leave their cars and enjoy the forest.

Forestry Commission Response

Just visited Kielder to find Lewisburn car park closed the sign seems to suggest this is going to be permanent seems a real shame as this is such a lovely spot by the river enjoyed by many I would go so far to say one of the most beautiful part of Kielder. This car park was also useful for the cross border trail. The sign saying all trails closed makes it unclear if you are still welcome to cycle or walk through here as it forms part of the cross border trail.

Sam G, 24/Sep/2017

Lewisburn car park has been closed due to on-going anti-social incidents. You are still able to visit this area on foot or bike. The nearest car park is Matthew's Linn or you can cycle from Kielder Castle via the Lakeside Way.

Forestry Commission Response
1 Star 1 Star

Electric car charger at garage has not worked in over 2 years, Kielder is not green when you can only reach it in a petrol or diesel car.

Anonymous, 18/Sep/2017
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Please tell us about your visit

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Last updated: 24th July 2018

Help us take care of your forest

What's Here?

  • Information
  • Picnic
  • Running
  • 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
  • Kielder Castle Cafe
  • 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).
  • Cycling Hire
  • Contact Kielder Castle Cycle Centre (operated by The Bike Place) on 01434 250457
  • 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.
  • Parking (easy access)
  • Parking for Blue Badge holders is available at Kielder Castle. Please note, parking charges still apply.
  • Parking (chargeable)
  • 5 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.


OS Grid ref: NY632934
Postcode: NE48 1ER

Get directions


Kielder Castle

01434 250209

Opening & Parking

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

Useful sites

Forest Plans

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