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Explore Kielder Water and Forest Park
(Average user rating: 5 unrated 4.1/5)

Latest News (20/03/2017 10:04)

Please note, daily car park charges are increasing from 1 April 2017 to £5 per vehicle. One hour maximum stay rate will remain at £1.50. Annual 'Discovery Pass' ticket which allows for free parking for 12 months is available to purchase. Until 31 March, this pass will cost £43 (£45 after this date).

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.

 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!


Gruffalo Spotters at Kielder

Gruffalo Spotters at Kielder Water and Forest ParkFrom February 24th, follow clues and collect evidence as you search for the Gruffalo along the Gruffalo Spotters trail! Bring the characters to life before your eyes with The Gruffalo Spotter free app, or gather clues with an Evidence Kit. More details for Kielder Water and Forest Park

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.


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! 


LOtC-site-logo.jpgKielder Water and Forest Park has been awarded a CLOtC Site Provider Award. The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC) is the national voice for learning outside the classroom. This award recognises organisations which actively welcome schools onto their site/s for self-led visits and ensure that the sites and any other services provided meet the needs of schools.

What do other visitors say?

4 Stars 4 Stars

I wish you'd do an in-between parking charge, say 3hr, 4.50 (rising to 5) when you may only be there for 2-3 hrs is really off putting. Or why not do a national 'Discovery Pass"?

Iain, 11/Mar/2017

Thank you for your comments. The reason for only offering a full day rate is we would like visitors to spend more time on site, visiting the attractions and using local facilities without watching the clock. We feel £5 per vehicle (from 1 April) is a very competitive rate and the savings for 2-3 hour stay would not be that great. As for a national Discovery Pass, this is something that is currently being explored.

Forestry Commission Response
3 Stars 3 Stars

We came up for the afternoon for my daughters 1st birthday to take part in the gruffalo spotting event. Weather wasn't on our side so decided to first grab some lunch at the cafe, wish we hadn't bothered. It was so expensive and very poor quality, the lady serving was as miserable as sin and extremely rude. My eldest two children waited ages for their preps led children's lunch boxes which for 4 each were an absolute rip off.

The gruffalo spotters packs were ok but not worth the 3 each and got ruined in the rain anyway. However the app to take photos was brilliant and the kids all had a fab time despite the rain and rubbish lunch. The car park was expensive for how long we were there. Had the gruffalo event not been on I would have said it was a wasted trip to somewhere that could have been an amazing family day out.

Jen, 28/Feb/2017

Thank you for your feedback. Sorry to read your lunch did not live up to expectations - I will pass on your comments regarding your experience in the café. With regard the cost of visiting Kielder Castle, I believe £4.50 for parking for a family of four is actually extremely good value. Entry to the castle and use of trails is free and you also had use of a free app for your phone to enjoy the Gruffalo Spotter's Trail. You can't get much for just over a £1 per person these days!

Forestry Commission Response
3 Stars 3 Stars

Enjoyed the visit (September 2016) spent the full day around Keilder Forest & Water.

Positive aspects:

Scenery good. Went on forest trail (drive) paid 3 toll, all fine, much tree felling but that was OK. Road a bit bumpy etc, but to be expected. Signs could do with being refreshed but that was OK.

Negative aspects: No single wildlife seen at all during drive (neither bird, land wildlife or whatever, very disappointing despite a considerable time slowly driving through forest trail/drive. Very disappointing in that respect

Entrances to forest or water, parking charges required, not impressed, was not prepared to stop and park - wanted to stop and go for something to eat, but not prepared to be ripped off twice, charge to park and then pay for meals (which were slightly expensive). That was a let down Went to a pub nearby for meal, no parking charges.

Keilder water - great to see however at Tourist Info points info is very basic. No mention of history, some info boards no info on them, a bit disappointing in that respect.

Otherwise was still worthwhile visiting and glad we did it... but could be improved.

Jim Martin, 13/Sep/2016
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Last updated: 21st March 2017

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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.
  • 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)
  • £4.50 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


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.
£4.50 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

Forest Plans

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