11 Woodland Walks to try in North East England this Autumn

Autumn is my absolute favourite time of the year to take a nice stroll through the woods. The colours at this time of year are just stunning and there's nothing like putting your wellies on, your new winter coat, hats and scarves and heading out to the woods with the family for the afternoon.

I've put together a list of my top 11 woodland walks to try in autumn - let me know if you if you have any to add. Most of these walks are free/the cost of car parking which means if you take a flask of soup with you, it can be a very cheap afternoon out.

Looking for more ideas for walks across North East England? Check out my ultimate guide here. 

11 Woodland Walks to try in North East England this Autumn

1 - Gibside

Gibside is a National Trust property (so you need to pay or be a NT member) but it's somewhere that I think is worth the NT membership alone.

11 Woodland Walks to try in North East England this Autumn - Gibside

Most of the estate is suitable for pushchairs.

There are lots of walks to enjoy on the estate - up to the stables and beyond, towards strawberry castle play area and in the woodland beyond and more. My personal favourite at this time of year is along the avenue - the trees look picture perfect at this time of year. Find out more here. 

11 Woodland Walks to try in North East England this Autumn - Gibside

Please see below for accessibility information:

11 Woodland Walks to try in North East England this Autumn - Gibside access statement

If you are looking for somewhere to eat nearby, I can highly recommend the Woodsmans Arms - a gorgeous country pub just 3 miles along the road. Their Sunday Roasts are legendary!

11 Woodland Walks to try in North East England this Autumn - woodsmans arms sunday lunch
Sunday Lunch at The Woodsmans Arms near Gibside 

2 - Plessey Woods

Plessey Woods near Morpeth is our favourite woodland walk in the autumn. There's a play park, cafe (seasonal opening times), sculpture trail and woodland walk.  There's a special art trail for kids through the woods so keep your eyes peeled for a troll or fairy door.

11 Woodland Walks to try in North East England this Autumn - plessey woods sculpture train

This walk can get muddy and is popular with dog walkers so definitely pack your wellies. There are toilets and picnic tables near the car park. Find out more here. 

Some of the walks around Plessey Woods do involve steps but there are signposted step-free walks too.  It can get muddy so an all-terrain pushchair would be best. Some of the route is suitable for wheelchairs.

11 Woodland Walks to try in North East England this Autumn - plessey woods

  • Postcode: NE22 6HZ
  • Parking is free for one hour (you still need a ticket), £1.60 for up to 2 hours and £3 all day
  • Hartford Bridge / Hall and Shields Road Bus Stop are a short walk from the entrance. Direct Arriva buses are available from Morpeth and Newcastle. 
  • Cost: Free  

3 - Hamsterley Forest

Another favourite with kids - download the Shaun the Sheep Glow Trail app before you visit and you'll find lots of various photo ops around the forest. There is also a Gruffalo Sculpture just before the main adventure play area.

11 Woodland Walks to try in North East England this Autumn - hamsterley forest gruffalo

There's a fitness trail and a fantastic adventure playground for kids too which is just the right distance through the woods for little legs.

11 Woodland Walks to try in North East England this Autumn - hamsterley forest

You'll find a cafe, loos and bike hire at the visitor centre near the car park. The car parking is quite steep here - £6 per day or £10 if it's a bank holiday so make sure you plan to spend a good few hours here to get your money's worth. Find out more here. 

11 Woodland Walks to try in North East England this Autumn - gruffalo child

  • Postcode: DL13 3NL
  • Parking is from £2 - £10 (using number plate recognition - pay at a machine before you leave)
  • Hamsterley Forest is not accessible via public transport. 
  • Cost : Free
Hamsterley Forest is suitable for pushchairs and accessible. Click here to read their accessibility statement. 

4 - Thornley Woods

Car parking is free at Thornley Woodland Centre where you'll find a lovely little cafe and visitor centre as well as information on various woodland walks. There's a short sculpture trail through the first part of the woods which is free to take part and a favourite with kids. Read about our last trip here. 

5 - Bolam Lake

Car parking is free at Bolam lake for up to 1 hour (you still need a ticket) and it's a wonderful place for a welly walk. You might spot woodpeckers, roe deers and red squirrels in the surrounding woodland. There are plenty of picnic tables, a visitor centre and cafe too. The lakeside walk is accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs. Find out more here. 

6 - Seaton Delaval Hall

Seaton Delaval Hall is a National Trust property so you'll need to pay to enter (or it's free to visit for members). It's a lovely spot for a short stroll and some fresh air. This is the least 'woodland' like of all of the walks mentioned but the grounds are gorgeous and there are some beautiful trees to admire in all their autumn glory.

If you walk around the gardens you can then walk around the field and back through some woods. Don't forget to enjoy some famous Seaton Delaval ice cream from the on-site tearoom. Find out more here. 

7 - Belsay Hall

Belsay Hall is an English Heritage property so you'll need to be a member or pay to visit but it's definitely worth it as I think Belsay Hall is home to some of the most beautiful garden in North East England.

There are formal gardens, woodland walks, quarry gardens and more. There are lots of wild and wonderful plants and animals to spot en-route and the walk to the castle and back is the perfect length for little ones. Find out more here. 

8 - Rising Sun Country Park

The Rising Sun Country Park is free to visit (and park). Start at the visitor centre where the kids can have a play in the natural adventure play area and the grown ups can take in the beautiful view of the pond and wildlife below. Then choose a route and follow the colour coded arrows through the woods - keep your eyes peeled for the stag!

My favourite route is towards the farm (which is also free to enter) where you can say hello to various animals depending on the time of year and you might be able to buy some farm produce from the vegetable stall too. Find out more here. 

9 - Castle Morpeth - Borough Woods

Bordering the river Wansbeck, Castle Morpeth Borough Woods is a haven for wildlife and very popular with dog walkers. There are plenty of footpaths but things can get muddy so definitely bring your wellies to this one. Free car parking. Find out more here. 

10 - Allen Banks 

I have so many lovely memories of visiting 'Plankey Mill' and Allen Banks during my childhood and I'm sad that the wobbly bridge is no longer there due to storms a few years ago. Some of the river bank and woodland paths were damaged too. Booooo!

All is not lost though and you can still access the gorgeous woodland via clearly signposted and safe diversion. You may just spot some red squirrels, otters, pheasants and deer! There are picnic benches near the car park too. Car parking is free to National Trust members or £2 per half day/£4 per full day for non-members. Find out more here.

11 - Jesmond Dene

Jesmond Dene is a fab place to take the kids at any time of the year, but especially so in autumn. There's a small play area, animals to visit in Pet's Corner (9am - 4:30pm closed on bank holidays) and beautiful woodland walks along the river to enjoy. If you're lucky you might spot the dene's famous waterfall. There are plenty of picnic tables and there's a cafe too. Find out more here. 

2021 update: I would like to add the following walks to this post.......... 

Howick Hall, Northumberland  - read more here. 

East Cramlington Nature Reserve - read more here. 

Auckland Castle Deer Park - read more here. 

Bedlington Country Park - Find out more here. 

If you have enjoyed this post and found it useful, here are some ways you can say thanks and support North East Family Fun: 

1 - Click here to sign up to our FREE monthly guide to what's on. This monthly email will feature lots of ideas for things to do for the month ahead plus exclusive deals. 

2 - Join our  Days Out Facebook Group here which includes lots of ideas for things to do - you can post your own recommendations too. 

4 - Share this post with your friends 

5 - Follow North East Family Fun on the following platforms :
Thank you for your support as always. 

Please follow social distancing rules & Government guidelines , respect the local area. leave no trace, take litter home, park responsibly and if somewhere is busy on arrival, please consider leaving and returning at a later date. 

Always check updated opening hours / protocols with venues direct before setting off as things may have changed since this post was published. 

Are you looking for more ideas for days out across North East England? Why not join 4000 other parents in our North East Days Out Facebook group. It's FREE to join and a fab place to post your own recommendations, find inspiration or ask for ideas. You can request to join here. 

Let me know if you'll be trying any of these walks this autumn. 

Pin Me For Later
11 Woodland Walks to try in North East England this Autumn



  1. Ahh! I always seem to forget about places like this. Great list.
    My youngest has been on about wanting to visit Rising Sun Country Park so that might be on the cards soon x

    1. The Rising Sun is fab for a day out - definitely recommended x

  2. Some great ideas on here Sam. I'm still in sandals though...it can't honestly be Autumn!!

  3. I am SO excited to do some Autumnal walks in the woods .. although I do need some new Winter boots first because mine have holes in! Thanks for all the suggestions, definitely going to try some new ones this year!


© North East Family Fun | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Designed by pipdig