The Best Places to Paddle in Streams across North East England

A few weeks ago, I published a post sharing safety advice against the dangers of swimming in reservoirs (you can read the full post here). Please do not swim/paddle at the likes of Kielder / Derwent Waterside Park. There are lots of hidden dangers. 

The Best Places to Paddle in Streams across North East England

However, paddling in streams is a kind of rite of passage in childhood I think. Obviously, you still need to remain vigilant - young children can drown in a teeny amount of water and depths can change suddenly. Children should never be left unsupervised. 

For more ideas for places to visit across North East England this summer, click here to join our FREE Days Out Facebook group which is packed with recommendations. 


Before we jump in, a lot of these places are likely to be busy, especially if it is a sunny day. Consider heading out early/later in the evening if possible to avoid the crowds. Car parks do fill up and if you are unable to park responsibly, please leave and return another time. Remember to leave no trace and take all litter home with you. 

Please read local safety advice before entering the water. Some of the places mentioned may not technically be classed as a stream.  

Always check to see if somewhere is open before heading out. 

I have not visited all of these places personally so please do your own research before setting off to avoid disappointment. You can see more suggestions and photos from others over on this Facebook post

Essential Kit for Paddling in Steams

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The Best Places to Paddle in Streams across North East England 

Plessey Woods 

Plessey Woods Stream to paddle in

Plessey Woods is a popular spot in Northumberland. There is a cafe, play park, visitor centre, toilets and lots of green space to run around / enjoy a picnic right next to the car park.

I can confirm that the toilets are open at the moment (June 2020). 

If you venture into the woods there are various routes to take (with signposted routes for step free / accessible / pushchair friendly routes) with trails and sculptures hidden throughout.

Watch out for the Ogre swamp! The woods can get fairly muddy in bad weather so if you visit after rain, I would recommend an all-terrain pushchair. 

As you head down through the woods, there are spots to paddle in the river by the bridge and jetty. 

Humford Woods / Bedlington Country Park 

Humford Woods stream to paddle in

There are lots of places to paddle in and around Bedlington Country Park, especially near Humford Mill. If you park at the mill, the river is accessible (however you will need to navigate a moderate hill).

There are stepping stones across the water too. If you cross the stepping stones and follow the river, there is a lovely waterfall area where you can paddle too. 

There are picnic tables and a play park on the river bank. 

Ingram Valley 

Paddling in the stream at Ingram Valley

We absolutely love Ingram Valley. It is a natural beauty spot in Northumberland National Park with plenty of space to paddle. 

We normally park in Bulbys Wood Car Park which has its own toilets. From here, the grass is flat and accessible and just a short distance away from the stream (you can see the stream from the car park). There are more parking spots, further loos and a cafe further along the road if you continue driving. 

Bring some change as an ice cream van sometimes randomly pops up!


Paddle in the river at Rothbury

Rothbury is a beautiful town in Northumberland. The walk along the river is beautiful and very scenic and you can paddle at the riverbank area by the main bridge into town. 

There are picnic tables and a play park right by the river and the walk is accessible too. 

Hamsterley Forest 

Paddle in the stream at Hamsterley Forest

Hamsterley Forest is a super popular spot. Expect bike trails, walking routes, a Gruffalo trail, lots of play areas, cafe, visitor centre & areas where you can paddle in the river. 

The forest has accessible walking trails and is pushchair friendly. The car park is chargeable, see website for details. 

Causey Arch 

Causey Arch is such a lush picnic spot surrounded by ancient woodland, grassland and a stream to paddle in. There are picnic tables dotted about or near the car park too. 

It is a fairly steep walk down to the river and their website says it is accessible but just be aware - there is a steep part! Read our review of Causey Arch here. 

Jesmond Dene 

Paddle at Jesmond Dene

Jesmond Dene is a popular area just outside of Newcastle. Expect picnic spaces, grassy areas, a cafe, Pets Corner (may not be open) and gorgeous woodland walks where you can stop to paddle in the river. The walks are accessible and pushchair friendly. 

Falling Foss 

paddling in the river at falling foss

Falling Foss near Whitby is a gem. It is a bit of a steep climb down from the car park and I am not sure I would take a pushchair/wheelchair myself. I think there may be a disabled drop-off area right next to the tea garden though so it may be worth phoning ahead to ask. 

There is the most beautiful outdoor tea garden in the heart of the woods, a waterfall you can paddle near or various points where you can paddle throughout the woods. 


paddling in the river at corbridge

We love Corbridge. Lovely independent shops and pubs, a Roman Town to explore and of course the river to play in too. 

The following sites are reader recommendations and places I have yet to visit myself so can only provide limited info at the moment (apologies). I will update this post with more information as we visit a few of them this summer : 

Haltwhistle Burn

Haltwhistle Burn
Wiki Commons

Derwenthaugh Park near Winlaton Mill

Derwenthaugh Park
Geograph Britain : David Dixon 



Geograph Britain : John Walton 

Finchale Priory 

paddle in the river at finchale priory
Geograph Britain - Mat Fascoine 

Hawthorn Dene

  • Postcode: SR7 8SH
  • Find out more here
  • Reader comment - Hawthorn Dene has some lovely shallow streams 


Watergate Forest Park 

Stanhope Ford

Wiki Commons

  • Find out more here
  • Reader comment - Went to Stanhope on Saturday and there were quite a few paddling in the river there. Get there early to get a parking spot. 

Hareshaw Linn

Wiki Commons

  • Find out more here
  • Reader comment - Hareshaw Linn has loads of spots where people can paddle. There is a spot further up where you can swim too. 

NOW CLOSED Linn Waterfall 
Please see additional advice from the MOD re: visiting Crammel Linn here: 

Ponteland Park 

  • Park in town
  • Find out more here
  • Reader comment - There are a few places to paddle in Ponteland Park. 

Malton Picnic Area, Lanchester 

  • Postcode: DH7 0TH
  • Find out more here (website states this area is accessible for wheelchairs & pushchairs) 

Hill End, Frosterley 

Blaydon Burn 

Carrick Picnic Site, Blanchland 

River Swale in Richmond 

Saltburn Valley Gardens 


Asygarth Falls Codbeck 

Boilhope Burn 

  • Car park postcode: DL13 2SZ
  • Find out more here
  • Reader comment - Boilhope Burn on the B6278 past Stanhope Ford has lovely picnic areas and a stream to paddle in. 

Castle Eden Dene 

Low Slitt Woods, Westgate 

  • Park at Westgate town and walk through the woods past beautiful waterfalls and streams.
  • Find out more here. 

If you are looking to travel a little further afield, check out the best places for paddling in Yorkshire by Yorkshire Tots or how about Wild Swimming in the Peak District by Peak District Kids? 

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Let me know if there is anywhere else we should add to the list. I cannot wait to visit some new places from this list myself and will update the post with more photos and info when we do. 

Don't forget to click here to join our Days Out Facebook Group for more ideas. 

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