Land of Oak and Iron Heritage Centre

 This post is based on a visit in March 2021. Please check with venue direct for any changes in information before you visit. 

Land of Oak and Iron Heritage Centre

The Land of Oak and Iron covers an ancient woodland area around Derwent Valley. It is a fantastic area for wildlife spotting, walking and cycling. Situated just off the A1 near the Metrocentre, it is a nice place to enjoy some fresh air after shopping or equally, a destination in itself. 

This post focuses on the area around the Land of Oak and Iron Heritage Centre which opened a few years ago. Close by you can also explore Gibside, Thornley Woodland Centre and Sculpture Trail and if you fancy a pub lunch, The Woodmans Arms is not too far and has a fab outdoor covered & heated seating area.  

Land of Oak and Iron Heritage Centre - Parking, Directions and Public Transport

Use postcode NE21 6RU to visit. There are two free car parks on site and the Heritage Centre is signposted from the road. The centre is also accessible via public transport, use the Red Kite 45/46/47 bus from Metrocentre / Newcastle Central Station / Eldon Square / Consett and alight at Winlaton Mill Garage. 

The centre is also located on the C2C route 14 and there are bike racks available. The cafe/shop also has a stock of spares / puncture repair kits if needed. 

Land of Oak and Iron Heritage Centre + Accessible Walks & Cycle Routes

The Heritage Centre is home to toilets including disabled toilets (open), Cafe Shrub (which serves lovely homemade food - more on that later), a small shop and visitor centre with information on walking routes etc...... The venue is also used to host various events throughout the year. The centre is generally open daily from 9am - 4:30pm (last cafe orders 4pm). Dogs are welcome. 

There are various picnic benches and places to sit in the grounds surrounding the centre and loads of green space if you'd like to bring a picnic blanket.  

You will also find maps with recommended walking routes which are very well signposted. The paths are fairly wide and surfaced and suitable for wheelchair users and pushchairs. They are also brilliant for cycling and scooting. The paths near the centre are multi use and used by both cyclists and walkers so keep an eye on little ones if they are walking. The area is popular for dog walkers. 

I know some people have mentioned that it can get busy here but we visited on a sunny afternoon in the Easter Holidays and didn't find it to be overly busy at all - we may have just been lucky but there is plenty of open space to socially distance. 

As well as the main maps on boards, you can buy a walking guide or cycling guide from the cafe / visitor centre (suggested donation £3). I would recommend - we bought the walking guide and it includes detailed information and maps for 9 popular circular walking routes in the area (ranging from 1.5 hour / 3 mile easy walks to more substantial routes. 

Land of Oak and Iron Cafe Shrub

The Heritage Centre is home to its own cafe which is generally open from 9am-4/5pm. The staff are so lovely, the food is all homemade and looked lush (my mam was eyeing up a slice of quiche which looked epic) and they had excellent COVID measures in place including a one way system, limited numbers indoors, a well managed socially distanced queuing system, a separate customer collection point, hand sanitising station.....they really were on the ball. 

I love that they sold dog treats and when guidance allows, there is indoor seating available too. 

We ordered a round of takeaway drinks but I will 100% plan my next visit over a meal time so I can try some food. Below is a copy of their takeaway menu to give you an idea of what to expect / prices. 

Land of Oak and Iron Easter Hunt

The Land of Oak and Iron has organised an Easter Trail around the vicinity of the Heritage Centre. It is available until 18 April. The trail is self-guided and available during centre opening hours. 

Top tips: 

  • Bring cash for the Easter Egg Trail - recommended donation £3 per trail which is popped in an honesty box
  • Bring a pen to complete your sheet 
  • The clues are all in the vicinity of the centre - you do not need to walk along the walking routes to find them

Collect your Easter Trail sheet from the Marquee area - you just need to help yourself and pop your donation in the honesty box. 

Then search for the 10 Easter Egg clues which are dotted around the centre grounds. Each egg features a clue which you must solve and then use your answers to complete the final clue. 

We had fun completing the trail and I would say we spent around 15-20 minutes completing it. You can extend your visit with a walk and cafe visit as we did. 

Take your completed trail to the cafe and they will reward you with a piece of modelling clay which children are encouraged to share with the Land of Oak and Iron via Social Media. 

As an added bonus, a vintage Ice Cream van will be visiting the centre over Easter weekend too. 

We had a brilliant time at the Land of Oak and Iron Heritage Centre. I would highly recommend as an outdoor location to meet up with friends / family. I love that it is accessible for wheelchair users, suitable for pushchairs, has loos and a lush cafe plus seating. I also like that it is a nice place to bring the kids' scooters and bikes (although the paths can get busy so probably best visiting at a quieter time or with kids who have mastered spacial awareness if you want to bring their bikes). 

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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. 

Remember face coverings are required for indoor attractions / shops for those aged 11+ (usual exemptions apply)  

Check for local lockdowns / travel restrictions before visiting anywhere. 

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

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Land of Oak and Iron Heritage Centre


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