A 1.5 Mile Circular Wellbeing Trail at Chopwell Wood

 This post is based on a visit in November 2021. Please check for up-to-date information with Chopwell Woods direct before setting off as the information in this post may have changed. 

Can you believe this was our first visit to Chopwell Woods! Wow have we been missing out on a real gem. It is so beautiful and completely free to visit (including free parking). It very much reminds me of a less commercialised version of Hamsterley Forest if that makes sense.

You won't find any Gruffalo's hiding in the woods here but you will find a stunning walk and a chance to be at one with nature. 

Chopwell Wood is a 360 acre mixed woodland on the outskirts of Gateshead in Rowlands Gill. There are a couple of large, free car parks. We visited on a mild Sunday and passed Thornley Woodland Centre and Land of Oak and Iron on the way. Both of their car parks looked full whereas there were still plenty of spaces at Chopwell. Parking is free. 

Use postcode NE39 2AG. The initial entrance into the woodland is a blind bend so do take care here but after that one turn, it is a beautiful, straight single track road with plenty of designated passing places to the car park. I was honestly blown away with the drive to the car park. I wish I'd taken a photo! We were surrounded by so many trees lining the road in gorgeous autumn colours. I felt as if I was in an American movie! 

The woods are open 24/7 but there is no lighting after dark (including road lighting). 

Chopwell Wood Main Car Park 

Chopwell Wood is accessible by public transport, Friends of Chopwell Wood recommend the X47 Go North East Red Kite Bus which runs from Newcastle and the Metrocentre to Chopwell Woods Road and then it's a short walk into the woodland. Obviously please double check this route yourself with Go North East before heading out. 

There is an information board in the car park with various walking route maps. Many of the routes are suitable for cycling and horse riding as well as walking and it would be a good place to bring the kids on their mountain bikes. You can view the various walking / cycling / horseriding trails online here.  If geocaching is your thing, you won't be disappointed at Chopwell Woods. 

Now I love nothing than a good walk with the family. I think it is one of the best ways to reconnect and spend some proper family time together with real conversations about this and that. My kids are 10,12 and 15 and will generally agree to coming on a walk if it's not too long and don't mind it too much. The wellness trail is a 1.5 mile circular route and it felt too short for us now as it was over pretty quickly.

But if I tell the kids we're going on a 5 mile hike, I know I will be met with moans! I guess I'm going to have to get creative with explaining where we're going and plan longer walks....... 

Anyway, the wellbeing trail is perfect if you are looking for a short walk in beautiful surroundings. It is mostly flat with a couple of mild inclines and either forest floor like above or surfaced paths. There are no steps or gates to navigate and I think it would be ok for pushchairs and wheelchairs. The only thing I would mention is that in a lot of areas, the ground was covered with leaves at this time of year. 

Chopwell Woods are dog friendly and you can expect to meet lots of dog walkers in the woods. 

The wellbeing trail (and all of the walking routes in fact) are very well signposted. Simply follow the black arrows with the yellow background from the car park..... 

The trail is based on the fact that spending time with trees and among nature has been scientifically proven to boost both mental and physical health. There are various boards dotted along the trail with prompts to help you get the most from your visit from a wellbeing perspective. 

The wellbeing walk is circular and starts and ends in the car park. It is designed to be nice and relaxing and to be enjoyed as a leisurely stroll rather than a power walk. I would agree! It was lovely with varied scenery 

We enjoyed reading the little prompts and having a go at the activities along the walk. Starting with asking each other how they were feeling.

We did bump into others along the walk but it wasn't busy at all. Much less so than Hamsterley or Plessey Woods for example. There was nobody around the prompt boards which is probably a good thing or we might have felt a bit silly. 

There is plenty of seating around the trail at regular intervals. Many of the benches have special meaning too and little info signs next to them sharing little bits about them. 

It was around about here that we spotted a squirrel. It was too quick for my camera but nice to spot one. Red Kites are regularly spotted here too. 

Here the kids are taking deep breaths and noticing their surroundings connected to their senses - we had to list what they could see, hear, taste, smell and touch. 

I don't think kids ever grow out of collecting sticks in a forest! 

The Wellbeing Walk at Chopwell Wood is gorgeous. Beautiful scenery, a chance to focus on your family's mental health and a little bit of exercise too. It is only 1.5 mile in length (circular) and suitable for most. I think most toddlers right up to great grandparents would be fine trying this out. 

You can find out more about the Wellbeing Trail here. 

We could have added another walking route onto the end of this walk but time was getting on. We will be back soon to try the Old Railway Walk and then the Boundary Walk too (both routes are shown here if you click on 'trail map'). 

There are picnic tables at Chopwell Wood fairly close to the car park and I would recommend bringing a flask / bite to eat to extend your visit as there are no cafes on site. Sadly, there aren't many bins and there are no toilets either. So many people have recommended Riverview Bakery as somewhere amazing to visit for cake / a bite to eat / coffee after visiting Chopwell Woods. They are dog-friendly too and a short drive from the woods. Check them out!

Or if you'd like somewhere a little closer, Beat n Track cafe is just outside of the woodland entrance. 

If you are looking for somewhere to enjoy a Sunday Lunch afterwards, the Woodsmans Arms and Beamish Park Hotel are both around a 10-15 minute drive away and serve a lush Sunday Dinner. Would recommend them both and they are both featured in my guide to the best Sunday Lunches in North East England here. 

Find out more about Chopwell Wood and all the activities available including walking, mountain biking, running, orienteering and horse riding here: https://www.forestryengland.uk/chopwell-wood/activities

If you liked this post, check out the following woodland walks too: 

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