Gosforth Nature Reserve

Thanks so much to our new writer Alyssa for this post and photos, based on a visit in October 2022. Please check with venue direct for the most up to date info. Over to Alyssa: 

A few weeks ago, I went on a bicycle ride between where I live in Longbenton and Weetslade Country Park; on the way we passed Gosforth Country Park, I was pleasantly surprised by how close it actually was.

When you think nature reserve you think, of the countryside – away from the industrial revolution fuelled city – but it is literally on its doorstep. It's quite hard to comprehend we live practically next door to 61 hectares of woodlands and wetlands, home to 1600 recorded species. 

Gosforth Nature Reserve is just one idea of what you can do in Newcastle with kids. 

 Having visited for the first time earlier this week with my girls -  it is clear how much of a gem this place is and we are already planning our next visit with my other half, we are also looking to buy some binoculars because while we saw a lot of wildlife, Squirrels, birds, deer – there was a lot of wildlife in the distance, viewable from Ridley Hide (One of many hides) so I would definitely recommend binoculars. 

When we get to the reserve you will see these gates and providing you are within opening hours (9-4 pm) they should be open, guiding you to the visitor centre hut on the right.

There is an information board surrounding admittance prices which are currently £5 per adult and £1 per child. If you have a membership, which is around £33 a year - per household, admittance is free alongside access to various events throughout the year.

When we got to the visitor centre one of their rangers greeted my overly excited kids (clipboards poised at the ready) with a smile and gave them a map/ guide. He showed us a board featuring the species spotted in October, which excited the girls even more. 

Gosforth Nature Reserve Spotters Sheet  

Gosforth Nature Reserve Map

We planned our journey on the map and set off. 

And then within about 10 seconds, stopped to look at some of the amazing bird boxes.

Gosforth Nature Reserve Eco Toilet 

 Our walk was very stop-and-start all along the way, frequently finding interesting new things. The girls loved learning about the eco loo they have.

We found a bench to eat our lunch – while eating we saw squirrels, swallows, and sycamore seeds helicoptering down in their hundreds; we got chatting to someone who had been visiting the reserve for years and they were able to give us some helpful hints and tips as to where we can see various wildlife. 

The path from the start was pretty good, I think you could bring along an all-terrain buggy – at least to Ridley hide. Beyond that point the terrain gets a bit more challenging, especially through the thicker woodlands. 

The woodlands however are so enchanting, they have the tallest birch trees I have ever seen. You could easily take a tree scavenger hunt/ checklist and complete a fair amount along the way, I think off the top of my head we saw Oak, Ash, Elder, Hazel, Horse chestnut, Beech, Sycamore, Holly.

Which in turn provide the seeds like Conkers and my favourite – Acorns, because of the teeny tiny hats. 

The crafty mum inside me is living for this season, there has been a huge spike in my Pinterest activity because of this place – its like a giant treasure chest of nature prizes. We are taking part in the 1000 hours outside movement for the second time and can confidently say we will be back to fill some of those hours. 

 We loved Ridley hide (The biggest hide on the map), it was unexpectantly homey – cosy inside. There were multiple seats with cushions to sit on and wooden booster seats for those who need them.

You could open windows to get a better view and photos taken of the local wildlife were proudly hung on the wall to inspire you. 

Gosforth Nature Reserve Bird Hide

I don’t think we anticipated how many bridges there would be, some of them small, about a metre in distance, others were stepping ones which the kids LOVED. 


We found a dipping pond, but sadly forgot our nets. Perfect excuse to come back! 

We will also be bringing back a tape measure to help with our field work, we home educate our kids and having access to so many growing mushrooms is an excellent resource to have.

Plus, they look super cool. We weren’t fast enough to get a photo but as we were looking at these mushrooms a deer wondered onto the footpath we were walking along and it honestly made our week.

 Parking at the reserve is not great, with very limited parking (enough room for 20 cars) so I would recommend walking or cycling if you can to which they do have secure bicycle racks available for you to use upon arrival.

Gosforth Nature Reserve Parking

 I think we clocked about 20- or 30-minutes walking from Longbenton and South Gosforth metro stations, alternatively your closest bus link is the BT Call Centre, which is only a short walk to the reserve. 

Gosforth Nature Reserve Location Map

 The reserve has set up several nest cameras to capture the wildlife we wouldn’t otherwise see; we ran across some volunteers working to improve one of the dens and he showed us a video of an otter taken close by.

 The volunteers here can tailor educational experiences to schools/ students/ various organisations alike Scouts in both outdoor and indoor (via the hut they have) and I honestly can say I can’t wait to go back to see what it has to offer as the seasons change – plus there are still parts of the map we didn’t have time to explore which goes to show you could easily spend the entire day here.

Sounds like paradise to me!

Need to know: 

  • Address: Lake Lodge, Salters Lane, Gosforth. NE3 5EP
  • SatNav postcode: NE3 5EP (layby parking for  20 cars) 
  • Public transport: BT Call Centre Bus Stop + 10 minute walk (see here for detailed directions)
  • Open daily 9am - 4pm 
  • Entry is £5 per adult and £1 per child (or free for NHSN members)
  • You will cover 1-2 miles depending on the route you take. The site is flat and many areas are covered with a boardwalk but some remain unsurfaced.  It is partly accessible. You can download a full access statement here. 
  • There are toilets including an accessible toilet at the entrance 
  • No pet dogs allowed (assistance dogs only)
  • Find out more: https://www.nhsn.org.uk/visit-gosforth-nature-reserve/


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