Home to northern Europe’s largest man-made lake and England's largest forest, Kielder Water & Forest Park is one of Northumberland's best attractions. It is perfect for individuals or families that love nature, water sports, exploring, walking, cycling and much more.
Kielder Water & Forest Park features miles of beautiful trails, including forest walks for all the family and dedicated mountain bike tracks. The Lakeside Way is a 26 mile multi-user trail, suitable for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and wheelchair users, that encircles the shimmering shoreline of Kielder Water.
A haven for wildlife, Kielder Water & Forest Park is also home to around 50% of England’s native red squirrel population. In 2009 three chicks were born to a record breaking osprey couple - the first birds for at least 200 years to successfully raise chicks in Northumberland. You can also spot a range of rare and special wildlife including the pipistrelle bat, roe deer, salmon otter and water voles.
For many years ospreys were seen passing through Kielder without stopping, always on the way north to more long-standing nesting sites in Scotland. As more and more of the best nesting spots were taken it was just a matter of time before they stayed south of the border. To encourage this, Forestry England installed a number of platforms around the Forest. This paid off, as following an absence of about 200 years in Northumberland, ospreys returned to nest at Kielder in 2009. By 2019 Kielder Forest was home to six breeding pairs of ospreys.
Water voles were once a common sight on our local waterways but sadly numbers have declined dramatically in recent years. However, thanks to funding from the The National Lottery Heritage Fund and the support of partners in Forestry England and Tyne Rivers Trust, Northumberland Wildlife Trust is currently involved in a project to restore water vole populations into the Kielder catchment of the north Tyne, with a view to their eventual spread throughout the catchment and surrounding areas.
Water skiing and sailing enthusiasts take to the water all year round and the lake offers a huge challenge to keen trout anglers between March and October.
You can discover all you need to know about Kielder Water & Forest Park including its history at Tower Knowe Visitor Centre or visit Kielder Castle, the former hunting lodge for the Duke of Northumberland, which now hosts a visitor centre, art gallery and exhibitions.
Kielder Waterside boasts luxury self catering forest lodges, an indoor heated swimming pool and sauna, restaurant and bar and the Kielder Water Birds of Prey Centre.
Visitors to Kielder lodges at Kielder Waterside have access to professional training and tuition for a range of mainstream sporting activities to suit everyone as part of a ‘go active’ break.
Activities include: archery and junior archery, fencing, crossbow, table tennis, snorkelling, FUNdamentals (gymnastics for young children), sea scooters (underwater propellers to power around the pool), disc golf (launch specially designed frisbees into targets across a large outdoor course), petanque (a form of boules), short mat bowls (indoor bowls for all the family), water walkerz (walk on water in the pool inside a floating inflatable ball) and skip-hop (skipping and hip-hop dance moves).
Famed for having the darkest night skies in England thanks to minimal light pollution, Kielder Water & Forest Park is a star gazers’ heaven and is home to the Kielder Observatory alongside Northumberland National Park who have gained Dark Sky Park Status.
There is also contemporary art and architecture including the futuristic shelter design of the Belvedere, the Minotaur maze and Silvas Capitalis, also known as the ‘giant forest head’.
Visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to spending a day trip, weekend break or holiday in what the Campaign to Protect Rural England calls the most tranquil spot in the country.