Allen Banks and Staward Gorge was badly damaged during Storm Desmond and unfortunately, remains closed.
The damage resulted in many destabilising landslips, the uprooting of large trees, erosion to the river bank and the much loved wobbly bridge being washed away.
The devastation began in December when Storm Desmond hit the North of England. At Allen Banks the suspension bridge, which had just been rebuilt after being damaged by a storm in 2013, was badly hit and much of it was washed away.
The whole area is thought to be unstable and movement in the land is being seen daily. Rangers are constantly assessing the land and you can keep up to date with any progress via Facebook and twitter.
About Allen Banks and Staward Gorge:
This extensive woodland area of gorge and river scenery, including the 41-hectare (101-acre) Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), has miles of waymarked walks through ornamental and ancient woods.
Largely created by Susan Davidson, Allen Banks has become a fantastic home for nature such as flora, fauna and fungi. It is also well known for its carpet of bluebells and ramsons, commonly known as wild garlic, which covers the woodland floor in spring and early summer.
There's the remains of a medieval pele tower and a reconstructed Victorian summerhouse and ornamental pond during the wonderful woodland walks.
There are also over 70 species of birds that have been spotted at Allen Banks and a number of mammals such as roe deer, dormice, otters and bats.
NB: All woodland area sits within the North Pennines, AONB
|Type||Entry for||Guide price|
Free parking until 10am.
Car parking available
Free until 10am
There are picnic benches provided on site
Allen Banks woodland is perfect for dogs to run free
Open all year
JN1230, Westcliff-on-Sea, United Kingdom
The land is owned by the National Trust but entry is free of charge. There is a large car park with toilets. There were no trail maps except for a large one at the start. We took a photo so we knew where we were. We took the ‘brown’ route which was a three mile circular route. Other shorter and longer routes are available. The route was reasonably well marked with only an occasional marker missing. This was where the photo helped. The path meandered along the river, up and down through the woods. In places it was rough with steep drops down to the river. If you enjoy medium difficulty terrain going through woodlands and meadows this is a fabulous walk. Walking boots are recommended. We met somebody who had seen a Red Squirrel. We didn’t!
First visit to Plankey Mill.
We parked in the National Trust car park and chose the ‘brown walk’ which was a round trip of 3 miles. It was a lovely sunny day with a slight breeze which made the stroll very pleasant. The scenery is quite stunning, part of the footpath had recently been replaced and repaired (not sure when this had happened) with care and thought. The river was on our left, the path wound through mature woodland with regular views of the clear waters below. The ‘new footbridge’ which replaced the ‘wobbly bridge’ was the turning point for our journey back to the car park. Worth a visit. If you want a bit of peace and quiet for a couple of hours accompanied by bird song and a gently bubbling river. This is the walk for you.
Beautiful hilly 10k walk
Gosia_Nap, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
We left the car (free parking for National Trust members) and started to follow brown route - until we reached the farm and then took green route - back to the farm and brown route again to go back to parking (the other site of the river). It was 10km in total. What a beautiful walk! I have to admit I was expecting flat easy route but, especially green route, is quiet hilly and challenging. Quiet muddy in the parts you wouldn’t expect it to be. I was so glad I took trekking shoes, bottle of water and couple of snacks!
Despite the rain it was a very enjoyable walk, with some stunning views. Some of the signage for the different walks are missing however that does not detract from how easy it complete a circular walk. As National Trust members the car park is free when you scan your membership card, but don't know the cost if a none member.
What a treat
Our first visit here, although my wife had been when she was a child. A family of 4 with 2 young boys and they loved it. We walked a good few miles along the river paths and then down to the water. A lovely place to visit and to get away from things. Toilets are on site and are clean but no food facilities are present so remember to take a picnic. One word of note is that the pathways are not flat and steps are steep so not suited to those with mobility issues.