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
Lovely walk with the family. 5 Kids and 2 Adults, we loved it. The kids played in the water and we had a long walk and picnic. Defo will return.
First visit to Allen Banks for a couple of years - and nothing has changed. There is no suspension bridge, nor any sign of any plans for one. The walk on the west bank is still closed, with no sign of any progress being made. You won't find any news online regarding progress either; the blog was last updated a year ago. The only thing which is bang up to date is the car park ticket machine. Has the National Trust given up on Allen Banks like it has on Stephenson's Cottage? Does it see the future only in mass audience, paid-for fun factories like Gibside, Wallington and Cragside? Are local National Trust Members getting value for money? There may be legitimate answers to these questions, but at a time when communications have never been easier, the online and on-site silence is odd.
Nice walk but you do need to reasonably fit
David T, Whitley Bay, United Kingdom
We decided to go to this location after reading the National Trust guidebook. Very easy to find just off the A69 (Newcastle to Carlisle). Decent size car park and free for National Trust members but you must scan your card and get a ticket which you leave in the car. There are various walks.Sadly the paths at low level have been destroyed and it is too dangerous to restore them. Therefore you have to walk on the top path which is steep and uneven (with tree roots) in parts. A pleasant walk overall though.
Nice woods walk
Ginny K, Anchorage, Alaska
A nice climb up toward Staward Gorge. There was evidently a partial landslide closing off part of the trail, so I didn't complete the loop but still had a nice time. They could use better trail markers, IMO, as the green gorge trail tacks on to the orange or brown other trails from the Allen Banks trailhead, and that's not entirely clear from any of the maps. Several other hikers I met on the trail also seemed to not know which way the trail went.
Suspension Bridge Out of Action
Lord E, Rayleigh, United Kingdom
Really enjoyed our first visit to Allen Banks - as previusly reported the Suspension Bridge has been destroyed following storms, so walk along gorge is diverted to top path which unfortunately does not give such good views of the gorge. The best option is to turn right out of the car park, cross the road bridge and then walk along the opposite side of the gorge.This is a much more pleasant walk with better access alongside the water.