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10 ways to get your Kicks In Kielder

Northumberland is home to northern Europe’s largest man-made lake and England’s largest working forest – Kielder Water and Forest Park. There’s so much to do you’ll want to come back time and time again but here’s a few ideas to get you started . 

1. Run a Marathon

Kielder Marathon is perhaps the most beautiful course in the UK with its 26.2 mile route hugging the shores of Kielder Water. Picturesque but challenging! The race is due to be held for the fifth time October 2014. If you’re feeling fit you can enter the on-line at

2. Lakeside Ramble

The marathon won’t be for everyone but you can still enjoy the same route and walk The Lakeside Way throughout the year. Keen walkers may choose to follow the full 26 miles around the Kielder water in one go. Or discover the delights enroute at a more leisurely pace  - one section at a time. The visitor centres at Leaplish, Tower Knowe or Kielder Castle can help you with suggestions to suit your groups ability and fitness.

Try parking the car at Leaplish and walk back to Tower Knowe – a choice of 7 miles or a shorter route of 4 miles if time is limited. Plan to reach Tower Knowe in time to catch the last ferry back to the car across the lake saving tired feet the return trek and providing panoramic views of the lakeside from the water.

3. Take to Two Wheels

If cycling or mountain biking is your thing then there is an extensive network of tracks and trails in the area. Choose some of the long loops taking in the fabulous views on the public road in the area, the multi-user trail of the Lakeside wide (a good starter route for children on their first mountain bike excursions) or the more challenging off road routes.

Kielder Cycle Centre is a good starting point for mountain biking with bike hire and the option to test your off road skills before you choose your route!

4. Four Legs better than Two?

Explore the region on horseback. Kielder Forrest Park offers good network of bridleways and forest tracks. If you are planning on bringing your own horse contact the Forestry Commission for details. If you are looking for riding lessons for children then try Cragside Stables in Hexham.

5. Take to the water

I’ve already mentioned the ferry as a relaxing return option after a ramble but you can make this a trip in itself. The Osprey ferry has various pick up and drop off points around Kielder Water with tickets available from the visitors centres. There’s a commentary on the boat giving you a little background information and history of the park and the dam as you travel over the lake.

If you are looking for more adrenaline fuelled activities there are canoeing, sailing and water-skiing clubs around the lake. Contact Visit Kielder for details of your options.

6. Cast a line

Whether you are a keen angler or just a beginner there are so many options in the area you can go fishing somewhere different every day. Take a look at for some ideas.

Even non fishers will be fascinated by the Salmon Centre near Kielder Castle visitor centre. The largest conservation hatchery in England and Wales, you can discover the unique life cycle of the salmon, how they help keep rivers and lakes in the north of England stocked with these fish – and how they help the ‘local fish’ get over the obstacle of the dam!

7. A drive in the wilderness

To really appreciate the expanse of this working forest, take a drive along the longest toll road in the UK. This is rough track for 12 miles, so do consider whether your vehicle is up to the challenge! Four wheel drives should have no problem but the route is only recommended for two wheel drive cars in perfect weather – especially since there is very limited phone signal if you do get into difficulty!

The remote scenery is worth the effort and you’ll certainly be far from any crowds! Take your camera and keep your eyes peeled for the super six  . . .

8. Spot the super six

Osprey, red squirrels, bats, roe deer, salmon and otters can all be found in the park –  ask in one of Kielder’s visitor centres where you will be most likely to spot one of these ‘Super Six’ animal residents.

Habitats from woodland to marshy grasslands and bogs, create homes for a whole host of wildlife that is impressive and unique in the UK.

More info on

9. Heavens Above

Kielder Water & Forest Park boasts the largest expanse of protected night sky in Europe.  You’d have to travel as far as Death Valley in the USA to find an area of similar size! Awarded ‘Gold Tier International Dark Sky Status’ due to minimal light pollution, it’s the perfect spot for some stargazing.

Grab a deck chair and a hot drink and sit back and enjoy the free heavenly show at one of the Dark Sky Discovery Sites (all located near facilities or accommodation) or visit Kielder Observatory located in the heart of the Dark Sky Park  to learn more about the night sky and use the powerful telescope.

Winter nights are the darkest and best for stargazing but even in summer you can gaze upon the Milky Way, passing comets, shooting stars and the Sun’s surface  using the solar telescope at the observatory.

Visit for details of events.

10. Award winning Art and Architecture

The Art and Architecture programme  has been running in Kielder Water and Forest Park since 1995, making it home to a collection of unique visual artworks. More than 37 pieces – both temporary and permanent  - have been commissioned since the programme started with many fully accessible to visitors along the Lakeside Way.

For details of the various locations get hold of a Trails Guide from one of the visitors’ centres or download from

On my visit I chanced upon Freya’s cabin on the south shore of the lake with intricate carved decoration framing a view of Robin’s Hut on the north shore and their story hidden inside. . . .Now all you have to do is plan your trip to Kielder read it!

Start planning your next UK Break today.

For a visit to Kielder Water and Forrest Park, Otterstone Cottage makes an ideal base with fabulous views over Kielder Water itself. Search Northumberland and The Scottish Borders on for a selection of other homes in the region.

For other destinations across the UK Visit and book directly with the owner.

Own your own holiday home in the UK? To find out more about how to feature your own property on, contact Sarah or Tracy today.

T. +44 (0)333 2400797                    E.


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T: +44 (0)1325 527 275

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