Gibside, Tyne and Wear | Great British walks

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Distance 8 miles (12.8km)
3 hours 30 minutes
Gibside car park
OS grid reference

Walk in a nutshell
The delights of a Capability Brown garden meet rugged countryside with sensational views that stretch into the Pennines. Afterwards, Gibside's eating and drinking pleasures are yours for the taking. Mobility scooters are available if  pre-booked (01207 541820).

Why it's special
Plan your visit to enjoy a real foodie treat. On Friday afternoons from April onwards, the historic walled garden is turned into an open-air pub serving wine, ice-creams, snacks and real ales from the local Wylam brewery. There are games for the children, and music and quiz nights. On the first and third Saturday of each month there's a farmers' market and the Gibside Larder is open every day, selling local produce.

Keep your eyes peeled for
The Palladian chapel is a masterpiece of Georgian architecture. The man who first envisaged Gibside's splendour, the coal baron George Bowes, is buried in its crypt. Red kites can often be seen wheeling in the skies over the estate.

Recover afterwards
On a Friday it has to be a pint from Sun Down at Gibside. On any other day there's the tea garden and the Potting Shed tearoom, which serve scones and soups. Or there's Renwick's coffee and secondhand bookshop, nestled in the stables.

If it's tipping down
Head into Gateshead where you'll find the Sage art gallery on the riverfront, worth a visit for the building itself as much as for its contents. Over in Newcastle there's a superb selection of children's museums: Seven Stories , the Life Science centre, and the mixed exhibits of the Great North Museum.

How to get there
Blaydon railway station is 3 miles away, or take the train to Newcastle or the Metrocentre, then hop on a bus towards Consett, alighting half a mile from Gibside at Rowlands Gill.

Step by step

1 From the car park walk up to the portico of Gibside's Palladian chapel. Follow the oak-lined avenue towards the Column of Liberty.

2 At the end of the avenue turn right uphill and on to a yew-lined track. Follow it as it bends right and passes the grand stable block on your right.

3 At the crossroads in front of the stables entrance follow the track uphill and away from the stables until you come to a wooden bridge on the left with a waymarker for the Skyline Walk. Take this path over the bridge.

4 Follow the path uphill over three bridges and a stretch of boardwalk.

5 At the end of the boardwalk you reach a kissing gate. Go through the gate and walk straight ahead up the side of the field, keeping the fence and a ditch on your left.

6 Exit the field through a kissing gate and emerge on to a track. Go through a second kissing gate and a third into a meadow. Climb a short, sharp bank to the top of the field and the fence line.

7 At the fence turn left and walk along the top of the field, passing two stiles until you reach a third with a marker pointing the way.

8 Climb over this stile and emerge on to a lane. Turn right and walk along the lane. Go through a farm gate and carry straight on.

9 As the road bends right climb over the stile in front of you to enter a meadow. Walk straight ahead with a fence on your right. Continue until you reach a stile at the far end of the field.

10 Climb over the stile on your left and follow the path round to the left to descend some steps.

11 Carry on along a level path through a woodland corridor until you come to a gate in the wall. Go through this gate and follow the route downhill to join the forestry track in Snipes Dene.

12 Turn right as you reach the track and follow a hairpin bend left.

13 Continue on this track for 400m then take the narrow path to your left, downhill into Snipes Dene Wood. At the bottom turn right down a steep hill.

14 As you spot the river Derwent the path turns left and opens out on to a wider stone track. Turn right down the first narrower path through a conifer plantation. As you emerge from the woodland you'll see Lady Haugh field to your left.

15 Follow the riverside path and after about 300m you'll come to the biggest oak tree at Gibside. Turn left here and walk across Lady Haugh field to the left-hand side of the now ruined hall. Climb up the steps beside the hall's service wing.

16 Emerge on to the avenue and walk halfway back to the chapel. Take some steps down to follow a path to the greenhouse which is missing its glass.

17 Go through the greenhouse and follow the Victorian shrubbery back to the avenue, then turn right and walk back towards the chapel at the start of the avenue.

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Publication Date: Sat, 12 May 2012 23:44:01 GMT
Source: The Guardian
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