Countless famous writers have praised the beauty, calm and restorative effects of the countryside on the human spirit. And in this gloriously hot summer, even here in the cooler North East, where better to enjoy some peace than in our own idyllic surroundings? The Heritage Lottery-funded Living Wild project at Kielder aims to bring Kielder Water & Forest Park’s amazing wildlife and countryside to life for visitors and residents, helping them to enjoy, learn, share and immerse themselves in nature whilst also contributing to the long-term protection of the area’s special animals and plants.
Head to the beautiful Kielder Water & Forest Park and immerse yourself in some wonderful free and low-cost countryside activities that you won’t be able to experience anywhere else.
Osprey Watch at Kielder Waterside on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays, from 10.30am – 5pm and on Wednesdays too during July and August. In the Osprey Watch cabin you can view the fantastic birds with their chicks unobtrusively on their nests using powerful binoculars and webcams, and with expert volunteers on hand to give you the latest updates and information. – FREE
Red squirrels – Around 50% of England’s native red squirrel population live within Kielder and you can learn about them at Kielder Castle’s exhibition, where there’s also a squirrel hide overlooking native woodland. – FREE
For a more in-depth experience try the red squirrel safari at Kielder on 20 August at 10.00am – 11.30am – £5 per ticket
Fishing is often referred to as one of the most peaceful occupations and with over 2,000 acres of water to explore at Kielder, you could try a different spot every time. The huge lake offers fishing for both enthusiasts and competition anglers alike with a fleet of 15 fully equipped motor boats. You’ll need to purchase permits or a fishing starter pack.
The Creepy Crawlies Show takes place twice every Tuesday evening, at 5pm – 6.30 pm and 7pm – 8.30 pm at Calvert Trust Kielder until 28 August. Get up close to learn all about some of the wonderful, native creepy crawlies – if you feel brave enough you can even hold them. – £5 per person
Bakethin Nature Reserve includes a wildlife hide, lake and walks and it’s open all day every day all year long. Watch wildlife, birds and plants or enjoy beautiful nature walks through the trees. Explore the mossy forest floor, spot water creatures from the pond platform, see strange, gnarled lichens clinging to the branches, and search for signs of squirrels amongst the pine trees.
Why not stroll through the treetops on your way to enjoy the views from the top of Kielder Viaduct? Or go geocaching here – free GPS treasure hunting – sign up at www.geocaching.com – FREE
Wildlife and Osprey Motor Boat Cruises are a wonderful way to view the beautiful countryside and wildlife at Kielder. They run on Wednesday evenings and Sunday afternoons from July until mid-August. Whilst out on the water, guides will explain all you need to know on the amazing British animals and birds who have made this place their home. An osprey or two may even fly above you – £23 per person
The Highway Rat trail will entertain little children for hours. Discover all the wonders of the forest as you head on a journey with The Highway Rat and all the characters from the story. Go in search of 10 Highway Rat-themed panels, each with fun facts and activities to try. As you go, look out for characters from the story, complete four rubbings and take your picture with the life-sized Highway Rat 'Wanted' poster! – Purchase a Highway Rat activity pack for £3 or visit www.forestry.gov.uk/highwayrat for more information
The Lakeside Way is multi-user track encircling Kielder Water's 27 mile shoreline. Suitable for walkers, cyclists, horse riders, mobility scooters and wheelchair users. It gives access to the most scenic parts of the lake shore and offers visitors to Kielder Water & Forest Park a lovely, unique experience in all weathers. – FREE
Kielder Salmon Centre is re-opening after major refurbishment in mid-August. It’s close to Kielder Castle, is the largest conservation hatchery in England and Wales, and it’s where the Environment Agency grows fish to stock rivers and lakes in the north of England. Up to 900,000 salmon are successfully bred here each year. Drop into the hatchery's visitor centre and discover the fascinating life cycle of the salmon and even see how the fresh water pearl mussel breeding beds help save one of the UK's most endangered species. – FREE
Ratty Ramble! Don’t miss the Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s Ratty Ramble at Kielder on 30 August this year from 10am – 12pm! After meeting at Kielder Castle, you’ll be given an informal talk on the ‘Restoring Ratty’ project before look for signs of the recently released water voles in the forest – you may even see a live one. – Tickets £3 per person
For more information on any of the activities listed above visit www.visitkielder.com