Do you ever drive by somewhere every day and wonder what it is like? I go past Hedley Hall Woods every day on my way to work and I’ve often thought to myself that I must pay a visit. After searching online, I couldn’t find much information about it, so off we went on a bit of a mystery tour.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned on the blog, but did you know that we’re trying very hard (and mostly failing) to be ‘outdoorsy people?’ We’ve got coats from Mountain Warehouse, walking boots, the lot! We’re not quite at the level of bringing our own flask of tea, though.
Hedley Hall Woods is located between Sunniside and Stanley in North East England. To get there, you have to go down a narrow country road, but there is a good-sized car park that has recently been updated. When we visited, there were only three other cars in the car park, so we basically had the place to ourselves.
The woods is managed by The Woodland Trust and access is free-of-charge. Parking is free too, so it’s a good spot for a cheap morning or afternoon out (I was going to write ‘a free day out’ but I think you’d probably struggle to spend the whole day there!).
We visited during October half-term, expecting to see lots of colours on the trees. However, we were surprised to see just how much green there was. Of course, many trees had created a beautiful carpet of red, yellow, orange and gold leaves, but green was definitely the dominant colour.
No matter what time of year you visit, I think you’re likely to need wellies. Let’s face it, we’re not exactly blessed with tropical weather here in the North East, so I think the ground will probably be quite muddy all year round. For us, this was the perfect walk, as we got to make lots of squelching noises and jump in the muddy puddles while exploring little dens. Thank goodness for all-in-one puddle suits!
If you’re interested in spotting wildlife, a visit to Hedley Hall Woods is definitely a good idea. We spotted lots of interesting insects, a couple of squirrels, lots of birds and there was evidence of moles or other underground-dwellers being there, too. The official Hedley Hall Woods website has information on animals, birds and insects you might find there.
It’s not all woodland, though. We found this fantastic open space at the top of the hill, with views over all the trees. As the trees were still covered in leaves, we admittedly couldn’t see very much, but it was good to be standing at the top of the hill. Cue Zak declaring, “I’m the king of the castle!”
Now that we’re getting close to winter, it was good to see that there was lots of holly growing in abundance in the woods. We noticed one family collecting lots of it – I bet they’ll have an impressive wreath on their door this year. We’re not quite outdoorsy or crafty enough for that sort of endeavour just yet.
So if you’re looking for a free activity in North East England, close to Newcastle and with lots to explore, Hedley Hall Woods is definitely a place I recommend.
If you want to read about other days out that we’ve been on, click here to see posts that you might find interesting.
Name? Hedley Hall Woods
Address? Hedley Lane, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE16 5EQ
Entrance cost? Free
Parking cost? Free
Pram friendly? Not really
Changing facilities? None