Places for outdoor walks in Teesside - North of the Tees

Boost your wellbeing by meandering through some of our beautiful green spaces in Teesside. North of the river – Stockton-on-Tees, including Billingham, Hartlepool, Norton area

There are many physical and mental health benefits from taking part in physical activity!

Participating in light exercise outdoors not only helps with our physical wellbeing but also our mental wellbeing. Help lower blood pressure, strengthen bones and muscle whilst supporting digestion and boosting the immune system. As people get older, more of us experience back pain due to our joints becoming less agile and conditions which affect the nerves in the spinal region can occur, causing problems like Sciatica. Walking a little amount daily can help alleviate these symptoms and help the body produce its own natural pain killer, endorphins, and can help reduce inflammation. For those with conditions like Rheumatoid arthritis, taking a walk early morning to start off the day can help ease the stiffness experienced in the joints. People living with dementia could benefit from a short daily morning walk to help prevent the occurrence of sundown behaviour, also helping people feel more cheerful and alert, ready to face the day and reduce restlessness.

Walking can improve our mental health too. Getting out into nature and discovering new and beautiful places can help reduce anxiety, improve our self-esteem and keep our minds active and keep people engaged, especially when spending that time with others whilst walking.

River Tees Circular – starting from the Tees Barrage.

This glorious route takes you alongside the River Tees on both sides. Starting your journey from the White-Water sports centre at the Tees Barrage, part of the newly formed Tees Barrage Park, you may see some action on the white-water rafting course itself. As you set off on your route down the river towards Newport Bridge, you will witness the nearby nature reserves on both sides of the river, both managed by the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust. This route is well used by both walkers and cyclists so please be aware whilst on the route and watch out for fellow explorers. The Tees Barrage itself is an incredible asset to Teesside, costing a mega £55million to build, it opened on 22 April 1995 and was inaugurated on 17 July the same year by the Duke of Edinburgh himself.

As you reach the Newport Bridge, a spectacular example of the extraordinary masterpieces built by the famous Middlesbrough-based firm Doorman Long, the same firm who constructed the Sydney Harbour Bridge two years earlier. You cross the bridge to return along the opposite side of the river in the opposite direction traveling back towards the Barrage on the south side of the river where you will discover “Maze Park”. If you are feeling energetic enough you can climb one of the landscaped mounds to enjoy fantastic panoramic views across Teesside, enjoying the wildflower meadows and abundance of wildlife.

For those who are not as mobile there is a paved walkway which continues along the route avoiding the more difficult terrain.

As you make your way back to the Tees Barrage why not indulge in a lovely pub lunch or a cold beverage at the Beefeater Pub at the top of the bank overlooking the magnificent water course.

Wynyard Woodland park – Billingham

Formally known as Castle Eden Walkway, the newly named Wynyard Woodland Park navigates a fantastic woodland trail located on a former railway line. The main route has well maintained pathways accessible to walkers, cyclists and even horses. Journey through woodland, meadows, under bridges and if your feeling adventurous you can choose to take one of the winding paths off the main route, through the dense forest to discover the abundance of wildlife residing here including wild birds such as goldcrests, owls, and coal tits.  Explore this walk through the different seasons to experience the ever-changing scenery and take in the breath-taking ambience it creates.

To start your walk, you can enter from either end of the woodland, at the top end you will find the A689 at Wynyard Village and at the other end you will find the old station house, where you can enjoy a hot cup of tea and a scone or a spot of lunch. The café has a seating area out the back where you can sit with dogs or if it’s a beautiful sunny day.  Nearby is the Children’s adventure playpark which has been extensively expanded in recent years and has an array of activities to suit all ages and abilities. The planetarium also stands proud and on a dark clear night the sky is a beautiful sight to behold.

Ward Jackson Park - Hartlepool

Ward Jackson park, located on the westerly end of Elwick Road, holds the title of one of the most original parks in the North East region. Named after one of Hartlepool’s founders, Ralph Ward Jackson, a British railway promoter, entrepreneur and politician, the park is listed in the National Register of Historic Parks & Gardens due to its collection of Victorian and Edwardian features. The park boasts a splendid Victorian landscape with a magnificent lake, water fountain and flower gardens with facilities like bowls, angling, putting and even band concerts to entertain its visiting admirers.

If you would like to experience the more wild side of the Park you can visit the Woodland Walk to take in the views of its fascinating wildlife. After all of the excitement and walking you can rest your legs and enjoy a lovely cuppa in “The Place in the Park” and get a little bite to eat.

SummerHill Country Park – Hartlepool

A unique 100 acre site with its own visitor centre which runs many family activities including archery, rock climbing, orienteering, nature study and crafts for groups and the general public.

The park boasts one of the largest boulder parks in Europe and a BMX Cycling course, but for those less agile they offer mobility scooter hire (bookable in advance).

Take a stroll and admire the sculptures around the park, situated in an array of scenic landscapes. You can enjoy admiring ponds from the specialist viewing platforms and take the opportunity for a beverage in the Liberty Café.

The park has a large free car park with toilet facilities and a visitor centre

please visit www.summerhillcountrycafe.com for further details.

Burn Valley Family wood – Hartlepool

At the towns centre you will find this hidden gem, the beautiful green corridor connects the towns centre with Summerhill and the vast countryside to the west of the town. Burn Valley Gardens can be accessed from the eastern entrance located on York Road, or by its western entrance situated at Catcote Road and Elwick Road and is within walking distance from Ward Jackson Park. The walk has been developed over the years, creating a more scenic area which includes wetlands and winding watercourses to entice more wildlife to the area and provide a wonderful green space for the community to enjoy.

Copwen Bewely Woodland Park - Billingham

A relatively new area of woodland located on the boundary of Billingham, the site has been reclaimed from a former brickworks, landfill and agricultural land. Still growing as development continues, this site has an array of habitats for a variety of wildlife species to enjoy.  The woodland spans a considerable area with over 300,000 trees planted in the 1990’s. In the middle of Teesside’s industrial landscape this oasis of nature has little sign of its industrial heritage and is now a thriving wildlife haven. Cowpen Bewley Woodland Park features a series of bodies of water with becks flowing around its perimeter and boasts  over 80 species of bird with waterfowl, newts, toads and dragonflies living in harmony around its series of lakes and ponds along with its mammal inhabitants such as foxes, hares and other small creatures all calling this magnificent area their home.

The work on footpaths up to and around the site have been extensively improved to allow access to the mounds allowing people to experience the spectacular panoramic views on offer. Looking out you can see the breath-taking Cleveland hills and views out to the coast.

Whilst there why not pop into the “Knitted Teapot Tearoom” and enjoy some home comforts like a pot of tea and cake (open selected days and times, please check the Facebook group for up to date information). Staffed entirely by volunteers, this community hub is a welcome addition to the woodland.

Ropner Park - Stockton

Originally funded by Major Robert Ropner, the public park was gifted to the park committee in 1890 with the provision that the local council would keep possession on behalf of the local community. The park was officially opened by the Duke and Duchess of York on October 4th 1893.

Since its opening the park has received considerable funding from the heritage lottery of over £2.65 Million which has enabled the park to be restored into its original Victorian style, with its central point displaying a stunning lake with its fountain in full working order and a new bandstand built with a tasteful, original design encompassing the Victorian vibe, the park attracts people from all over to enjoy its spectacular atmosphere. Nearby is the new pavilion which has a café and is ran by the ‘Friends of Ropner Park’ and is open every day. Sit and enjoy watching families enjoy the adventure playground, people strolling around the park or taking dogs for a daily walk, the park has something for everyone to enjoy and regularly hosts events for people to enjoy, including bands playing on the picturesque bandstand.  The park is well maintained and has accessible walkways around its beautiful flower beds, a real gem in Stockton’s crown.

Preston Park – Stockton

Preston Park is located alongside the magnificent River Tees and boasts the former Georgian residence originally built in 1825 by David Burton Fowler. Originating as an agricultural estate comprising of four farms, a quarry, and a brickwork, it was much bigger than it is today. After World War II, the Hall was bought by Stockton Corporation after a sale fell through to a property developer who had hoped to turn it into a housing estate.  Nestled amongst the 100-acre grounds you can wander along the woodland paths now teaming with wildlife including frogs, toads, newts and many small mammals and birds. Sightings of woodpeckers have been reported and the magnificent Tawny Owl. If you love wildlife this walk would be a feast for the soul with rabbits, foxes and even roe deer spotted in the dense woodland.

Preston Park is the type of place you can spend a whole day exploring, whether you bring a picnic to enjoy on the vast grassy banks of the river or making a visit to the café to indulge in some hot chocolate and cream scone, you will not be disappointed with the array of activities on offer and the surroundings to enjoy.

If you intend to explore the woodland a pair of wellies would be advisable, especially in the wetter months. On the circular route around Preston Park, you will come across the Teesside Small Gauge Railway which was formed in the early 90’s by volunteers who had a keen interest for locomotives. The miniature railway includes a small station and ticket office and during the running season, passengers can enjoy riding aboard the train on the horseshoe shaped track and can see both the steam and electric trains in action.

The museum and grounds are mostly accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs and there are accessible toilets including baby change across the site.

In addition to the stunning grounds you can also visit the museum itself, head to our blog Fun Historical Outings in Teesside https://homeinsteadltd.wpengine.com/client/office/cleveland/blog/fun-historical-outings-in-teesside-home-instead-cleveland/  to find out more.

RSPB Salthome – Billingham/Seaton

Situated on the coastal route from Billingham to Seaton Carew, RSPB Salthome has a state-of-the-art visitor centre which boasts panoramic views across its remarkable reserve and a backdrop which hosts the incredible industrial heritage of Teesside’s roots.  Connect to nature, walking the trails which are home to an abundance of species of bird. If you would like a closer look, you can rent an explorer pack from the visitor centre which includes a pair of binoculars to feast your eyes on over 80 different species of bird including the Ruddy Shelduck, Jack Snipe and the sandpiper to name a few.

There is so much to do for all ages at the centre and families can enjoy pod dipping, an adventure zone, and the adventure playground. For those wanting a more relaxed experience, just relaxing on one of the many seating benches to take in the view of tranquil wildlife filled surroundings, will fulfil those needs of escapism from the hectic routines of everyday life.

Entry is free for RSPB members and for others the following prices apply:

Adults: £4

Child (5-18): £2

Under 5’s: free

First child over 5: free

Open every day 10am – 4pm

To find out more of what RSPB Saltholme has to offer please visit:

https://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/reserves-a-z/saltholme/

Billingham Beck Valley country park – Billingham

Spanning 150 acres this wildlife haven hosts a vast array of mixed habitats and nature trails to explore. The nature reserve was originally created in 1982 but was granted the title of a nature reserve in 1992 and is one of Stockton Boroughs most natural wildlife havens situated amongst an urban setting.

There is a network of footpaths creating a variety of routes through the park which interchange and cross in numerous areas which lead to wider areas of countryside, however these can become very wet and muddy in the winter so wellies or another suitable footwear is advised. In very wet months the park does experience flooding which you will need to be aware of before visiting. There is no access to facilities at this reserve, however it is very close to other amenities in Billingham within a short driving distance.

Tees Heritage Park

Combining green spaces along the River Tees between Stockton and Yarm this route explores areas away from the busy territory surrounding it.   Explore wildlife away from the hustle and bustle and wander though vast areas of plentiful heritage and lush landscapes with many places to ret and take in the views.

Along the route you can experience the numerous sites paying homage to our historical origins including Preston Park museum ( read more here https://homeinsteadltd.wpengine.com/client/office/cleveland/blog/fun-historical-outings-in-teesside-home-instead-cleveland/) , Quarry Farm Roman Villa which is one of the northernmost villas in the Roman Empire, discovered in the 1970’s and Stockton and Darlington Railway Heritage where train spotters can admire part of the original track and a short walk not far from Victoria Bridge the river still retains the old wooden staithes originally used for the loading of coal onto boats waiting on the river.

The route boasts a montage of wild environments from ancient woodland to riverbeds, housing different species along the way and whether on a long walk or a short stroll you will enjoy the step into nature the Tees Heritage Park offers.