Friends of Chopwell Wood

We are a voluntary community organisation and a registered charity.  Our group is a mix of enthusiastic people, from near and far, who care about and enjoy visiting Chopwell Wood, and are committed to protecting and enhancing the Wood.  You can read more about the group set up and the things we do on the other pages within this site.  If you have not been to Chopwell Wood before then directions to the location are on the ‘How to Find Us’ page.

We need members to join the Committee to help with organising and administration for the group.  You can now also find out more about Chopwell Wood and the Friends on the new Facebook site Friends of Chopwell Wood (FOCW)”.  Come along to the second Open Meeting at Chopwell Community Centre on Tuesday 16th August at 7 pm and get further information. You can also complete our survey on “Survey Monkey website”  Survey will close on 20th August 2016.

Want to help out in the woodland – volunteers can find further information on the Facebook page – “Chopwell Wood volunteers” 


See new SUMMER CLUB sessions for families during the school holidays – go to “What’s On” page.

Please note that there is now a 20 mph speed limit on the access road in Chopwell Wood.

MAIN CAR PARK – Improvement work has been carried out on the left side of the car park. This is to allow high-sided vehicles and horseboxes to drive in via a loop route and park in the rear bay away from the overhead power cables. These vehicles can park in such a way that they can then drive out without having to reverse.  This will improve safety for all. Drivers of other vehicles can help by not using this special bay, but can park in any of the other bays. Thank you.

Chopwell Wood is classified as PAWS  –  Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site

Chopwell Wood is a beautiful mixed conifer and broadleaf woodland, much loved and used by the local community.  Beneath the canopy of the largest woodland in Tyne & Wear a host of animals and plant life thrives.  The site is managed by the Forestry Commission, from offices at Hamsterley and Bellingham, as part of their “North England Forest District”.
The 360 hectares (almost 900 acres) of woodland cover an area on the northern slopes of the Derwent Valley.  It is situated about 10 miles south-west of Gateshead, in the north-east of England.  The Wood is bordered to the north by Garesfield Golf Course, to the east by the villages of High Spen and Rowlands Gill, to the south by the River Derwent, and to the west by the villages of Chopwell and Blackhall Mill.
Conifers are being gradually removed as part of the ongoing programme to return to native trees under the PAWS designation.  When felling work is being carried out signage or taped off sections will help visitors to avoid danger – these areas will be closed under CROW legislation.

When visiting any woodland – help prevent the spread of pests & diseases
Ash Tree Dieback (Chalara fraxinea) has been found at some locations in the UK, and to help prevent the spread we advise all visitors to clean footwear, buggy/bike wheels etc before coming to the wood, and when leaving.  Taking any plants or cuttings from the wood, and putting garden plants into the wood can tranfer diseases each way.  Dumping garden waste in the wood is illegal and can also transfer diseases and invasive species.
Ash trees at Chopwell Wood have been checked for any signs of Chalara, but so far it is good news as all the tests have come back negative.  Some Ash trees have had blackened leaves, but there are other causes for this.  Symptoms of Chalara are described on the Forestry Commission website at  www.forestry.gov.uk/chalara

Search for Chopwell Lumber Jills
The photograph above, taken in 1941 at Jesmond, Newcastle, shows workers from the “Home Grown Timber Department – Division 1”.  Do you know anyone in the photo (click on the photo to open for a larger view) ?   More details are on the “History & Heritage” page, and also on the new website at  http://lumberjills.org