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.

You can find out more about Chopwell Wood and the Friends on the new Facebook site Friends of Chopwell Wood”

Our “Citizen Science” project has “bagged” £2000 from the Tesco funding scheme. The project will involve families finding out how to do surveys of birds/bugs/trees in the wood and learning how to create wildlife habitats. Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch the Bags of Help funding which is supported by the money from the 5p charge on carrier bags. Thank you to all who voted for us.

Find out more at –  www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp

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


Badgers are a protected species and anyone found guilty of harming them or their habitats could be sent to prison for up to 6 months and face an unlimited fine.

The Oak Leaf sculpture was removed from the woodland in mid September.  After 16 years it was rotting in places and a safety inspection found it was becoming unsafe. We will be commissioning new sculptures for the woodland in 2017/18.

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

MAIN CAR PARK – High-sided vehicles and horseboxes should turn immediately left when entering the car park and then follow the loop road right. Park in the rear bay furthest away from the overhead power cables, park in such a way that you can then continue on to 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