Turns out there are many famous places in the North of England that I haven’t heard of. Gibside is a place on that list. I will admit I am still a bit dubious about visiting indoor sites. Luckily, outdoor areas are not in short supply. Sadly, it is not free to visit. But the National Trust keep the area looking wonderful.
Armed with a map, I chose the green route because it seemed to cover most of the park. After paying £12, I wanted to be sure I didn’t waste any time exploring. The area itself is really well sign posted so you have little chance of getting lost.
I headed away from the avenue, down a hidden path. Leading me away from the small crowd of mini humans and into the forest. The sun was seeping through the trees in the early morning light. The steps were a bit muddy but that didn’t stop me, I was on the search for deer and once again … otters. The hill wasn’t steep for long and it flattened out as I turned to join the river. It is such a peaceful place to visit, except the day I visited they decided to cut the grass. This turned out to be lucky because I managed to spot a bright blue Kingfisher! He was in the middle of fishing for lunch when I spotted him. It is very rare to spot one in the UK. I guess he saw my blue fur and thought I was another kingfisher!
I also managed to find a bright red dragonfly sitting on a stone in the sun. My photographer was fast enough to take a photograph of the dragonfly, unlike the kingfisher. There were also various types of butterfly flying around in the sunshine. I chose to leave the animals in peace and follow the trail back into the woods. I was pleased to find some shade as the UK has had some very warm days recently.
The track through the wooded area was a lot better than the first part of my walk. But, as I had gone downhill towards the river, I now had to go up hill. Luckily there were lots of places to sit and enjoy the views of nature. The entire area was so tranquil and quiet. I haven’t felt so peaceful for a long time. I could have sat among the trees for hours. As I was walking through the woods I came across a building. Of course, I had to go in and see what was there! The building turned out to be a bird hide. Which was lucky enough to have an abundance of birds playing about nearby. My favourite was the pheasant who was running about.
I could have stayed for hours, but I decided to head off so my photographer could go and photograph the ferns in the sunlight. Leaving my photographer behind, I headed towards a pond which has a great view of the banqueting house. You can stay there but I think it would be a bit creepy, especially at night.
From the pond I could see a patch of purple. Here in the UK we are in the middle of Heather season, which I love. Whilst making my way towards it I met a friendly volunteer who told me I would meet some animals while I was there. Butterflies love Heather as much as I do. It would have been a great spot for a picnic.
As I headed back to find some lunch I spotted a small deer in the woods. The deer did a great job of scaring my photographer.
The cafe near the walled garden was really busy. So I decided to take my coffee and jacket potato to a quiet area near the avenue.
After eating I chose to head to some of the areas aimed at children. Had it not been so busy, my photographer and I would have tried out the low ropes challenge. But instead I chose to head away from the crowds.
The West Wood was a lot quieter than anywhere else in the park. It was also the most photographic area which I found. If you’re lucky you might even spot a snoozing hare!
Further round the path I spotted a big deer. But unlike the others it didn’t run away. He seemed to be guarding some wooden teepees. I didn’t make one though I did try a few out for size.
Realising I had walked 7 miles and was getting tired. I decided to head back to my car. Since my adventure here, I joined the National Trust and can’t wait to come back and explore the parts I missed.
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