Bowlees Visitor Centre
OS grid reference:- NY 907 282
The Bowlees Visitor Centre near the town of Newbiggin in Teesdale provides an excellent base for exploring the beautiful Upper Teesdale valley. The visitor brntre also provides footpath links to the impressive waterfalls of Low Force and its sister High Force, in addition to Newbiggin and the Pennine Way Long Distance Trail.
The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership restored and reopened the centre in a former Methodist chapel in June 2013. It offers information and interesting displays on the geology and landscape, the wildlife and people of Upper Teesdale and the wider North Pennines.
The centre offers acres of accessible countryside, miles of quiet rural roads, an abundance of wildlife and one of the best places in Britain to enjoy the night sky. Situated amidst stunning woodland in Teesdale and surrounded by rolling fields boasting some of the best hay meadows in England, Bowlees Visitor Centre provides all that is needed to make your visit to the North Pennines a memorable one.
The cafe sells a delicious range of food and drinks and the shop stocks nature inspired gifts and books. Events are hosted at Bowlees throughout the summer months.
Visitors to the centre can follow the Richard Watson Trail from the Centre - a 2¾-mile circular route exploring the life and times of Richard Watson, a Victorian lead miner and poet. The most popular walk is probably the High Force-Low Force Round.
Admission to the centre is free and there is ample parking in the donate and display car park, together with an electric car charging point and toilets.
Bowlees Picnic Area
Bowlees picnic area is located in a beautiful part of Upper Teesdale. There are four small waterfalls and a riverside footpath leading to Summerhill Force and Gibson's Cave; Gibson was a sixteenth century outlaw who lived behind the waterfall to remain hidden from the law.
Look for the white breast of the dipper bobbing in and out of the water searching for food or the buzzard soaring above your head. The old limestone quarry contains many limestone-loving wildflowers, including seven species of orchids, knapweed and wild thyme. These plants attract butterflies and other insects, which are prey for magnificent dragonflies.
Bowlees Visitor Centre Dark Sky Discovery Site
Designated as a Dark Sky Discovery Site, Bowlees Visitor Centre has been recognised for the quality of its dark night skies. This is a great place for professional and amateur astronomers to stargaze.
Images courtesy of Paul Johnson
The Bowlees Visitor Centre is off the B 6277 road.