Where to Watch Kites

The Main Kite Watching Area – Lower Derwent Valley, Gateshead

Birdwatchers at Derwenthaugh Park
Walkers

There were ninety-four kites released in Gateshead between 2004 and 2006. Kites released in 2004 have yellow and pink wing tags, those released in 2005 have orange and pink wing tags and kites released in 2006 have green and pink wing tags. Kites born in the northeast in 2007 were fitted with purple and pink wing tags, Kites born in the northeast in 2008 were fitted with black and pink wing tags.  Kites born in the northeast in 2009 were fitted with pink tags on both right and left wings.

As of July 2009 kites were most easily seen between Burnopfield and Rowlands Gill, and from there, across Barlow Fell to Barlow and Winlaton. Kites were noted on a daily basis over Rowlands Gill and the National Trusts Gibside Estate.  They were frequently seen over Barlow Fell and in the Barlow Burn (the main wintering location for the birds).

Please ensure that any sightings of kites (with wing tag numbers if possible) and any observations of interesting behaviour are relayed back to the Chairman of the Friends of Red Kites, email:  [email protected]

Grid Reference: NZ168587
How to get there: From the A1 - take either of the two turn-offs north of the Gateshead MetroCentre, the first for Swalwell, or the second for Blaydon, follow the signs for the A694, signposted for Consett.  Head south along the A694 for approximately 3.5 km, into Rowlands Gill. 

The Red Kite Bus
The Red Kite Bus!

Catch the ‘Red Kite’ bus!
To reach the main kite watching area by bus, Catch Go North East's 'Red Kite' bus service (45, 46 & 46A) from Newcastle’s Eldon Square Interchange, Central Station or from the MetroCentre Interchange.   

For further information about the 'Red Kite' bus service please visit: www.simplygo.com or contact Go North East customer services on 0845 606 0260.

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Barlow and Barlow Fell, Gateshead

One of the best stop-off points to see kites is the Black Horse public house car park, at Barlow village. This location gives a good overview of the Barlow Burn (a small valley running parallel to the Derwent valley). Drive to the back of the pub car park and scan across the valley to see kites.  Barlow Fell lies between Barlow village and Rowlands Gill.

Grid Reference: NZ156609 (Black Horse pub, Barlow)
How to get there: Barlow village is located south of Winlaton.  From Rowlands Gill - turn right from A694, up Hollin Hill Lane (a small, winding country lane, signposted for Thornley Nursery and Thornley Bank Kennels).  Past the kennels, turn left at Ashtree Lane and then right on to Barlow Fell Road to get to Barlow village (approx.1.5km).  Turn right into the village for the Black Horse pub, which opens at 3 pm on Saturdays.

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Derwent Walk Country Park, Gateshead

The Derwent Walk Country Park is very good for watching kites, especially around the Lockhaugh area (try the Far Pasture hide, keys are available from the Thornley Woodlands Centre Tel. 01207 545212) and the Nine Arches Viaduct.  The Thornley Woodlands Centre has up to date information on kite activities and whereabouts. 

Grid Reference: NZ172592
How to get there:  Access to the Derwent Walk Country Park is available from several car parks and the Thornley Woodlands Centre, all located along the A694 between Swalwell and Rowlands Gill. 

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Gibside Estate, National Trust, Gateshead

Red Kites flying over Gibside
Red Kites

The Gibside Estate is excellent for seeing kites.  The estate is open 7 days a week (opening times 10am - 4pm Oct to Mar and 10am - 6pm Apr to Sept).  (Tel. Gibside Estate on 01207 541820).  Estate staff have up to date information on kite activities and whereabouts.

Grid Reference: NZ173583
How to get there: Access from B6314 Busty Bank, between the A692 Burnopfield and A694 Rowlands Gill. 

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Fellside Road, Whickham

Fellside Road connects Burnopfield and Whickham.  Kites have been seen regularly along this route near Whickham Golf Course and Cut Thorn Farm. 

Grid Reference: NZ195596 (Whickham Golf Course car park)
How to get there:  Fellside Road connects A692 Burnopfield and Byermoor with B6317 Whickham

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Barnard Castle, Teesdale

Several of the red kites released in Gateshead have settled and successfully bred in woodland near Barnard Castle in Teesdale.  These kites have made the woods between Eggleston and Kinninvie their home and are seen regularly flying around the area. 

Grid Reference: NZ004235 (Eggleston)
How to get there: From Barnard Castle take B6278 northwest to Eggleston.  Kinninvie lies to the east of Eggleston on the B6279.

To find public transport information on how to reach any of the places mentioned above telephone Traveline: 0870 6082608

Please ensure that any sightings of kites (with wing tag numbers if possible) and any observations of interesting behaviour are relayed back to the Project Team [email protected] or telephone 0191 4961555.

PLEASE REMEMBER: Whenever watching kites, please consider other people and their needs.  Park considerately, stay on public rights of way and do not access private land without permission.  Always follow the birdwatchers code of conduct and the Countryside Code.

Sherburn Towers Estate Viewpoint, Rowlands Gill, Gateshead

Red Kites flying over Gibside
Red kite interpretation panel and red kite-shaped viewing platform at Sherburn Towers Estate in Rowlands Gill, Gateshead (image copyright Kaleel Zibe)

During the winter months red kites like to roost together and will often return from exploring other areas to settle communally in a winter roost.  The favoured roosting place in Gateshead is situated in woodland near Sherburn Towers Estate in Rowlands Gill, though kites can be seen in this area all year round.

Grid Reference: NZ163593
How to get there: By car: from the A1 follow the A694 to the car park at Derwent Park (on Burnopfield Road, Rowlands Gill) park then walk up to the bus turning circle at the top of the Sherburn Towers housing estate (about 600m).  By bus: if catching the ‘Red Kite’ bus (number 45, 46 or 46A) get off at the Cowen Terrace stop in Rowlands Gill. Then walk up to the viewpoint.

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© Northern Kites 2008