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 Bowlees Visitor Centre

Bowlees is a fantastic base for exploring Upper Teesdale, with footpath links to Low Force, High Force, Newbiggin and the Pennine Way.  

The visitor centre, which lies just off the B6277 between Middleton in Teesdale and Alston, was reopened by the North Pennines AONB Partnership in June 2013. The building is a former Primitive Methodist Chapel which was built in 1845 and remodelled several times over the years. It is shown on an OS map dated 1860 but lying east /west rather than north/south. There is a re-set inscription stone in the current building which dates it to 1868 and the OS map of 1897 shows the outline of the building as it is today. It was last used as a chapel in 1968.

Bowlees Visitor Centre, Newbiggin, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham   DL12 0XF

Tel: 01833 622145 


If the centre is closed please contact the AONB Partnership staff unit on 01388 528801 or email

Opening times

Until May 2, 10a.m - 4pm

May 2 - September 27, 10am - 5pm

September 28 - November 1, 10am - 4pm

November 2 - March 2016 closed season apart from

Goodsyard Craft and Christmas Craft and Collectors Fair and Christas Shopping event on 7 and 8 November 11am - 3pm

Bowlees Winter Wonderland Event on December 5 and 6  12-4pm

Events in 2015

Whether you like art and craft, family fun or a guided walk in the beautiful landscape of Upper Teesdale there is something here for everyone

Volunteering Opportunities

Landscape lovers, wildlife watchers, walkers, craftspeople and anyone who wants to learn new skills or teach old ones are being encouraged to become part of the team. We would love to hear from you if you think you could help us with educational visits, activities or staffing the centre.

For further details contact Nic Cullens or download the



Tel: 01833 622145 


Bowlees Visitor centre provides information and displays on the geology and landscape, wildlife and people of Upper Teesdale, and the AONB. 

Car parking (small voluntary charge) is available at the nearby picnic area. Accessible parking and an electric car charging point are available in front of the centre. Toilets (including an accessible toilet) are available at the centre when open. 

The centre has an upstairs room which can be booked for meetings and courses. Please get in touch to discuss your requirements.

Cafe 1618 @ Bowlees

Serves teas, homemade produce and other delicious refreshments including the Teesdale Lead Miners' Pasty.


The shop sells a range of maps, guidebooks and souvenirs together with nature inspired gifts and locally-made produce which this season includes delicious Weardale cheese, lamb from Upper Teesdale, wildflower and heather honey from Tees View, recycled wooden gifts from Two Hearts, hand sewn gifts from Rosie Bee, felted items from Ellie Langley and dressings and chutneys from Wildon Grange to name but a few.


An upstairs gallery provides an exhibiton space for local artists and photographers as well as a hireable meeting space.

If you are interested in hiring our gallery space for an exhibition please contact Nic Cullens on 01833 622145  or email for further details.

Childrens' activities are available all year round - come and make a badge to remind you of your visit to the North Pennines or investigate the rocks and fossils in our Rock Box. Just ask at reception for further details. Children's activties run each Wednesday during the school holidays. Look on our events page for further details. £3 per child, adults free.

Electric Bike Hire

The Centre is a Hire and a Charge Point in the North Pennines Electric Bike Network. Two electric bikes are available for hire - a great way to discover the North Pennines and make those hills a little bit easier on the muscles.

  • Hire charges - £25 per day (up to 24hrs), £15 per half day (up to 4 hours), £5 for an hour, discounts are available for multi-day hire.
  • There are 11 Hire Points in the Network and over 20 Charge Points
  • Advance booking is advisible - you'll need to leave a deposit and photo ID.
  • Follow the network on Twitter @NPElectricBikes
  • Full details are available, together with downloadable route maps, from the North Pennines Electric Bike Network website.


Upper Teesdale provides a wealth of opportunities for learning outside the classroom. Contact Nic Cullens on 00833 622145  or email for further details.

Birthday Parties

Bowlees is an ideal place to celebrate a birthday whatever your age. With a range of outdoor activities to choose from and a party tea included, if you would like a birthday party with a difference, Bowlees is the place for you. Activites can include campfire cookery or pizza making in our wood fired oven as well as river dipping, bug hunting and fossil making.

Pizza Oven Hire

Did you know that our wood fired pizza oven is available for hire? Call us to discuss prices and packages. We can also hire out butter and cheese making equipment and an apple press. Contact us for more details.

Other places to visit nearby

There is plenty to do in Upper Teesdale.

Within walking distance:

Within 30 minutes drive:

Eating and drinking

At Cafe1618@ Bowlees you can get coffees, teas and cold drinks, cakes and light meals, but there are plenty of other places to eat and drink in Upper Teesdale. There are hotels at High Force and Langdon Beck and a variety of cafes in Middleton-in-Teesdale

Staying nearby

If you are looking to stay in Teesdale a bit longer there are lots of places within a short drive which will offer Bed and Breakfast accommodation.  Look out for B&Bs with a Green Tourism (GTBS) accreditation!

View of the waterfall at Gibson's Cave, near Bowlees
Logos - This image contains the North Pennine Dales funding logos 
Walking through hay meadows along the Pennine Way National Trail in Teesdale
High Force waterfall in Upper Teesdale