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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

  • During September 2014 seven days a week from 9am - 6pm 
  • During October 2014 seven days a week from 10a.m - 4p.m
  • During November and December 2014 weekends only from 10a.m - 4p.m

Admission to the visitor centre is free, small voluntary charge for the car park.Small admission charge to some events as advertised.


Monday, September 1 - Tuesday, September 30

Simon Wilson and Trevor Craggs. These two local artists have come together to create September's spectacular exhibition. Simon is a self-taught artist who draws his inspiration from the North Pennines landscape. Unlike Simon, Trevor studied art in Newcastle in the late seventies and went straight into a 20-year career as a graphic artist. After feeling the need to devleop his passion Trevor returned to university to study a BA (hns) in Fine Arts.

The exhibition is open daily and entry is free

Saturday, September 27 - Dreaming the land storywalk and storytelling evening


Sunday, October 19 - Craft Fair Goodsyard Craft and Collectors

10.30a.m - 3.30p.m

Thursday, October 23 - Photographing the Stars

Local astronomer Graham Relf will be displaying his spectacular photographs of the stars and explaining how to get started with night sky photography. If the sky is clear we will make the most of the star gazing opportunities so bring binoculars and telescopes if you have them.

This event is suitable for ages 8 and over.

Adults £5 Students £1 Children under 16 Free

Saturday, October 25 - Basic Composition and Camera Craft

Aimed at participants with little knowledge this course will consider basic composition and will have a strong proctical element. Particiapnts should have a DSLR, Bridge camera or compact camera which can be adjusted manually. Booking Essential Tel: 01833 622374 for more details and to book

Friday, October 31 - Halloween Spooktacular

12p.m - 5p.m

Come and get ready for your trick or treating! Your ticket includes having your face painted, a pumpkin which we will help you to carve it into a spooky lantern and lots of other Halloween fun and games. Please bring a torch with you.

Children £3.50 to include a pumpkin, face painting and all crafts and games

Adults Free

Saturday, November 15 - Wild Autumn

Saturday, December 15 - Winter Wonderland

More events will be added throughout the year. For more information contact 01833 622145 or 01388 528801.

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 and the Bowlees Baa Baa Burger.


The shop sells a range of maps, guidebooks and souvenirs together with nature inspired gifts and locally-made produce which this season includes delicious preserves from Just William, wildflower and heather honey from Tees View, recycled wooden gifts from Two Hearts and dressings and chutneys from Wildon Grange and Carwinley Preserves.


An upstairs gallery provides an exhibiton space for local artists and photographers. The current exhibiton which runs until the end of September features local artists Simon Wilson and Treveor Cragg who have taken their inspiration from the North Pennines landscape. 

If you are interested in hiring our gallery space for an exhibition please contact Nic Cullens on 00833 622145  or email for further details.

Childrens' activities are available all year round - come and make a badge of a finger puppet 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.


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