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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 

Email:  visitbowlees@northpenninesaonb.org.uk

If the centre is closed please contact the AONB Partnership staff unit on 01388 528801 or email info@northpenninesaonb.org.uk

Opening times   

  • During November and December 2014 weekends only from 10a.m - 4p.m
  • The visitor centre is closed between 4 January 2015 and 13 February 2015 and will re-open for the Spring half term holiday.

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

Events

From Saturday October 4

Trevor Craggs and Ann Whitfield

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 and developed an appreciation and interest in sculpture during the many art history lectures. His ceramics are sensitively fired using Ancient Japanese Raku, Smoke or Crystalline techniques.

Ann is a painter living and working in Barnard Castle in Teesdale. Her paintings celebrate the glories of the Northern Landscape. She enjoys wild places, and seeks to convey her delight with an intense colour palette, sometimes enhanced by the use of collage or gold leaf. She works in an experimental way, developing her own techniques.  Her vibrant colours and semi-abstract style combine to give a strong and distinctive personal voice.

The exhibition is open daily and entry is free

Sunday 30th November Christmas Craft Workshops

11a.m-12noon Sew a Christmas Robin

Come along and stitch a cheeky robin red breast to sit on your tree this Christmas. Learn how a few simple stitches and a bit of stuffing can create a chubby bird which will makeyou and your family smile over the festive period. Beginners are welcome including children aged eight and over who must be accompanied by an adult. All materials are provided in a kit included in the cost of the workshop.
The tutor, Maggie Hickman Smith, a well known and experienced artist, author and designer maker, lives in County Durham and has a studio in Darlington.

Cost £5 Booking Essential

Please contact 01833 622145 to book or use our online booking form.

12noon Meet textile artist Sandra Mark

Find out about how she uses the landscape for her inspiration and 'paints with thread'.

1p.m-2p.m Wire and bead Christmas decoration workshop

A fun and creative workshop with tutor Kathryn Guy during which you will design and make two unique wire & bead Christmas decorations. No experience is necessary and all materials will be provided. Kathryn works from home in Whashton, near Richmond, designing and making unique textile jewellery. She also encourages others to explore their creativity through regular classes and day workshops.

Cost £5 Booking Essential

Phone 01833 622145 to book or use our online booking form

2.30p.m-3.30pm Christmas mouse workshop

Join artist Lone Helliwell and create a beautiful lavender filled fabric Christmas mouse to take home. Lone is from Denmark and was taught to sew by her father who was the costume designer for the Royal Danish Ballet. Lone has had a successful career in and enjoys running craft workshops.

Cost £5 Booking essential.

Phone 01833 622145 to book or use our online booking form.

Saturday, December 13 - Winter Wonderland

11a.m to 3pm

Santa will be arriving at 12 and from 11a.m there will be Christmas crafts galore and a Christmassy trail through the grounds.

Cost £5 per child which includes the Christmas trail, all crafts (except wreath making) and a present from Santa. Please contact Danielle on 01388 528801 to book your time slot to see Santa or book at reception on the day.

You might also like to join Anna and Jane our expert wreath makers to make your very own Christmas wreath. Cost £5 to include all materials.

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

BowleesVolunteerRoleDecription.pdf

Email: visitbowlees@northpenninesaonb.org.uk

Tel: 01833 622145 

Information

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.

Retail

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, hand sewn gifts from Rosie Bee and dressings and chutneys from Wildon Grange.

Exhibitions

An upstairs gallery provides an exhibiton space for local artists and photographers. The current exhibiton which runs until the end of the season features local artists Ann Whitfield 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 Nicola@northpenninesaonb.org.uk 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.

Education

Upper Teesdale provides a wealth of opportunities for learning outside the classroom. Contact Nic Cullens on 00833 622145  or email Nicola@northpenninesaonb.org.uk 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