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Please note that our online payments system will be unavailable on Sunday 10 July between 9.00am and 11.00am. We apologise for the inconvenience.

Visit our countryside

County Durham has some of the most beautiful countryside and coastal landscapes in Britain. It is home to a huge variety of plants and animals, and the area has a fascinating historical and geological heritage.

Countryside events and guided walks

We have something for all tastes in our countryside programme. Come and explore with us through a variety of activities or find out more about our Guided countryside walks (from one mile easy strolls to 15 mile hikes).

Where can I visit?

There are many countryside sites available to visit depending on what your interests are.

  • Country parks - larger sites with walking routes, wildlife and picnic areas
  • Picnic areas‚Äč - ideal places to get some fresh air and have a break
  • Nature reserves - the place to go to watch wildlife and see conservation in action.  Habitats vary from woodland to grassland, heathland to coastal meadows
  • Railway paths - 120km of linear routes which are perfect for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders. Form essential wildlife corridors and dotted with historic features

A bit more about what we do...

  • we look after our country parks, nature reserves, picnic areas and railway paths
  • make sure our sites are safe and well-maintained by carrying out surfacing, drainage and vegetation management
  • constantly develop sites to meet the needs of users and wildlife
  • look after the county's wildlife and biodiversity
  • work with volunteers and community groups
  • promote the countryside through events and guided walks
  • run environmental education sessions

Countryside volunteering

If you want to help us look after the countryside, there are many opportunities for you to get involved in. These include: 

  • practical work repairing paths, mending fences and clearing vegetation
  • helping with guided walks and events
  • checking countryside sites and footpaths
  • reporting any problems
  • help at Hardwick Park (visitor centre, education sessions, birthday parties)
  • help with fundraising and office work
  • corporate and community volunteering
  • informal opportunities such as litter picking or 'balsam bashing' while out walking

Volunteering is a great way to learn new skills, make new friends and get fit. Everyone is welcome and no prior experience is necessary.

Durham Countryside Volunteers on Facebook - get the latest news and photos about our work with volunteers and wildlife sightings. We'll share links we think you might like and you can share your pictures and experiences of Durham's countryside with us.


Contact us
Countryside Service
03000 264 589