Jesmond Dene is one of Newcastle's hidden treasures - an oasis of peace minutes from the city centre where you can enjoy nature in an area of unspoilt beauty, shielded from traffic and the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
A narrow wooded valley that follows the Ouseburn stream, Jesmond Dene was once part of an estate owned by Lord Armstrong, a north-east industrialist and inventor. He landscaped the area in the 1860s, planting trees and creating waterfalls, crags and other natural features reflecting the rural setting of the park. These all remain to this day to be enjoyed by walkers and cyclists along the paths running either side of the burn.
Within the Dene there is an open grassy area where families can enjoy picnicking and ball games, and a petting zoo for children with birds, goats, rabbits and alpaca, among other animals. A recent addition is a play area for children near Pet's Corner.
At the Ouseburn Visitors Centre attached to Millfield House at one end of the Dene there is a café for lunch and light refreshments with outdoor seating in the courtyard during fine weather.
Among Jesmond Dene's few buildings is St. Mary's Chapel, Newcastle's oldest religious building. Now in ruins, it was once a site of pilgrimage, attracting visitors from all over the country. There is also a picturesque old water mill and bridges spanning the burn, and a banqueting hall built by Lord Armstrong.
You can follow a self-guided history trail described on the Friends of the Dene website where there is also information about the ongoing upkeep of the park for the benefit of visitors.
Spanning Desmond Dene at an elevated level is Armstrong Bridge which hosts an arts and crafts fair most Sunday mornings, weather permitting.