Feel Good

November’s walk of the month: Kielder Forest Skyspace

In the month we begin celebrating 10 years of Northumberland holding International Dark Sky Park status, we discover a walking trail that promises to show off the stars and stop time in its tracks…

Written by Becky Hardy
Published 04.11.2023

Distance: 2.6 miles

Elevation: 472 feet

Time: 1 – 1.5 hours

 

GETTING THERE

The trailhead for the Kielder Forest Skyspace walk can be found just 0.3 miles south of the petrol station in Kielder, at the car park on the right.

THE WALK

It gets to the start of November and it seems you suddenly start hearing people cry “how fast is the time going?!” from all sides. Us included.

Time really is flying, with Christmas seemingly just around the corner. But what if, just for a day, we could press pause on time.

Kinda. Internationally renowned artist James Turrell created an art installation back in 2000 that plays with our perception of light, space and, therefore, time. And this walk of the month takes just the route to discover its permanent home: nestled within the woodland and underneath the brightest of stars at Kielder Forest.

Speaking of stars, there’s no better time to come out stargazing in this nook of Northumberland. Now the clocks have gone back, November is the start of peak telescope season: with longer, darker and clearer nights making the constellations above our heads blaze brighter than ever.

Kielder forest walk

Plus, this month celebrates 10 years of Northumberland’s star attraction – as it’s a decade since the area first became a designated International Dark Sky Park, so keep your eyes peeled on Visit Northumberland’s website for more information about the exhibitions, events and activities taking place over the next few weeks that coincide with this special celebration.

As for this walk, it may be short but it sure is relaxing. You’ll tread uphill through the beautiful woodlands of Kielder Forest to reach the top of Cat Cairn (where the Kielder Forest Skyspace installation is to be found), and look out over a sprawling landscape before you.

HLN Hint: The walk is short, but it is fairly steep in places, so isn’t the best route for anyone with additional accessibility needs. For those taking on the trail, remember to wear comfortable walking boots as the terrain is uneven in places.

Kielder forest walk

THE ROUTE

Setting out from the trailhead, make your way to the north-west through the forest, following along the winding lane for 0.6 miles as it climbs uphill to arrive at a junction.

Passing straight through, continue along the road for another 0.7 miles, enjoying the serene woodland setting surrounding you before arriving at the endpoint of the walk at Cat Cairn.

Here, you’ll discover the Kielder Forest Skyspace: James Turrell’s art installation that alters the viewer’s perception of space and light, which has to be seen to be believed. The best time to arrive at the installation is around dusk.

After visiting the site, turn back and retrace your steps down the hillside, following the winding road on the return to the car park.

MORE INFORMATION

For more information about the Kielder Forest Skyscape walk or for more walking inspo across Northumberland, visit the 10 Adventures website

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