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Kielder Water & Forest Park


Power, Intellectual life

“Kielder is a landscape of superlatives” comprising the largest man-made reservoir in Europe, England’s largest hydro-electric plant and, at 250 square miles, England’s largest forest.

Kielder Water and the managed coniferous forest, on the edge of Northumberland National Park, is hugely significant to both the history of the North East and to conservation, recreation and local economy.

Originally intended to supply water for industry on the Tyne and the Tees, the dam, built between 1975 and 1981, is a huge feat of engineering. The surrounding forest is home to England’s largest surviving colony of native red squirrels – about half of the country’s population. Kielder Water and Forest Park is also known for its water pursuits, walking and cycling routes, mountain bike trails.

In 2008 the Kielder Observatory opened to promote understanding of science. The remote location means this astronomical observatory benefits from the darkest skies in England.

Kielder is also home to an award winning art and architecture programme. This includes the Skyspace, a truly atmospheric sculpture by internationally acclaimed artist James Turrell, comprising a circular room on top of a hill with amazing natural and artificial lighting effects.


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