Discover Kielder's Hidden History
Come and find Kielder Viaduct, a dramatic and historic landmark tucked amongst the trees on the edge of Kielder village. The views of the forest and reservoir from the top are spectacular, and you can walk beneath it to marvel at its soaring skew arches.
This short film - Viaduct Views - celebrates the story of the viaduct and features local people and others who love this monument. The film was devised by David Walmsley and filmed by Visual Punch of Wark as part of the Kielder Viaduct Heritage Project, part funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. With thanks to everyone who took part.
A Gothic spectacular
The viaduct was built in 1862 to extend the toute of the Border Counties railway line into Scotland. But, when the railway company wanted to build it across the River North Tyne in front of the Duke of Northumberland's hunting lodge at Kielder Castle, it is said that he insisted it should reflect the castle's Gothic style. That’s why the viaduct is decorated with battlements and false arrow slits!
Bridging past and present
The railway was built to service the mines and quarries in the North Tyne valley, and soon carried passengers between Hexham and Scotland too. After nearly a hundred years the line closed, but its imprint remains on the landscape and in the minds of valley residents. Today it is a highlight of the 26 mile Lakeside Way and you can enjoy stunning panoramic views of Bakethin Nature Reserve and Kielder Glen from its castellated parapets. It’s also a wonderful place to enjoy our famous dark skies.
Stand on the viaduct in summer and you might be lucky enough to spot an osprey fishing on the reservoir. Click here to hear wildlife volunteer Joanna Dailey talking about the fascination of watching ospreys at Kielder.
Viaduct Ventures - download a fun activity sheet and start exploring!
The Viaduct Ventures activity sheet offers fun suggestions for exploring on, under and around the viaduct at any time. It has two sides, but you only need to take the front page with you on your visit. No pens or pencils are needed - just bagloads of energy and imagination. Try out the activities on the back when you get home or while you're in the Kielder Castle cafe. The sheets can be used in any order, but it will help if you explain to children why the viaduct is there and what's so special about it when you visit. Look out for a different activity sheet here each season.
Cross the viaduct to find eight remarkable panels along its parapet. The decorative ironwork features were specially made for the viaduct in 2004, inspired by illustrations drawn by local community groups and schoolchildren. A spectacular 'Forge In' event was held at Kielder Castle, where 60 blacksmiths from around the country were involved in making the panels over one amazing weekend. Click here to hear blacksmith Stephen Lunn talking about the challenge of gathering enough equipment for all the blacksmiths to use! Find out more about the Forge In on the Kielder Art & Architecture website.
Here's three of the ironwork panels to whet your appetite (courtesy of Bill Cordaroy), along with some picture from the Forge In event. What will you spot on the other five panels?