Leave Gateshead Metro station by the West Street North exit and follow the ramp to the main road (West Street). Turn left and proceed downhill passing a large sculpture Sports Day by Mike Winstone (1986). Cross over to the other side of the road at the earliest opportunity to pass the old post office, the site of a house where the famous engraver and naturalist Thomas Bewick (1753-1828) lived and died. A short distance further on you pass an ornate clock of 1892 in front of the old Town Hall (1868). Continue downhill, cross the road via the pedestrian lights, go under the railway bridge, turn right, walk under another bridge to reach a road leading to the Tyne Bridge. Turn left, cross the road and descend in the direction of the slip road to pass the Hilton Hotel before arriving at the approach to a low-level bridge, the Swing Bridge (1868-76). Don’t cross the bridge but instead turn left along Pipewellgate and continue ahead passing beneath the High Level Bridge built by Robert Stephenson and Thomas Harrison in 1845-49. Turn right just beyond the blue railings of the premises of Gateshead sea cadets to join the riverside path (A).
Now proceed ahead with splendid views across the Tyne on your right. You may also see some metal sculptures on your left before passing beneath the Queen Elizabeth II Metro Bridge (1976-1980). You pass beneath the King Edward VII Rail Bridge (1902-6) and then the Redheugh Bridge (1980- 83). Some 30 yards after the road bridge, bear left on a narrow path to join a metalled path. Continue in the same direction as the path climbs quite steeply. The path levels off and passes through a green area and into a tree-lined corridor between housing and industrial sites until you reach a road on your left and an entrance to a new housing development, Staithes South Bank on your right (B).
Continue ahead bearing right in the direction of the main road. For the next couple of miles look out for the signs for the Keelman’s Way and Cycleway 14 as you walk through a built-up area but one that is not without its distractions. A considerable amount of new housing is being built along the south bank of the Tyne and there is no access to the river for some considerable distance. You find, for a short while, that you are accompanied by the River Team before it bears right to flow into the Tyne. You pass the Riverside Lodge on your left. Carry on along the pavement passing the Tudor Rose on your right. Shortly after the new Riverside Park housing development, turn right at Dunston Workshops and walk for about 60 yards to the entrance to Jewson’s building materials yard (C).
Take a narrow path on the left immediately before the gates and continue ahead on the cycleway for a few hundred yards to rejoin the pavement at Handy Drive. Soon the River Tyne comes back into view with the Newcastle Business Park, which you will pass on your return journey, on the opposite bank. Turn right and then left along the cycleway as it leaves the roadside again. Continue ahead for a few hundred yards until the path returns to the road at a junction where there is a railway bridge on the other side of the road. Cross the busy road with care and go under the bridge. Turn immediately right and follow the narrow path. The Keelman’s Way passes under two further bridges, with the vast MetroCentre shopping and entertainment complex clearly visible on the left. The path continues through a pleasant tree-lined and green area until it eventually comes adjacent to the Newcastle to Carlisle railway and passes beneath a road bridge. Proceed ahead until you reach a metal footbridge over the River Derwent. (D).
Cross over the bridge, then turn immediately left to descend a short flight of steps (alternatively use the ramp a short distance ahead) and turn sharp left to pass under the bridge and arrive at the riverside. Scotswood Bridge, which you will use to cross over the Tyne, is clearly visible ahead. Continue along the bank of the Tyne, walk over the slipway and detour a short way past the marina service outlets on your right before returning to the riverside. Continue for a few hundred yards and then bear left for “Newcastle via Scotswood Bridge”. Proceed up the ramp and walk across the bridge. An information board gives some details about its history (E).
Follow the pavement as it bears right to arrive at a footbridge. Go up the ramp and cross to the other side of the road. At the end of the bridge at a junction of paths turn right to follow Cycleway 72 which will take you back to the quayside in Newcastle. The metalled path goes through a pleasant green area, once the site of terraces of houses leading down to Newcastle’s famous Scotswood Road. Eventually the cycleway joins the pavement alongside the road. Continue in the same direction taking care while crossing Whitehouse Road. Walk ahead for a few hundred yards until you reach some traffic lights. Turn right and cross over the road to enter William Armstrong Drive with the Newcastle Business Park on your left. Follow the road for about 400 yards as it descends towards the river to arrive at a Royal Bank of Scotland milepost. Here there is also the first of a series of information boards about Lord Armstrong, his engineering works and the industrial heritage of the Scotswood-Elswick area (F).
Take the right-hand fork to join the riverside walkway. Continue from here and enjoy the views. Ahead on the horizon, to the right of a tall block of flats, you may even be able to see the outstretched wings of Antony Gormley’s famous sculpture Angel of the North. You pass several information boards, sculptures and seats and you have the possibility of refreshments at the Bar Escape. Eventually the bridges come back into view and when you reach the Metro Bridge, a short distance before the Copthorne Hotel, you need to leave the riverside and turn left in the direction “Central Station”. Cross the road with care and climb the steep Forth Banks. Bear left at the top to go under a bridge where half-way under you will find a pedestrian crossing. Cross the road with great care, turn left and then turn right to walk up Central Parkway. On your left is the Centre for Life with its genetics, science and education resources. At the road junction turn right and walk ahead. On your left you will see St Mary’s RC Cathedral (Pugin 1842-4) and then the bronze sculpture by Nigel Boonham, unveiled by the Queen during her Jubilee Tour in May 2002, of Cardinal Basil Hume, a noted spiritual leader and a popular Novocastrian. Continue beneath the Central Station portico to arrive at the Metro station and the end of the walk.