Gateshead to Saltwell Park to Gateshead (3.5 miles)

Leave Gateshead Metro Station by the West Street North exit and walk up the ramp to the main road (West Street). Turn right and continue straight ahead on the pavement. You very soon reach a church (St Joseph’s RC) where you should look for the sculpture beside the bushes at the corner of Walker Terrace. Then you pass the Registrar’s Offices on your right and a police station and Royal Mail offices on your left, before reaching the Swallow Hotel on your right. A few hundred yards after the hotel, just before a bus shelter and some traffic lights, leave the pavement to enter a small park area on your right.

Take the right-hand fork and follow the path to the road ahead. Turn left and walk a few yards to a pedestrian crossing. Cross the road to the Central Library, turn left and walk a few yards to some traffic lights. (On the other hand, you may wish to visit the Tourist Information Office and attractive Gallery housed in the Library, the entrance to which is on the right). To continue on the walk, cross over the road and proceed a short distance in the same direction to the Shipley Art Gallery. Admission to the gallery is free and it contains some fine paintings and items of local history. Even if time is pressing you might at least like to see W.C. Irving’s painting Blaydon Races - A study from life. Outside, to the left of the gallery, stands a splendid statue of a local sporting hero, James Renforth, with information about his exploits and tragic death recorded on the plinth.

To continue on the walk proceed ahead from the gallery to meet a junction with the main road (Durham Road). On your left, stands a substantial memorial, within which “are recorded the names of the men of Gateshead who gave their lives in the Great War 1914-19”. Turn right, continue ahead and after passing the Springfield Hotel on your left and a small parade of shops on your right, turn right and descend Enfield Road as far as the Little Theatre. Cross over the road and go into Saltwell Park.

This Victorian park is the site of Saltwell Towers (1860-71) once the home of William Wailes (1801-1888) the noted manufacturer of stained glass. The park is the subject of a major restoration of its landscape, buildings and monuments to bring it back to its former glory as “The People’s Park”. There is plenty to enjoy here including swings and slides for children and there are several information boards detailing the history and development of the park. How much of the park you are able to enjoy will depend on the amount of time available before you commence your return to Gateshead Metro Station. However, you might like to walk in a clockwise direction and finish your visit by the lake. Just beyond the lake, on the west side of the park (almost diagonally opposite the point where you first entered the park), you arrive at a ramp leading to a park exit.

Walk down the ramp, go through the gate and turn right. Follow the pavement round the outside of the park until the path comes to an end. Cross over the road with care, turn left and then almost immediately right into Rectory Road. Now continue ahead between the terraced houses, one of several rows of houses down to the River Teams. After about 500 yards, you need to take care when crossing over Whitehall Road. On the right, after a further 200 yards or so, at Windermere Street West, you pass a more modern block of dwellings, part of the internationally renowned Gateshead Talmudical College, and in a short distance, at Bewick Road, you pass the synagogue. Continue for a few hundred yards until the pavement arrives at a main road (Bensham Road).

Cross over the road at the traffic lights to a church, turn right and proceed up the hill. You may be able to catch some fine glimpses of the River Tyne over to your left. After several hundred yards you reach the top of the hill at the aptly named Village Heights. After crossing over the junction with Coatsworth Road, and just past The Crown pub on your right, bear left to follow the signs “Bensham Cycleway: Gateshead M: Town Centre”. At Windmill Hills Town Park on your left, it is worth entering to appreciate the new park with facilities for small children and to take advantage of the views of the Newcastle skyline.

To continue on the walk follow the signs for the cycle route which takes you through an underpass. Once through the underpass, turn right and then almost immediately left to walk down Walker Terrace past the fine mid-19th century housing on your right. At the end of the road turn left to return to Gateshead Metro Station and the end of the walk.

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