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Tyne Derwent Way

Published on: 15 April 2024

Newcastle University is a partner in a project which is revitalising the nine-mile outdoor trail between Gateshead town centre and the Derwent Valley.

Nature, culture and heritage

The route begins at St Mary’s Heritage Centre before running along the Tyne, past Gateshead Riverside Park, Dunston Staiths, through the Derwent Valley, and Land of Oak and Iron and finishing at the National Trust estate, Gibside.

The route is being revitalised following the Government awarding Gateshead Riverside Partnership, which includes Newcastle University,  £1.5m of UK SPF funding to improve the route including pathways, signage and artworks along the Tyne Derwent Way (TDW). This vital investment means the trail’s nature, culture and heritage can be enjoyed by all.

Staff and students from across the University have been involved in the TDW. Activities have included researchers investigating the area’s salt flats as a significant site of biodiversity, other experts supporting Gateshead Council on the challenges of land reclamation, and a partnership between Newcastle and Northumbria Universities exploring how Gateshead’s creative and cultural industries can be developed through engagement with the TDW regeneration. Postgraduate architecture students designed buildings that could be placed in the park and Earth Sciences undergraduates have been looking at the area’s nature and biodiversity.

Photograph of Dunston Staiths courtesy of Gateshead Riverside Partnership


Professor Vee Pollock, Dean of Culture and Creative Arts at Newcastle University said: “The TDW has its roots in an initiative called Newcastle City Futures which sought to bring together various agencies to use their expertise to revitalise this vital section of urban green space. This ethos of collaboration has remained at the heart of the mission to improve this area and make its nature, culture and heritage accessible for all. It is great to now be celebrating this stage in the TDW regeneration.”

The Government’s support is also enabling the creation of a huge range of activities and volunteering opportunities along the route.  The launch of the Tyne Derwent Way also includes the reopening of the historic Dunston Staiths which will be open to the general public from 10am-2pm on the first Saturday of the month from May to September, as well as for special events such as the Late Shows and Gateshead International Festival of Theatre.

St Mary’s Heritage Centre will also be reopening under the new stewardship of the Tyne & Wear Building Preservation Trust. It will be a space for community groups to book and run events from.

Other flagship landmarks and visitor attractions to be enjoyed along the trail include the Land of Oak and Iron Heritage Centre, Thornley Woodland Centre, Nine Arches Viaduct and National Trust estate, Gibside, the end point of The Tyne Derwent Way.

Alice Wiseman, Director of Public Health for Gateshead and Newcastle, said: “The launch of the Tyne Derwent Way is fantastic news for Gateshead. As well as providing an opportunity to celebrate our heritage, nature and culture, it offers improved access to green spaces for all local residents, which is key to boosting mental and physical wellbeing.”

Press release adapted with thanks to Gateshead Riverside Partnership


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