Watergate Forest Park – Visiting with Dinky

Sometimes you’ll not realise you have a great place to take the kids on your doorstep. That is certainly true when we took Dinky out for a leg stretch to Watergate Forest Park, located not far from Whickham in Gateshead. With plentiful parking we arrived by car and took her buggy, although she was determined to have a stroll around independently!

There are waymarked trails and maps dotted around to help with your navigation. We took the shorter 1.4 mile Wildlife Trail, which we thought would be easier to do with Dinky in tow. It is suitable for pushchairs and those on mobility scooters. There are longer routes available for cyclists and those wanting to perhaps work off their Sunday lunches perhaps, which include sculptures and impressive natural landscape features. 

We did have to exercise some caution as Dinky is prone to darting off. Some areas aren’t fenced and there’s the risk little ones could make a beeline for the water.

We really need to buy her some reins!

One of the other reasons for our visit was to venture into the Watergate Cafe, located not far from sports field of Emmanuel College. 

There wasn’t any plant milk available but I took my own along for a lovely hot chocolate (made using Cadbury’s powder which is accidentally vegan, btw). The owner is looking to purchase some mini cartons of soy for those wanting a tea or a coffee, so hopefully they will be available in the near future. 

I did chat about what was available for those who are vegan as there were limited options (crisps, fruit, toast & jam) and gave a few suggestions for treats that are suitable for all. I understand that smaller enterprises don’t always have the means to provide everything and the kitchen sink but I hope I was able to be helpful on this front. Dinky had some strawberries to munch on while we enjoyed being warmed through with our drinks.

For those who are not limited by dietary requirements you can choose from a selection of jacket potatoes and toasties, which are served with salad. There are also a choice of delicious looking homemade cakes and scones, while any four legged friends visiting are accommodated with treats on sale for them. Dogs on their leads are welcome, which is good news for those who take their pooches out on the trails in the nature reserve.

Dinky made a beeline for the toys in the cafe – as you can probably tell by the photo above – as well as sniffing all of the candles on sale. There’s a whole range of gift items on sale from local producers such as The Pickle Palace and Powder Butterfly. If the weather isn’t so good there are also colouring books and craft activities available for little ones to amuse themselves with. You can find out more about the cafe, including opening times, on their Facebook page here.

We may not always get the best weather here in the North East but it’s good to get out and explore our local area. We have so many hidden gems with interesting histories to take our kids along to, so why not get them to stretch their legs this weekend and visit one of your own local reserves?

Thanks for reading,

Pip x


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