Gosforth Nature Reserve is a fantastic resource for school groups to learn outdoors about the natural world. From Key Stage 1 and upwards they can get hands-on with nature and have fun whilst learning more about nature in the North East.

School groups and youth visits

Since 1829, NHSN members have provided opportunities for young people to experience and learn about the natural world.

Located a stone’s throw from Newcastle city centre, Gosforth Nature Reserve is the perfect place to inspire wonder in younger visitors. Supported by a team of dedicated and friendly Education Rangers, we’re proud to provide schools and youth groups with the opportunity to enjoy and experience the natural world in a safe and beautiful outdoor setting.

Our fun Wildlife Detectives programme allows you to choose from a menu of curriculum-based outdoor learning activities to suit your teaching requirements, group size and time at the site.

Thanks to support from DEFRA we are able to offer free school visits to the nature reserve until 2022.

Please note that group leaders must email nhsn@ncl.ac.uk in advance to book a visit.

Information for groups

For KS1 and KS2, we have a great team of Educational Ranger Volunteers who lead our activities and provide natural history and site expertise.

The activities we currently offer are listed below.

  • Bird spotting at our Ridley Hide – this looks out onto the lake and is a great spot to observe waterfowl and sometimes other wildlife.
  • Pond dipping – a summer activity using nets to capture pond-life for observation, then releasing back into the lake.
  • Bug hunting – a summer woodland activity, capturing insects in magnified specimen pots to observe then releasing back into the wild.
  • Scavenger hunt – a woodland activity involving looking for various natural objects based on their shape, size, colour, etc.
  • Nature card – similar to scavenger hunt. Collecting items to stick on a card.
  • Mammals – session with one of our Ed Rangers, who does camera trapping of mammals at the reserve. This is dependent on whether the Ed Ranger is available for this visit.

For Key Stages 3 and 4, BTEC’s and A/AS Level the reserve is an excellent site for teaching practical science such as sampling techniques or carrying out practical conservation work. We also welcome individual student projects.


There are three wildlife hides and an additional viewing screen in the reserve, which provide a great opportunity for young visitors and photographers to watch and enjoy wildlife. The welcome area, located by the reserve entrance, provides the perfect opportunity to find out more about the reserve and meet the Volunteer Rangers who help protect it.


Toilet facilities on site include an eco-loo, located on the main path to the South of the reserve, and an accessible portaloo close to the reserve entrance.


The reserve is 3 miles north of Newcastle centre on the eastern side of Gosforth Park. See here for directions and parking information.

More detailed information for educational visits to Gosforth Nature Reserve can be found here. You can also use this sample risk assessment for planning a trip to the reserve.

If you would like to visit the reserve to see if it is a suitable site for your group, please get in touch with us at nhsn@ncl.ac.uk

Knop Law Primary School at GNR © NHSN

The teachers on the visit thought the trip was great and thoroughly enjoyed it. They enjoyed the bat box building and thought it was a great activity. Excellently managed by nature reserve staff.

Macmillan Academy, Newcastle

Book your visit

Get in touch to have a chat, tailor your visit or make a booking for your school or group.

Roe Deer © Katy Read

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