A place for free range humans

Birkheads Wild is a registered charity - number 1203602 - operating as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).

Our Charitable Purpose: Birkheads Wild supports young people in Gateshead and the wider North East to build a better future for themselves – using the outdoors.

How? By using the outdoors we help young people to grow in skills and confidence, to think for themselves and become more fulfilled. Our work helps young people to understand themselves better, to feel a sense of belonging, to grow in skills and confidence, to be healthier, have pride in their own identity and to help them to contribute to wider society.

What? By giving young people more opportunities to discover, explore and enjoy the outdoors - mainly from our 1.5 acre site in rural Gateshead. By improving every aspect of their health and wellbeing through outdoor experiences we help young people to explore and understand the world around them.

 We do this by running;  the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme (for 14+),  our Outdoors Youth Club Young Explorers (for 11-14 year olds), our Under 11’s Forest School After School Club, bushcraft and Forest School day sessions and overnight camps for other local schools and community projects, long term projects with other local charities and community groups, Wellbeing Support, Learning Outside the Classroom and alternative education provision.

Acorn Guy

Bring your
Youth Group

Youth Groups

We'll design day sessions or overnight camps to suit the needs of your group.

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Duke of Edinburgh's Award

Duke of Edinburgh Award

Do your Duke of Edinburgh Award at Birkheads Wild or bring your group on an expedition here.

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Join Our Clubs

Join Our Clubs

We run Forest School After School for under 11’s and Young Explorers for 11-14 year olds

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Alternative Provision

Alternative Provision

A package alternative education provision for young people who thrive in an outdoor setting.

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Hire Our Yurt

Hire Our Yurt

Exclusive use of our very own yurt - The Barrow Den - for your family or team away day

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Keeping Young People Safe

Keeping Young People Safe

Our policies and procedures

Coming Soon...
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Come Camping

Come Camping Here

We can host 28 overnight camps here per year.

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Book a session

We run regular After School Clubs and holiday sessions for local young people. We also run events and camps for families, and even some sessions just for free-range grown ups! All current available sessions are shown below. Select a session to join our tribe

 As a social enterprise

We exist to help more young people to discover, explore and enjoy being outdoors.

Birkheads Wild is a Community Interest Company (CIC), this means any surplus we make is reinvested to help more young people experience (almost) wild camping and the outdoors.

Check out this video of what we achieved on our Gift of the Wild programme in 2018/19 in collaboration with Stomping Grounds Forest School.

What People Say...

"At that time J really needed the 1:1 sessions at Birkheads Wild - It really did improve her self esteem and confidence and gave her a sage space to be herself. She learnt she could be open and chat confidently about anything and everything and express herself through the outdoors.

She was able to talk about her bobbies and interests and feel listened to and appreciated for the amazing person she is.

The provision at Birkheads Wild is calm and peaceful and it brought out the best in here. It helped her to be able to trust other more. To find it easier to speak to and mix with other people and she became less anxious.

A big success was when she also started to attend the outdoor youth club - mixing with other teenagers at Birkheads Wild which she would not have been able to do before.

She learnt lots of new outdoor skills and the activities have helped her focus and finish a task, regular her emotions and reactions to others. She is happier to try and make new friends now and finds that easier than she did previously.

Birkheads Wild also helped J understand differences and other people and helped her with her social communication. She now feels safe to talk when something is bothering her."


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"Coming to Birkheads Wild has had a really positive impact on D in several ways.

D doesn't attend school and her regular session gives her structure and routing which she needs for her wellbeing.

She feels she has independence - time away from the home and family - which is good for her mental health.

She enjoys the company of sally her forest school leader and having someone to share her thoughts and feelings with.

It gives her hope. She is optimistic that things will get better and easier for her - Birkheads Wild is partly responsible for this change in her outlook. Thankyou."


“I have had fantastic feedback from all of the families who were lucky enough to be nominated for 'Gift of the Wild' programme.  Parents were anxious about six week holiday activities and the associated costs.  Several children were reluctant to engage in out of schools activities.  These children have talked about the friendships formed during the day and the amazing array of activities they took part it.  Thank you so much". 

Family Support Worker, Gateshead

bushcraft robin Gateshead

"Great place for a DofE Bronze practice or qualifier. Walks straight from the camp site and plenty of footpaths. Fiona is so enthusiastic and helpful you couldn't be in better hands. The place is tranquil and you wouldn't realise that you are just outside the hustle and bustle of the major conurbations of the north east"

Steve Southern, Operations Officer for Newcastle, Gateshead & Hartlepool, DofE North

"Lovely atmosphere and a great place for DofE!"

Leah & Chloe, Y10

"Amazing people and amazing place"

Megan, 15

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"Cute campsite with a very welcoming feeling"

Oxclose Community Academy, Washington, Y9

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"Your site is awesome and you helped me start a fire and gave me some helpful tips that I will use again"

James, Y10

" Your camp site is beautiful and DofE is good! Thank you so much."

Cassie, (15) BCT Aspire, Bronze Duke of Edniburgh's Expedition

bird tracks nature gateshead

"We work with young women with complex needs (eg on child protection plans due to neglect, babies and unborn babies of young women on CP plans, young women with fairly severe mental health problems including selective mutism, eating distress anxiety,  depression,  those at risk of sexual exploitation, young women who go missing, excluded from school due to behaviour, home educated, ADHD, autistic spectrum disorder, drug and alcohol use, in abusive relationships, socially isolated, bereavement or displaying early sexual behaviour). We also work with young parents, including fathers.

Working with Birkheads Wild over the past year has been a unique experience that has taken the young people out of their comfort zone and challenged them, building confidence and the ability to transfer this confidence into everyday life.

Undoubtably being at Birkheads Wild and out of their normal environment is beneficial to their mental health. It is an opportunity that they would not otherwise have had to forget their worries for a while in the beautiful countryside. They also learnt new skills and tried out new activities. I noticed our young people behaving differently in a new environment, talking about nature and linking this to positive memories. They also did more physical activity producing endorphins, which is something they may not otherwise do as part of their day.

Our young parents reported benefits to themselves and their babies in that it gave them the knowledge and confidence that they can do things in the outdoors which make them feel good that don't not cost anything, and can be done in similar environments close to their own homes, for example walking, climbing, making things from nature and having interesting, knowledgeable conversations about nature and the environment.

The overnight camp gave young people more opportunity to form relationships, both with peers and staff. It was also empowering for young parents who live at home and have not had the opportunity to be away with their children without the presence of grandparents/parents/foster carers. "

Julie Stott, Project Director, Gateshead Young Women's Outreach Project

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If you want to learn more please get in touch...