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The Chirdon Head Expedition Centre, Kielder

The Chirdon Head Expedition Centre, provides many outdoor activities and learning opportunities in a remote but idyllic location in the heart of Kielder Forest . Opened as an Duke of Edinburgh expedition centre on Friday 26th April by HRH The Earl of Wessex, Chirdon Head is new innovative project which will be self-sustainable. Accessible to all children and young people up to the age of 25, including those with disabilities and additional needs, Chirdon Head likewise will be an exciting retreat.

Background of the Project

In April 2014 a public meeting between Northumberland County Council and The Kielder Partners made Chirdon Head available to CVYP- Chirdon Head was a disused cottage south of Kielder reservoir with one acre of land. A site visit included land agents from the Forestry Commission and a building surveyor. Northumberland Social Service expressed an interest in the project, announcing a £48,000 contribution to Phase 1 of any building work.

Since its inception a north and south extension were added to the cottage, in keeping with the original look of the property. The outdoors was also cleared through several days of hard work with the volunteers from the Sage Foundation and Fire Service helping to clear the land, construct walls and lay a road into the site. Through further support received, the centre is now fully operational.


Create an innovative outdoor experience for our service users, provide a facility for CVYP and our network to use at minimal cost. Deliver a long-term sustainable income for CVYP.

Our Activities

  • Bike rides have been developed to and from Cramlington and Kielder. Other rides will be explored in and around the Kielder Water. We will deliver multiple bike rides and training opportunities and offer a range of self-catering and catering residentials.
  • Get-aways– Chirdon Head provides a retreat, a time out residential for those requiring space and respite.
  • Team Building- CVYP has resources for team building for young people and adults, including a mobile archery facility with its own qualified staff.
  • Wild camp areas, for expeditions, explorations, residential Bronze, Silver and Gold are available for training use and for young people to complete their awards.
  • Night Walks, Star Gazing and night bike rides will be available periodically throughout the year
  • John Muir Award
  • Music Residentials
  • Arts Award


Chirdon Head Outdoor Centre Activities - Mountain Biking Chirdon Head Outdoor Centre Activities - Walking / Hiking Chirdon Head Outdoor Centre Activities - Archery


The main living area contains 22 beds, with the North and South extensions hosting the toilets, showers, kitchen and dining, dry rooms and power supplies from carbon free sources.  Overnight residential stays for our users are available with the building being accessible to all. Following a successful planning application 3 camping pods have been added and are now ready to use.

Participants will also have access to our 20m archery range or have the opportunity to stay out on our campground. Outdoor sinks are available to all our campers.


Chirdon Head is situated 6 kilometres south of Kielder Water. The reservoir is one of the largest in Europe and provides almost every water sport available. One of our key partners (Northumbria Water) owns many of the rights, access points and are partners with many of the water sport providers. The building is set in quite a remote area; however, it is only 15 minutes from the main road. Heritage is also one of our key objectives and Hadrian’s Wall is only 7 kilometres due south of the building. This will provide us with many expeditions and exploration routes to and from both locations. Bike riding recreation and bike riding expedition are also one of our fortes, this location is ideally situated to link with multiple national trails and off-road graded challenges.

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Company Number 6623934 | Charity Number 1128037

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