A Walk along the Waggonways

We live quite close to a network of paths called the Waggonways. Originally the routes were used to transport coal from the mines down to the River Tyne by horse-drawn carts along wooden rails, they were later used by Stephenson with the early steam locomotives.
 Now they are cycle and pedestrian routes, and pretty well used they are too. The Stephenson Rail Museum is very near to our house, too, and on weekends and special occasions they run a steam engine along a mile or so of the railway track Stephenson used to trial the locomotives that influenced the type of tracks used throughout the world.

During our lunch today I heard “toot toot” and realised that steam trains were on the go nearby. So I quickly abandoned all thought of doing the dishes straight after our meal (ha!) and got the boys ready for a wander to see if we could spot any trains.

bee blackberry flower waggonway
The paths are tree-lined along the section we were on today, and the train track runs parallel. There are wild flowers, brambles and some plants that look a lot like rhubarb (could it be rhubarb?!) We spotted quite a few different butterflies, and a grasshopper, too!And then we heard “toot toot” again and looked up to see this.

train waggoneay north tyneside

We actually had to wait a while, because the train had slowed right down, but then it chuff-chuffed past. Unfortunately the trees were too high for James to see properly, so we dashed along to where the bushes that line the track are very low, and stood to wait while the train turned around further along the track.

“Quickly, chase her!” (Percy, in our house, is a girl. James is pretty insistent on this point; he has a model Thomas and a model Percy, and as long as he’s had them and been able to talk, he’s said that she’s a female train. Oh well.) So I followed the line until I got to the station, where sadly it was a ticket-only event. Normally on a weekend you can go in the museum car park and grounds without having to pay, so you can see the trains but not ride on them, but alas, not today.

Along the way we saw lots more butterflies, and a dragonfly. Then we turned around and headed home, picking blackberries as we walked.


I’m so glad we headed out today; it was a really nice way to spent a few hours in the sunshine, and pretty exciting to see Percy!


Monkey and Mouse
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall 



  1. August 29, 2015 / 8:08 am

    Eeh Helena I started reading your post and thought gosh you’ll be able to see Thomas on event days ! then I watched your video and there was Percy! How exciting

    • August 29, 2015 / 8:12 am

      I know! I thought with it being a Thomas event it would’ve been Thomas, but Percy is still exciting. Might need to pop out today and see if it’s a different engine.

  2. deepeabee
    August 29, 2015 / 2:15 pm

    Wow! Fancy seeing Percy! How exciting!!

    • August 29, 2015 / 3:02 pm

      We’ve been again today! (S)he was there again 🙂

  3. September 1, 2015 / 7:23 pm

    Such gorgeous photos!! xx

  4. September 3, 2015 / 8:15 pm

    How exciting! My son would love to love near there, especially if he could see Percy and Thomas every now and then! A lovely walk too, we love picking blackberries, but they’re not ripe here yet! Hope you see some more trains again soon.
    Thanks for linking up to #Whatevertheweather 🙂 x

  5. September 5, 2015 / 10:42 am

    How amazing that you live close by to this, two things that I love – steam engines and nature. I reckon your rhubarb lookalike may be burdock. I really need to see a steam engine now!

    • September 5, 2015 / 10:46 am

      Oh burdock! I’ll look that up – it has been a puzzle to me for about five years! Thank you 🙂

  6. September 5, 2015 / 6:34 pm

    there is something quite magical about steam trains and even more so when they are themed. What a lovely way to spend the afternoon and it certainly beats washing dishes, even going back to them never feels as bad after a lovely blast of fresh air together. Thank you for sharing with me on Country Kids.

  7. September 6, 2015 / 10:39 am

    Popping by again from#LoveNorthEast thanks for linking up such a fab post

  8. chloelifeunexpected
    September 6, 2015 / 9:37 pm

    Oh my gosh I actually squealed a little bit when I saw Percy!!! I love Thomas the Tank. It’s so cute that he thinks it’s a she! How cool to have this so close to your house and what a great excuse to not do the dishes. Thank you so much for linking to #whatevertheweather x

    • September 7, 2015 / 9:45 am

      It’s brilliant isn’t t?! We should go more often really, but it usually runs on weekends, and wouldn’t really be something Daddy Foote would like to do!

  9. September 8, 2015 / 7:39 am

    Sounds like a lovely day out and a great way to spot the steam trains x

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