Ballast Hills is one of Ouseburn’s most unique green spaces. The history that lies in this unassuming place is largely unknown by many people who live, work and play in Ouseburn. Whilst we know a some its history, we would like to see an in-depth research project carried out, eventually leading to improved heritage interpretation alongside an improved and thriving public green space. 

A brief history of Ballast Hills

The site was originally formed from ballast unloaded from ships that travelled on the River Tyne but later became a burial ground. Between the 17th and 19th century, Ballast Hills was a non-conformist cemetery. In some years more people were buried at Ballast Hills than anywhere else in Newcastle. It's estimated that up to 80,000 people are buried at Ballast Hills. 

After an 1853 cholera outbreak, Ballast Hills stopped being used as a burial ground but remained open to the public. In 1930 the gravestones were removed and it become a park - as it remains today, nearly 100 years later.  You can still see many gravestones laid in the paths, and a select few gravestones, mainly those from religious leaders, are still standing at the edge of what was Ouseburn School, now the i4 Business Centre. 

Read Ballast Hills Burial Ground: A Forgotten Place in Newcastle on our blog.

The Future of Ballast Hills

It is a lovely green space well used by local people but in need of improvements especially to the gravestone path which has deteriorated over the years. There are many ways we feel Ballast Hills could be improved both as a green space and a heritage site, and we'd like to work with the local community to shape our collective vision for the site. 

If you're interested in being kept up to date with Ballast Hills improvements and attending Ballast Hills-themed events, please email us here. You can also add your comment on this page (below) with your thoughts on how you'd like the future of Ballast Hills to look. 


We have started a series of events about Ballast Hills and will be continuing these over the coming months - covering both the green space and its heritage - to get your views, to work on the space and to build up and pass on knowledge about its history

Coming up:

More events will be added soon.

Past events

Over the summer there have been a number of other events Thanks to everyone for coming along and contributing

3rd June - we listened to a short history of the burial ground by Mike Greatbatch and heard about the lovely trees here and how we should look after them from Martin Gale (you can read Martin's report here) We tidied up the site including making the seat usuable (pics) 

13th June - Heather from Wild Intrigue walked us around the wildlife here  You can read Cath’s report of what we saw and heard here and World Headquarters told us about their upcoming weekend on Ballast Hills and listened to suggestions from neighbouring residents 

14-16th July - Get Together Ouseburn - as part of Ouseburn Festival World HeadQuarters celebrate their 30th anniversary on Ballast Hills with music, food and creativity - much enjoyed despite the rain  

18th July - Ballast Hills Burial Ground Workshop at Newcastle University-  organised by Myra Giesen - wide range of mainly academic participants looking at how to develop a research project on the site 

20th July - Dead and Buried - Ouseburn Trust Summer walk by Mike Greatbatch looking at Ballast Hills, the Dead House and St Anns Graveyard 

26th August - Volunteer work morning  - Our regular green volunteer session on Saturday morning tidied up Ballast Hills and looked at possible future improvements to the green space.

2nd September - Spooky tales on Ballast Hills A fun family afternoon with art activities, storytelling and tasty food -  suitable for ages 8+. Thanks to the Malings Community Fund for supporting this event.

12 September - Visit Ballast Hills for Heritage Open Days A guided walk to hear about the history and learn about our plans for the future.