This is a Durham Council picnic site which has ample parking, shady woodland for kids to run around in and access to the River Derwent. Combine your picnic with a beautiful 1.5 mile walk to Blanchlands (and back), the honeypot village of the north North Pennines. The village is frequently used as a film location for period dramas in which the village shop always changes its identity. Note its Queen Victoria post box. Stroll around the picturesque stone built village, visit the Lord Crewe Arms with its glorious beer garden and atmospheric crypt bar, try the Monks tea room and visit the village church which was once part of the medieval Blanchlands Abbey.
For the walk turn right at the entrance to the picnic site, ignore the first footpath sign and turn left at the second after 100 yards, more or less opposite the road to Rookhope. Follow this woodland path and at its end turn left into into Blanchlands (there are toilets close to the bridge). To return pick up the footpath on the opposite bank of the River Derwent to your outward path which takes you back to the first footpath sign, opposite the picnic site.
Baybridge is a hamlet about a mile from Blanchlands. From Stanhope take the Edmundbyers road which starts next to the Grey Bull pub. Keep climbing for 1.5 miles and then turn left towards Blanchlands shortly after the road flattens out. About 0.75 mile after the left turn to Hunstanworth and Townfield and 100 yards after the left turn to Rookhope, the picnic site entrance is on your left.