Jesmond Library’s famous Teddy Bear Trail is back – and it’s bigger than ever. A total of 76 bears are now in place waiting to be found. And each one hopes to be chosen as the people’s favourite!

This year there are two trails to follow – the Blue Trail (25 bears) covers north of Jesmond Dene Road for the first time. The Red, much larger, Trail (51 bears) takes Teddy hunters through central Jesmond.

The challenge

Children and families are encouraged to complete either or both trails, to identify each teddy by name and then to nominate a favourite. Then bring your list of the Teddy bears’ names into the Library. Each child who enters a list of teddies (whether fully completed or not) will have their name entered into a prize draw. Four prizes are on offer according to the age of entrants.

How it all began

The Trail was originally part of a ‘Walk for Health’ initiative with Olwyn Hocking and the Cricket Club. This is when our own ‘Jez the Ted’ was created.  The Library has since continued with the Trail – this is our 5th year and although walking is obviously involved, it’s now all about finding the Teddies! 

It involves the whole community and has become a much anticipated event in the Jesmond calendar. Families, local businesses, churches and schools volunteer to play host to a bear, and each one is smartly dressed and imaginatively named. Then they are displayed in windows, shops and gardens, even up trees!

Changes for 2021

In pre-Covid times we have been very well supported by local restaurants (meal vouchers for prizes) and supermarkets (treats for children handing in their forms, and for the prize draw picnic).  We have also had generous help from Estate Agents Signature (now no longer in Jesmond) and Retties who have printed, without charge, our 250+ entry forms. 

Unfortunately the pandemic has meant that we have had to re-think the Trail organisation. In a change from previous years, there is no official entry form and no entry fee (although donations can still be made via the Library’s Justgiving page.

Sadly, in another change to normal arrangements there will be no treat when returning a finished form, and there will be no Teddy Bears’ Picnic to celebrate the end of the trail. 

But we hope participants will still enjoy the fun of joining in the hunt to find and identify all 76 of our ursine stars. And don’t forget to hand in your list of all the bears you have found and let us know which one is your favourite.

Maps and lists

The maps are on display in the Library window, the images are on the Library’s Facebook page, or photocopies can be requested from the Library.

You can write your list of names on any sheet of paper, or you can collect a blank list from the Library. Just remember to add your own name, age (if under 12) and contact details. And don’t forget to nominate your favourite bear.