Chopwell Woodland Park was part of an extensive forest area which stretched from just south of the River Tyne to Allenheads in Northumberland. This area of so-called Wildwood was formed about 6000 years ago and consisted of mixed deciduous trees, mainly oak and hazel. Most of these ancient trees, mainly oak, were used in the 17th and 18th century for ship and bridge building. The remnants of some of these trees still survive on the steep crags above the river Derwent.
In more recent times Chopwell Wood has been recognised as a PAWS, Plantation on Ancient Woodland Site. The meaning of this is that it is the site of an ancient forest but has now been planted with modern timber crops. During World War II three bombs were dropped on the Wood, creating three deep craters. These eventually filled with water and, over the years, have provided habitats for a wide range of wildlife.