The archive comprises mainly correspondence addressed to Sir Walter and his first wife Pauline Lady Trevelyan nee Paulina Jermyn. The letters reflect the couple's interests in natural history, botany, geology, antiquities, travel, temperance, phrenology, art and literature, and include examples from many well known contemporaries.
There is also material relating to the history of the Trevelyan family, accumulated during Walter and Charles Edward Trevelyan's preparation of 'The Trevelyan Papers' for publication.
The archive also features diaries and journals, sketchbooks, notes for speeches and scrapbooks. There is material relating to the North East of England, including proposed railways, Tyne crossings at Hexham and decoration of the Great Hall at Wallington.