Northumberland National park is located in the north-east of England. Established in 1956, about 70% of the park’s 405 square miles (1,049 square kilometres) is open moorland.
Red grouse and tiptoeing curlews hide among the heather. And alongside this wildlife, there’s Hadrian’s Wall, stretching for 73 miles across the Northumberland landscape.
Explore this rugged landscape with our pick of the best day walks and long-distance hiking routes in Northumberland National Park.
Twice Brewed Inn and Sycamore Gap, Northumberland
The path lurches up and down to deposit you just east of Milecastle 39 on Hadrian’s Wall, at an exquisitely sheltered spot named Sycamore Gap ©Getty
Embrace a romantic Roman walk along Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland National Park before returning to the Twice Brewed Inn for a hearty pub feast.
Otterburn Ranges, Northumberland
Look out for northern lapwings ©Getty
Follow a high-level route on the Otterburn Ranges in Northumberland National Park to observe wild goats, moorland birds and perhaps, if you are lucky, rare black grouse.
Alwinton and Harbottle, Northumberland
A meadow path leads to the ruins of Harbottle castle ©Getty
The tiny village of Alwinton nestles where the plains of the middle reaches of the River Coquet begin to narrow towards Coquet Gorge. It sits on the border between the fell sandstones to the south and the volcanic Cheviot Hills to the north. Enjoy the history, geology and wildlife surrounding these peaceful villages with a 4.5-mile countryside walk.
Simonside Hills, Northumberland
Heath blooms on the hills around Rothbury ©Getty
The fell sandstones of the Simonside Hills were deposited from a river delta some 330 million years ago. Weathering and erosion have led to their dominant aspect, which makes them recognisable throughout the county. Walk through conifer forests and across heather moorland to these distinctive summits with a seven-mile hike.
Greenlee Lough, Northumberland
Cotton grass surrounds the Greenlee Lough ©Getty
Lying to the north of the Great Whin Sill, and easily visible from Hadrian’s Wall, Greenlee Lough is the largest natural lake in Northumberland. The wetlands surrounding the lough make up a rare mosaic of habitats, home to a rich variety of flora and fauna.
Upper Coquetdale, Northumberland
The River Coquet snakes through the hills of Upper Coquetdale in Northumberland National Park ©Alamy
Northumberland’s Upper Coquetdale is physically and historically one of the wildest parts of England. Explore this fascinating landscape on an eight-mile walk over the broad grassy ridgelines, steep-sided valleys and ancient droving routes.
College Valley, Northumberland
College Valley runs north to south through Northumberland National Park ©Getty
Running through the base of this tranquil valley in the northern limits of Northumberland National Park is College burn, a winding river surrounded by moorland hills. Look out Cheviot Goats on the slopes near Hethpool Mill.
Greenhaugh and Thorneyburn, Northumberland
Buttercups and many more wildflowers grow in the hay meadows throughout summer ©Getty
Starting in the village of Greenhaugh, head west on this 2.5-mile circular walk along country lanes and rivers and through meadows of singing wildflowers.
Hareshaw Linn, Northumberland
The Linn hugs the western border of Northumberland National Park ©Getty
Explore the woodlands and waterfalls of Hareshaw Linn, home to more than 300 different types of mosses, liverworts and lichen. Keep and eye out for great spotted woodpecker, badgers, red squirrels and daubenton’s bats.
Flagstone Burn, Northumberland
Kestrel can be seen hovering above the river ©Getty
This short walk (2.5 miles) from Falstone along Falstone Burn offers walkers of all abilities the chance to spot a range of wildlife – from kestrels and buzzards to roe deer and red squirrels.
Elsdon Burn, Northumberland
Look out for little owls and brown hares ©Getty
This family friendly walk on the eastern edge of the national is perfect for wildlife enthusiasts and historians alike. Look out for a 12th-centruy church, the Mote hills earthworks and a Northumbrian Pele tower.