The county of Northumberland includes the Northumberland Coast AONB, Kielder Forest, part of the North Pennines AONB and the Northumberland National Park.
It’s a landscape steeped in history, from the snaking stonework of Hadrian’s Wall to ruined castles and holy monasteries. But it’s also one of England’s wildest counties, where wave-raked beaches sweep towards rugged islands, and open moorland stoops into deep forests and enormous lakes.
Explore England’s most northern county on foot with our favourite Northumberland walks.
Walk over ruddy-gold sands, across babbling coastal rivers and through wind-shaped dunes to the dramatic ruins of a 14th-century castle – welcome to Embleton Bay, one of Britain’s most beautiful beaches. Map and route.
Explore tranquil Kielder Water, the UK’s largest man-made lake, tethered to the western border of Northumberland National Park. Map and route.
Take a four-mile walk around a sacred tidal island, rich in history and wildlife. Map and route.
Visit Norham Castle on the banks of the River Tweed and enjoy a historic woodland and riverside stroll through the village and surrounding countryside, finishing at a local pub. Map and route.
Towering trees thick with colour, lakes and brooks criss-crossed by bridges, and a fantastical country mansion – enter the watery world of Cragside, an enchanting estate dreamt up by an ambitious inventor. Map and route.
Twice Brewed Inn and Sycamore Gap
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. Route and map.
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. Map and route.
Alwinton and Harbottle
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. Route and Map.
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. Route and map.
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. Route and map.
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. Route and Map.
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. Map and route
Greenhaugh and Thorneyburn
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. Route and map.
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. Route and map.
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. Route and map.
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. Route and map.