Best walks in Northumberland

Explore Northumberland's wild coastlines, vast forests, romantic ruins and rolling hills with our favourite hikes in the county

Sycamore Gap, Northumberland

The county of Northumberland includes the Northumberland Coast AONB, Kielder Forest, part of the North Pennines AONB and the Northumberland National Park.

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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.

Hadrian's Wall at Walltown Crags in Northumberland ©Alamy
Hadrian’s Wall at Walltown Crags in Northumberland ©Alamy

Explore England’s most northern county on foot with our favourite Northumberland walks.

Embleton Bay

Embleton Bay, Northumberland © Tim Hurst
Embleton Bay, Northumberland © Tim Hurst

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.


Kielder Water

Kielder water resevoir and forest in Northumberland, United Kingdom
Kielder Water resevoir and forest in Northumberland ©Getty

Explore tranquil Kielder Water, the UK’s largest man-made lake, tethered to the western border of Northumberland National Park. Map and route.


Lindisfarne

Low Tide on Holy Island
Fishing boats lie in the harbour at Holy Island during low tide with Lindisfarne Castle in the background ©Getty

Take a four-mile walk around a sacred tidal island, rich in history and wildlife. Map and route.


Norham Castle

Norham Castle, Northumberland ©Getty
Norham Castle, Northumberland ©Getty

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.


Cragside

Cragside, Northumberland ©Alamy
Cragside, Northumberland ©Alamy

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

Hadrian's Wall is a World Heritage Site in the beautiful Northumberland National Park. Popular with walkers along the Hadrian's Wall Path and Pennine Way
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. Route and map.


Otterburn Ranges

Northern lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) male creeping through grassland habitat with wind in crest. Sunshine makes Iridiscent colors visible on its bird wing
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. Map and route.


Alwinton and Harbottle

A meadow path leads to the ruins of Harbottle castle ©Getty
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. Route and Map.


Simonside Hills

Rothbury Terraces walk offers views over the Coquet Valley to the Simonside and Cheviot Hills, heather covers the hillside in summer
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. Route and map.


Greenlee Lough

beautiful white tufts in a marsh landscape during the early summer. Eriophorum vaginatum
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. Route and map.


Upper Coquetdale

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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. Route and Map.


College Valley

College Valley is an area of tranquillity and natural beauty in north 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. Map and route


Greenhaugh and Thorneyburn

Welsh meadow in early summer
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. Route and map.


Hareshaw Linn

A long-exposure (6 minute) photograph of the waterfall at Hareshaw Linn, near Bellingham in Northumberland, England.
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. Route and map.


Flagstone Burn

This kestrel Was taken at college lake nature reserve Buckinghamshire in 2012
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. Route and map.


Elsdon Burn

Brown hare, Lepus europaeus, head shot of single mammal in grass, Midlands, April, 2011
Look out for little owls and brown hares ©Getty
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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.