Best Hiking Trails in Northumberland

Northumberland is an utterly stunning and often overlooked part of the world, full of hidden waterfalls and breathtaking valleys. There are so many hiking trails on offer in the county and so I have put together the best of them.

I wanted to create this post as a sort of directory to all the posts I have written and be able to add to it as I visit more. But the main hikes I am going to mention in this post are:

  1. The Cheviot Hills
  2. Simonside
  3. Thrunton Woods
  4. Allen Banks and Steward Gorge
  5. Linhope Spout

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Within the county of Northumberland, the vast mountain range is called The Cheviot Hills, and the biggest within it is The Cheviot itself. With these large mountains, comes deep valleys, two of the prettiest are Breamish Valley and Ingram Valley. There are also some beautiful hillsides near Rothbury, to name a few of the incredible hiking locations here.

The Cheviot Hills

The Cheviot Hill

To give you an idea of the scale of this mountain, it is in fact the highest point in England outside of The Lake District and the Peak District. So it is HUGE.

In order to climb this monster, there is a ‘parking area’ which could be more accurately described as a field at the bottom. It is alongside a river so I imagine it never really dries out and was very muddy when we visited November 2020. But it’s free so can you really complain?

Postcode; NE71 6RG

The Cheviot Hill

The route we took was supposed to be 8 miles, but by the time we got back to the car, we had clocked over 10 miles. This was mainly because of how much sidestepping we had to do to avoid the bog and marshland which this area is famous for.

Overall the walk wan’t very difficult. It was long and took a few hours, but there is only really one stretch which is really steep and uncomfortable so I’m going to class this as moderate difficulty because at no point was the actual walk too strenuous. The issues we had were with the mud and wet conditions.

If you’re wanting to visit then have a read of my post about it which has details of the route we took etc. But my top tip to visiting will definitely be to do it in the dry months of the Summer!

A Guide to the Cheviot Hills

Simonside

Simonside

Simonside is probably my favourite walk from this list. It was the most stress free, the easiest parking and the best views. This one is probably the one I would recommend the most so if you’re yet to visit and you’re undecided, chose this one!

The car park was a really good size and even had an overflow. Also did I mention that parking is free! There is also a great picnic area here which I imagine is busy in the summer and bank holidays!

Postcode: NE65 7NW

Simonside

There are two trails you can follow here, one is very short and misses out all the good stuff, the other is 4.5 miles and is the one I would recommend as it features all the assets of this place! There is a map and information board in the car park or you can visit my blog about it and have a full read of the route. With that in mind, it is very well signposted so you’d have to try very hard to get lost here!

There are a few parts of this trail that are a little difficult as they take you up hill. Especially the first stretch out of the car park when you aren’t warmed up at all. But the worst bit is when you get through the trees and then start the asscent up the main hill.

Don’t worry though, the views from the top are 100% worth the lung burn!!

Simonside is a little south of the Cheviot hills so on a clear day, look North and you will be able to see them! One important thing I must say about this place is to only visit on a windless day because the top has no shelter at all and could be really dangerous if it is very windy!

Once you’re up on the top, you can then walk up and over a few more peaks in this area which means you can tick off more than one, which is a little bonus to this place.

If you want to know more about this route and other information then be sure to visit my blog about it!

Guide to Simonside

Thrunton Woods, Northumberland

Thrunton Woods

Thrunton Woods is a part of the Forestry Commission so it is a working forest. But it is also located on the side of a mountain so it is an incredible place to visit!

There is a decent car park, although it is a little small so if you are planning a visit, plan ahead and I would avoid bank holiday weekends etc because once it’s full, there’s not really any area for overflow. It is free to park there though which is a present surprisewhen you compare this place to the likes of Hamsterley which is also ran by the forestry commission.

Postcode: NE66 4SQ

This route isn’t too difficult in most places. There is a bit of a steep bank up and out of the car park but after that, it isn’t so bad. The issue we had with this place is that there is a real lack of signage and the route isn’t very clear. So we did get a little lost and just had to wing it for a lot of the walk.

Thrunton Woods, Northumberland

Don’t get me wrong, we had a great time and the views were spectacular! But if you can’t read a map and have poor sense of direction then it might not be a good one for you.

If you do still fancy it, and are up for the challenge then have a look at my blog post about it here on mackemlife.

Guide to Thrunton Woods

Allen Banks

Allen Banks and Steward Gorge

This place is what I would consider the easiest walk on this list as there is no real elevation to it unless you chose to add it in and do a longer hike. You are also more flexible with how long and far you walk as its one path along the river so you can go for as far as you want.

This is also the only place on this list that you have to pay for parking as it is a National Trust site. Parking all day will cost you £4 and the machine only took cash when we were there but I do know that the trust is working on upgrading all their machines to accept contactless too. But the car park is a decent size with an overflow and it is also the only one on this list that has public toilets! No pissing in a bush here!!! There was also a little shelter with maps you can take with you and a whole load of information about the history of the site, the natural elements and what wildlife you can expect to see on your visit.

Postcode: NE47 7BP

Allen Banks

The good thing about this site is that there is a lot to see while you’re here, it’s not just a walk with views. There is a great deal of history to this site which you can read more about on my blog post about it. But with the history comes points of interest you can visit.

The only issue we had with this place was that some of the paths had been blocked by fallen trees and one of the bridges had fallen down. But they were well signposted so you would never be in a position where your path was blocked, it just means we missed out on some bits because it was too far to walk the long way round.

Overall, if you enjoy walking but not up steep hills then this place is the one for you. But that’s not to say this this place isn’t as beautiful as the rest because it has some incredibly pretty spots!

If you want to know more about the site and routes you can take then visit my blog about it.

Guide to Allen Banks and Steward Gorge

Linhope Spout

Linhope Spout

Linhope Spout is one of those places that is always suggested and I just never got round to visiting. However, I don’t know what took me so long because it is a really beautiful part of the world!

Linhope Spout is a waterfall and small pool which is a runoff from The Cheviot Hills and sits in the valley behind them. It’s a great place to experience the mountain range without having to climb too high! Or go for an icey dip if you feel like it.

There is space for parking alongside the road before you hit a private residential area. Parking is free but there wasn’t a lot of it so keep this in mind when visiting and try and arrive early.

Postcode: NE66 4LZ

The Chevoits from Linhope Spout

The trail here isn’t too difficult but the area in general has taken a battering from Storm Arwen so there is a lot of damage which may cause paths to be blocked in the coming months. There were a lot of parts in which trees had fallen like dominos!

The area is very well singposted with a lot of the path being a part of The Pennine Way path which leads you up on top of The Cheviot if you want to go that far!

The spout is very pretty and I think this is a great easy-moderate hike which can be made longer by exploring some of the other hills in the area such at Ritto Hill as we did.

If you want to know more about the route we took then visit my blog post about it.

Guide to Linhope Spout

Well thank you for reading this post! I hope I have inspired you to strap on your hiking boots and go for an adventure. I will be adding to this post as I find more places worthy of the title of ‘Best Hiking Trail in Northumberland’. If you can think of anywhere that’s not on this list be sure to let me know!

When you’re out and about in the counrtyside please be courteous of the people and animals that life there by taking your rubbish with you, sticking to walking on clear paths only and don’t park in places where you cant! And don’t forget to wear sensible footware and be prepared for the changes of the weather because on the hills it can go from sunny to rainy really fast.

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Stay Safe and Happy Adventuring!

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