Walks in Northumberland
Northumberland is the least populated county of England, with a National park, the largest man-made lake in western Europe, a Roman Wall and many castles and sandy beaches.
South of the county, we see Hadrian’s Wall and associated forts that once ran from Wallsend to the Solway (coast to coast). A new long distance footpath now runs along this course, with many smaller routes branching off from it, providing routes for all capabilities and a chance to visit the largest world heritage site in the country.
Moving North, we pass into the National park, that stretches for over 60 miles to the beautiful Cheviot Hills which form the border with Scotland. In the parks 398 square miles can be found many delightful wooded valleys and open moorlands, with an abundance of wildlife, flora & fauna. Red Squirrels can also still be seen in this county along with the grey squirrels. The Cheviot Hills can be accessed by the three main valleys of Harthope, Breamish and Coquetdale, thus offering a wide variety of walking opportunities. The main 'Cheviot' Hill is the goal of many walkers to the county along with the Pennine Way that runs north through the county and St Cuthbert’s Way across the border and through to Holy Island, where the tide dictates when visitors may cross to it.
The Eastern side of the county offers a 40-mile stretch of beach that has been recognised as both heritage Coast and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Most of the Castles in this county can also be seen along this coastal stretch, along with the famous smokehouse for Craster Kippers and a popular seaside resort of Seahouses. Further south the long sweeping sands of Druridge Bay, with it’s country park and Seaton Sluice with an unusual harbour. Many of these attractions can be seen by following the 35-mile coastal route that runs through the county.
Many National Trust & English Heritage properties can be found throughout the county. These include Wallington Hall, Souter Lighthouse, Cherryburn, Warkworth Castle, Dunstanburgh Castle and Cragside, my particular favourite, especially in June when the whole estate is a blaze with colour from the Rhododendrons & Azaleas that cover the rocky crags around where this house was built. This was also the first house to be lit by hydroelectricity and well ahead of its years with other ‘mod cons’.
Over on the western side of the county we find Kielder Water, the largest man-made lake in Western Europe. A 27 mile shoreline walk provides a ‘marathon’ for the keenest of walkers, whilst many other smaller routes are available for all abilities. Surrounding the lake is Britains largest forest covering 230 square miles and home to Roe Deer, Red Squirrels and many species of birds of Prey.