Walking trails: The Best In Northumberland 

June 16, 2024

Walking is one of the easiest and best ways to spend an afternoon in nature or simply to take some time out from the usual hustle and bustle.

What better way to relieve a little stress, reconnect with nature, and enjoy some light exercise than taking a walk in the great outdoors?

Northumberland boasts some fantastic walking trails, from the countryside up to the coast, allowing you to enjoy your walk whatever your preference.

Take a picnic and find a tranquil spot in one of the many green spaces, or make the most of the sea air at Bamburgh. Among the blue seas and rolling hills there’s a lot of quaint towns and villages allowing you to take a step back in history and explore the cobbled streets.

Whatever your preference, there are ample choices when it comes to exploring the county.

Why Is Walking Good For You?

Being outdoors has so many benefits from improving your health and well being to helping strengthen your muscles. It’s no surprise walking is such a popular thing to do and is enjoyed by people of all ages and all fitness levels.

It’s also one of the easiest ways to spend your day and is a perfect activity whether you’re planning a family day out or just want to enjoy a few hours solo.

Reconnect With Nature

One of the best parts about a walking trail is immersing yourself in nature. Imagine sitting down with your picnic and taking in the sound of the birds singing or being able to hear the sheep as they graze in a field nearby. It can feel like time is standing still as everything is stripped back and it’s just you and the outdoors.

It’s also a great chance to have a technology detox as you kick back with nature. Instead of watching your phone, take in the surroundings and absorb the beauty around you.

Take Time Out

We get it. Everyones busy and it can feel as though life is passing us by at 100mph.

Work can take up so much time and the general fast pace of life can make you feel overwhelmed.

Walking provides a sense of solitude and escape. Take a few hours out of your day to get outdoors and breathe in the fresh air. You’ll feel so much calmer just taking some time out of your routine and you’ll be able to focus. This will benefit other parts of your life as you’ve taken a few precious hours to recollect your thoughts and gain clarity of what’s important.

If you’re busy, taking any time out can seem impossible, but in the long run this helps you be a lot more productive, focussed, and prepared. And even better, walking doesn’t have to take up the whole day, just a few hours can make you feel better.

We’ve put together a list of short and long walking trails that work around you, so keep reading to find out more.

Health Benefits

As well as improving your mental health and well being, walking has many other health benefits that can be enjoyed.

This includes increased cardiovascular fitness, stronger bones and balance, increased muscle strength, and a reduced risk of heart disease or stroke.

As mentioned, walking doesn’t have to take up the whole day or be a vigorous exercise. Even a short walk can improve your health and increase your fitness levels. Whether you start in small bursts and work your way up, the most important thing is walking regularly and making it part of your routine.

Northumberland Walking Routes

We’re blessed in Northumberland to have some of the most scenic walking routes in the UK.

From country to coast, Northumberland provides some breathtaking views and natural landscapes for walkers to take in as they stroll.

There’s so many walking trails and paths just waiting to be explored!

We’ve compiled a list of some great walking spots across Northumberland to give you variety when it comes to choosing your next exploration. We understand that every walker is different, and Northumberland provides a variety of short and long walking trails to suit the needs of the individual.

Whether you’re taking the family out exploring and have little ones to consider or you’re feeling adventurous and want to explore some rugged landscapes, the county has it all!

Cairn Hill

Time: 6 hours

Length: 9.7 miles

Difficulty: Difficult

This 9 mile walking route requires good fitness and prior walking experience.

The circular walk receives lightfoot fall and is quite remote, meaning the area feels very quiet and peaceful! Located near Wooler in Northumberland, the main use of this walking trail is for runners, hikers, and nature lovers, although dogs can still access it too.

Starting in the Harthope Valley, the route takes in the peaks of Hedgehope Hill, Comb Fell, Carin Hill, The Cheviot, and Scald Hill, providing fantastic views of the wild hills.

It’s a strenuous route across terrain that tends to be wet and boggy so suitable footable is vital to be able to enjoy the walk safely.

The course of the walk is steeped in history and has so many places of interest from aircraft wreckage to landscape features such as the Hanging Stone.

As it’s so remote, these quiet and lonely hills provide the perfect place to escape whilst exploring the historic border of England and Scotland.

cairn hill

Aydon Castle Walk

Time: 4 hours

Length: 6 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

This beautiful manor house based in Aydon near the town of Corbridge is owned by English Heritage.

Dating back to the 13th century, the castle is in perfect condition and is one of the most unaltered examples of an ancient manor house. It has a fascinating history from being seized by English rebels in 1317 to being occupied by the Scots before becoming a farmhouse in the 17th century. It was also lived in up until 1966 before becoming a popular visitor attraction.

The circular walk starts by visiting Aydon castle and then exploring the surrounding hills and countryside. For a shorter walk, you can explore the castle ground before heading down to the village of Aydon. The route continues by following picturesque country lanes to the Cor Burn before looping back up to the Castle.

If you want to extend your walk, you can pick up the Hadrian's Wall trail by heading West to Chollerford.

circular walks in Corbridge

Seahouses to Bamburgh

Time: 1 hour

Length: 3 miles

Difficulty: Easy

This staggering stretch of coastline is 3 miles long making it the perfect route for a family day out.

Starting at the beautiful coastal village of Seahouses, the route takes you through a scenic journey featuring sand dunes, golden beaches, and stunning sea views. The Farne Islands also provide a scenic backdrop and can be seen in the distance across the water.

The route is relatively easy as it’s flat for most of the way making it ideal for people of all ages. The walk ends at the astounding landmark that is Bamborough Castle which has lots of activities for the whole family. It’s easy to access and is open to the public.

From ghost hunts to impressive towers, there is so much to see and do within the castle grounds, not to mention the quaint shops and cafes that can be found in the village.

Be aware of tide times with this particular walking trail as you don’t want to be caught out!

If you want to walk even further, you can extend the route up to Beadnell. You could also continue up to Lindisfarne and Holy Island if you’re feeling adventurous and want to stretch your legs a little more.

seahouses beach


Time: 2.5 hours

Length: 5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

This remote and rugged landscape takes you through the Cheviots and is around 5 miles long. Taking approximately half a day to complete, the route provides stunning views of the area that can be enjoyed all year round.

In autumn, the leaves and trees turn a beautiful autumnal colour which gives a sense of warmth to the landscape even on the coldest of days.

The route is mainly on hard packed gravel but there are some muddy patches so suitable footwear is essential. Also, although this is not a particularly steep walk, there are some slopes that require a little climbing.

Especially the outwards stretch of the route towards Middle Hill requires a fairly sustained climb, so something to consider if you have young children with you.

Also, whilst being dog friendly, this walking trail is near a firing range so not a particularly good shout if you have your four legged friend in tow.

barrowburn valley

Simonside Hills

Time: 3 hours

Length: 3-5 miles

Difficulty: Easy

This picturesque family walk is a relatively easy one if you want to try somewhere new.

The walk ranges between 3 to 5 miles in length and should take approximately 2 to 3 hours to complete. This doesn’t include your picnic time though which is an essential of course!

And if you have your canine companion with you then this is a dog friendly route. Be careful to keep them on a lead when walking through the fields as the area is brimming with wildlife.

The open green space is home to many wild goats, and even red squirrels have been spotted in the forest so keep a lookout. The sky is also home to lots of different bird species so make sure you have a look from time to time. A bit of bird watching on your walk perhaps?

The walk takes you through the Harewood forest where you will pass Dove Crag, Old Stell Crag, and little Church Rock.

The path can sometimes be muddy and there are slight gradients at times so it’s important to wear the correct footwear. You will also have to make your way through various stiles and fences so a little climbing is involved on this route.

simonside hills

Alwinton and Harbottle, Northumberland

Time: 3 hours

Length: 5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Alwinton and Harbottle is a 6.9km circular walk near Rothbury in Northumberland.

A moderately easy walk, it attracts casual walkers and hikers alike.

Along the course of the walk, you will pass Drakes Stone, an enormous historic boulder which towers 9m high and weighs approximately 2,030 tons. The boulder was broken from a nearby cliff and carried here by a glacier during the last Ice Age.

You will also step back in history and discover the famous remains of Harbottle Castle. Dating back to the 1100s, the castle came under many attacks during the outbreak of the First War of Scottish Independence. The remains are a popular tourist attraction today.

As you reach Harbottles Nature reserve, you will be met with stunning views over the moorland and beyond. Be aware that some parts of this route are quite muddy and rocky so sensible clothing and footwear is essential.

walking routes northumberland

Yeavering Bell

Time: 4 hours

Length: 6 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Also called the ‘hill of the goats’ this route offers some fantastic views over the Cheviots and is a great way to visit the waterfall on the College Burn.

The walk spans 6 miles of countryside and takes around 4 hours to complete. Throughout the walk you will need to navigate your way through stiles, foot bridges, and kissing gates so this is not the best walking trail for a young family. The descent from the top of the Yeavering Bell is quite steep so suitable footwear is recommended to ensure you get down safely.

Along the circular route you will discover lots of history and wildlife, allowing you to truly enjoy some time out in nature. As well as the wild goats, you will also encounter many different types of species including Lapwings, Skylarks and Buzzards.

Although dogs are welcome, it is advised you keep them on a lead at all times to protect the surrounding area and wildlife who inhabit it.  

Whilst the wild goats will calmly allow you to observe them from a distance, they could become aggressive if they feel threatened.

There’s Always Time to Stop For Coffee and Cake …

No walk is complete without a coffee and cake.

You’ve been out for the afternoon, your legs are starting to ache and you need to refuel. What better way to satisfy those sweet cravings than a slice of cake?

At Grants we provide a range of beautifully hand crafted cakes, pastries, and breads providing you with those precious few moments of joy after a long day of walking.

Based in Corbridge, Northumberland, we provide proper foods in proper portions that keep our customers coming back time and time again.

Each product is lovingly made and we’re committed to providing a high quality service from first thing on a morning when our shutters open, to last thing on a night when our doors close.

At Grants, we have something to make everyone's day, and walk, that little bit better.

So next time you’re out exploring Northumberland, make sure to pop into Grants for your sweet treats.

See our opening times here!

Conclusion: Walking Trails: The Best In Northumberland  

If you fancy a stroll through Northumberland then take your pick!

With easy walking routes that span the Northumberland coast to the 73 mile historical landmark that is Hadrian's Hall, there’s something for all ages and all abilities.

Walking has so many benefits for both your mental and physical well being, and is a chance to step back from life and appreciate natural beauty - and Northumberland definitely isn’t short of that!

Visiting the area but don’t fancy taking a stroll? See our list of the top things to do in Newcastle and the North East.