Walking in Northumberland and the Scottish Borders
The journey of a thousand miles may very well start with the first step, but where to take that first step in Northumberland and The Scottish Borders could pose something of a problem – the area has such a wide range of walks to choose from.
From long distance trails to shorter, circular walks there is something to suit everyone, whether as part of a guided tour or on your own.
Northumberland is home to two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – the North Pennines and the Northumberland Coast – and a National Park.
With more than 600 miles of waymarked footpaths and bridleways to choose from, Northumberland National Park has walking ranging from rambles to hill and moorland treks in the Cheviot Hills, where the Cheviot itself rises to 2,674ft.
The area has well preserved prehistoric hillforts and provides some of the best upland stretches for walking along The Pennine and St Cuthbert’s Ways. Qualifed hillguide Roy Kennard specialises in guided walks in the Cheviot Hills.
For those wanting to step back into history, the signposted 84-mile Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail from Wallsend in the east to Bowness-on-Solway in the west provides access to some of the best sections of what rermains of the Roman barricade. With links to more than 80 short walks, this area is suitable for people of all ages.
There is a wide choice of walking in Rothbury and Coquetdale. From the hills of the Upper Coquet to the river valley bottom near Rothbury, you can expect far horizons, big skies and stunning moorland scenery. This is what was once frontier country, fought over by the warring English and Scots and home to the infamous Border Reivers who plundered, rustled and robbed their way into North East folklore.
The Mid Tyne Community Trust has produced a series of 10 self-guided walk leaflets for the Mid Tyne area. There are 18 walks, most suitable for families, of between a mile and four miles long.
Close to the national park is Kielder Water and Forest Park, Northern Europe’s largest man-made lake, where a multi-user trail now follows the 26-mile shoreline.
The Northumberland Coastal Walk covers 61 miles from Berwick-upon-Tweed to the causeway linking Holy Island with the mainland. There is a choice of routes on to the island to explore the village, priory and castle – over the causeway or barefoot across the sands on the Pilgrim’s Way, marked by a line of poles.
From Craster, the trail continues through Alnmouth to Warkworth, with its impressive castle and medieval fortified bridge.
Over the Scottish Border you can tackle some demanding hill walks on the Donalds, a name given to all distinctive mountains south of a Highland line that are over 2000 feet high. Close to half of these sub-Munro mountains are in the Borders.
A great thing about walking in this part of the world is that almost all the trails are accessible throughout the year. So if you want to see the seasons unfold, a range of wildlife, or experience the changing light at different times of the year, come to Northumberland and The Scottish Borders. The walking just can’t be better anywhere else.