Moorlands

From the high summits of Cross Fell and the wind swept expanses of blanket bog on the plateau above Lunedale, to the high ridges between the eastern and northern dales, the moorland landscapes of the North Pennines are some of England’s wildest places.

They are home to some of our rarest and most charismatic wildlife and have an unspoilt sense of naturalness and remoteness found in few other places in our crowded country. A walk on the moors offers a sense of tranquillity and isolation that is difficult to find elsewhere in England. These peatlands have important environmental functions such as reducing flood risk, providing a source of clean drinking water and acting as carbon sinks. Peatlands also preserve important archaeological heritage and organic matter like pollen grains, which provide evidence of environmental change. This moorland is accessible through public rights of way and much of it is open access land.


Allendale Town: Route 2

Chimney on Dryburn Moor © NPAP
Cycle route 2 utilises the upper valley roads but is generally less demanding than the other routes, despite one very short and extremely steep hill at Acton Burn. This is followed by a series of generally upward undulations leading to a glorious descent back into Allendale Town. A longer alternative route takes in both Dryburn Moor and a part of the C2C cycle route through Swinhope Moor. The remains of an early 17th century bastle house called Rowantree stob can be seen off the cycle route near Pry Hill Farm (NY 839 512). These fortified homes were built by landowners to protect their families and livestock from Border Reivers. The bastle ruins can be accessed using Isaacs Tea Trail which is a public footpath.
Location:
Starting and Finishing in Allendale Town.
Distance:
15 km
Terrain:
On road sections, Steep sections
Recreation opportunities:

Allendale Town: Route 3

Stobbs Cross above Allendale © NPAP/Rebecca Barrett
Cycle Route 3 is for the more adventurous cyclist, with a steep ascent and descent to cross the River East Allen at Oakpool. The ensuing ascent is best taken at walking pace and several continuation options are available at Keenley. Nearby is Keenley Chapel the oldest Methodist Chapel in the Allendale area and it is one of the first to be purpose-built in the North East. It was built in 1750, rebuilt in 1875 and is still in use. Many Methodist chapels, some now converted for domestic or other uses, can be seen throughout the North Pennines.
Location:
Starting and Finishing in Allendale Town.
Distance:
14 km
Terrain:
On road sections
Recreation opportunities:

Allendale Town: Route 4

Cycle route four is an off-road route which uses several sections of quiet minor roads as part of the itinerary. Once again, there are various options to extend or shorten the route according to time, energy and ground conditions. The route passes alongside several upland hay meadows which are a rare and internationally important habitat because of their high wildflower and grassland species diversity.
Location:
Starting and Finishing in Allendale Town.
Distance:
15 km
Terrain:
On road sections, Steep sections
Recreation opportunities:

Cow Green Geological Trail

Cauldron Snout on the River Tees © Natural England/Charlie Hedley
The trail will introduce many of the rocks which make the Teesdale landscape so special and which make the dale a haven for rare and interesting plants. This trail is within Moor House-Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve (NNR), an internationally important place for wildlife and earth heritage. The NNR is managed by Natural England in partnership with Raby and Strathmore Estates and local farmers. Do examine the rocks, minerals and plants you will see along the way but please do not collect them: leave them for others to enjoy.
Location:
Starting from Wheelhead Sike car park at Cow Green.
Distance:
8 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections, Steep sections
Area:
Access:
Recreation opportunities:

Eden Outdoor Adventures

Gyhll scrambling © Eden Outdoor Adventures
Eden Outdoor Adventures is a small, friendly, family company run by Ian and Melanie. We provide tailor made courses for individuals, families and groups. We believe that by tailor making your course we can offer quality instruction and guiding with the personal touch, allowing people to get the most out of their time with us. We work hard to understand your needs and to design days to offer a challenge and to make your dreams come true. To help do this, Eden Outdoor Adventures draw upon a great deal of knowledge and experience from working in the outdoors and the areas in which we operate. They also hold National Qualifications in the activities we offer to ensure you the highest standards. We offer half day to multiple day trips in the Lake District, Eden Valley, Northern Pennines, Scotland and Wales as well as further afield. From guided tours, low level family walks through wooded valleys, introductory climbing and canoeing to demanding mountain and river trips in wild places. Wherever your dreams take you, let Eden Outdoor Adventures help make them come true.
Location:
Ousby, Penrith, Cumbria.

Electric Bike Cycle Route 1 - Allendale to Allen Banks

A 20 mile circular route that takes you from the centre of Allendale town, through rural Northumberland, to reach the spectacular ancient woodland at Allen Banks. Hiring an Electric Bike takes the edge off the rolling hills, and allows you to enjoy the stunning landscapes we are famous for.
Location:
Circular route starting at Allendale Post Office
Terrain:
On road sections, Steep sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Electric Bike Cycle Route 2 - Views of the East Allen

A short route that takes you out of Allendale Town where you can get some of the best views of the East Allen Valley.
Location:
Circular route starting from Allendale Post Office
Distance:
12 km
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Electric Bike Cycle Route 3 - Dryburn Moor & East Allen

This 33 km route takes you from the mining village of Allenheads, over the West Allen via the C2C and onto Dryburn Moor. From there you get stunning views of the East and West Allen, and looking north, the Scottish Boarders.
Location:
Circular route from The Hemmel Cafe, Allenheads
Distance:
33 km
Terrain:
On road sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Electric Bike Cycle Route 4 - Ninebanks & East Allen

Enjoy this 35km cycle along the West and East Allen
Location:
Circular route in the West and East Allen Valleys
Distance:
35 km
Terrain:
On road sections, Steep sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Geology and landscape around Blanchland

Blanchland © NPAP/Shane Harris
The landscape around Blanchland has been over 300 million years in the making. From tropical seas and deltas to glaciers, minerals and miners – all have played their part in shaping this beautiful landscape. This circular walk will introduce you to some of the special features of the landscape around Blanchland. By spotting clues in the moors, fields and buildings you’ll find out how to ‘read’ the landscape and discover more about its fascinating past. The sections opposite give some background information about how the local rocks and minerals formed, and tell you a bit about the area’s mining heritage.
Location:
Starting from Blanchland car park.
Distance:
6 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections, Steep sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Hay Time Walk 2: Weardale

Path to the hay meadows in Ireshopeburn © NPAP/Gearoid Murphy
Take a 2 hour walk in Weardale, a landscape that has been farmed and mined for centuries. This five kilometre walk close to Ireshopeburn crosses some beautiful meadows, with superb views of the surrounding moorland and villages in the dale below. The best time to go is between April and August to catch the wildflowers in full bloom. It is still a worthwhile walk outside of these times due to presence of late blooming flowers can be seen in mid Autumn and wading birds in the Spring.
Location:
Starting from a small parking area in Ireshopeburn.
Distance:
5 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Area:
Recreation opportunities:

High Force and Bowlees Geotrail

High Force ©
This circular walk, from Bowlees Visitor Centre or High Force car park, will introduce you to some of the special features of the landscape around High Force and Low Force waterfalls. You'll discover rocks with dramatic origins, ice age features, ancient settlements, lead mining heritage and wonderful wildlife.
Location:
A lovely walk starting from Bowlees Visitor Centre or High Force car park in Upper Teesdale.
Distance:
8 km
Terrain:
Off road sections, Steep sections
Area:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:
Download GPX file:

Isaacs Tea Trail

 © Roger Morris
Isaac's Tea Trail is a long distance path inspired by the tale of Isaac Holden. Not only a tea seller, Isaac was a local philanthropist and the trail takes you past many legacies of Isaac's fundraising.
Location:
The circular walk can be accessed from many locations, 4 sections have been suggested: Section 1: Allendale Section 2: Nenthead Section 3: Alston Section 4: Ninebanks
Distance:
58 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Knock Geological Trail

Great Dun Fell © NPAP/Shane Harris
This different rocks and landscape features along this trail tells the story of the events and geological processes that have created this landscape over nearly 500 million years of Earth history. Stout boots, warm clothing and good waterproofs are advised as even in summer the climate of the North Pennine escarpment can be harsh and cloud can descend quickly. Allow a full day for the complete walk. Use of an Ordnance Survey map and compass is recommended for this route. In places the route passes old mine workings, parts of which may be unstable. Please keep to footpaths and do not attempt to enter old tunnels or any old surface excavations. Do examine the rocks and minerals you will see along the way but please do not collect them: leave them for others to enjoy.
Location:
At the end of a minor road west of Knock. (Don't block access)
Distance:
10 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections
Access:
Recreation opportunities:

Moor House - Upper Teesdale NNR: Up on the ridge

Knock Pike and the Eden Valley © NPAP/Gearoid Murphy
On the backbone of England, around the headwaters of the River Tees, 8,800 hectares of upland country forms the Moor House – Upper Teesdale NNR. The Reserve encompasses an almost complete range of upland habitats typical of the North Pennines, from lower lying hay meadows, rough grazing and juniper woods to limestone grassland, blanket bogs and the summit heaths of the high fells. Nowhere else in Britain is there such a diversity of rare habitats in one location. The remote and dramatic landscape of Moor House – Upper Teesdale can be enjoyed from the Pennine Way National Trail, the Public Rights of Way network and on Open Access land. This walk takes you right up along the summit ridge of the Pennines. You’ll be able to see evidence of the area’s mining and quarrying history, take in some stunning views over the high Pennines, and look across the Eden Valley to the Lake District fells.
Location:
Start point at the end of the public road from Knock village, past Knock Christian centre. Please park with consideration.
Distance:
12 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, Steep sections
Area:
Access:
Recreation opportunities:

Moor House - Upper Teesdale NNR: Waterfalls and wildlife

High Force © DCC/Mike Ogden
On the backbone of England, around the headwaters of the River Tees, 8,800 hectares of upland country forms the Moor House – Upper Teesdale NNR. The Reserve encompasses an almost complete range of upland habitats typical of the North Pennines, from lower lying hay meadows, rough grazing and juniper woods to limestone grassland, blanket bogs and the summit heaths of the high fells. Nowhere else in Britain is there such a diversity of rare habitats in one location. The remote and dramatic landscape of Moor House – Upper Teesdale can be enjoyed from the Pennine Way National Trail, the Public Rights of Way network and on Open Access land. This walk follows the banks of the River Tees from Low Force, through the juniper woods up to High Force waterfall. Here you can turn round and follow the same route back or continue further upriver and follow the lower slopes of Holwick Fell to return.
Location:
Starting from Bowlees car park.
Terrain:
Off road sections, On road sections, Steep sections
Area:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Newbiggin and the Carriers’ Way

Walkers on the heather moors © NPAP/Shane Harris
This leaflet is one of a series designed to help you discover the treasures of Blanchland - both natural and man-made. This attractive walk takes you from Blanchland, along the River Derwent, up on to open moorland. The moorland is exposed and can experience harsh weather. The wild landscape surrounding Blanchland bustles with evidence of people, from Mesolithic hunters to lead miners and modern land managers. Everywhere you look you see the imprint of our ancestors. Many landscape scars have been hidden by nature and it is hard to believe that in the not-so-distant past this quiet landscape was once home to major industry.
Location:
Staring from Blanchland car park.
Distance:
14 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Newshield and West Allendale

Smallburns Moor in the West Allen Valley © NPAP/Shane Harris
This route climbs out of Alston and heads down to Nenthead before exploring the fascinating upper reaches of the West Allen Valley. It provides a solid days riding with a mix of valley lanes with some sizeable climbs on fell roads. On a misty or windy day the high points of Black Hill or Willyshaw Rigg will prove challenging to say the least, but given a blue sky and a fair breeze there can be few better spots to be on two wheels. As well as the stunning North Pennine landscape along the way there is plenty to see particularly if you are interested in industrial heritage.
Location:
Starting and finishing in Alston.
Distance:
36 km
Terrain:
On road sections, Steep sections
Recreation opportunities:

North Pennine Birdwalks Site 2: Ouston Fell

Swallow © NPAP
Whitfield Moor and Ouston Fell support large numbers of breeding waders and red grouse. This is a good place to watch displaying waders and, if you’re lucky, hunting birds of prey. It is also an excellent spot to simply enjoy the evocative calls and songs of moorland birds during spring and summer. Blocks of conifer woodland which surround the site often provide breeding sites for birds of prey. Look out for buzzards soaring overhead and listen for twittering flocks of siskins.
Location:
Static viewing from the large lay-by near the conifer plantation on the A686.
Terrain:
On road sections
Access:
Recreation opportunities:
Interests:

North Pennine Birdwalks Site 3: Harwood Beck and Widdybank

Redshank © NPAP
The meadows and pastures around Harwood Beck and Widdybank are some of the best places to see breeding waders and black grouse. If you sit quietly in your car you may be rewarded with the sight of a snipe shepherding its chicks through the vegetation or a precocious young lapwing chick pecking for food in the short turf.
Location:
Static viewing from a grassy verge on the road to Cow Green Reservoir.
Terrain:
On road sections
Area:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

North Pennine Birdwalks Walk 11: Dufton Pike

Wheatear © NPAP
Soaring above the Eden Valley, the North Pennine escarpment is a striking feature above Dufton. This walk circumnavigates Dufton Pike, offering dramatic views of the limestone crags of Great Rundale. Ideal habitat for buzzards, these birds are regularly seen in this area. More elusive, the ring ouzel may also be found, singing from one of the gnarled hawthorn trees that dot the hillside.
Location:
Starting from the car park in Dufton.
Distance:
7 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

North Pennine Birdwalks Walk 12: Upper Teesdale

Black grouse © NPAP
Upper Teesdale is one of the best places to see waders in the breeding season and black grouse throughout the year. The wide expanse of the upper dale offers stunning views of the meadows and allotments and the imposing fells of Cronkley Scar and Widdybank. The River Tees is always impressive and there’s a chance of seeing birds such as dipper, goosander and oystercatcher.
Location:
Starting from the car park at Hanging Shaw, Forest-in-Teesdale.
Distance:
7 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections, Steep sections
Area:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

North Pennine Birdwalks Walk 13: Howden Burn

Lapwing © NPAP
Passing through grassland and up onto heather moorland, this walk provides splendid views across the open uplands and down to the Bollihope Burn. It is a fine area to watch wading birds during the breeding season when the air is filled with their songs and displays. Redstart, great spotted woodpecker, tits and warblers can also be seen or heard in the riverside woodland.
Location:
Starting on short turf at roadside beside the Bollihope Burn.
Distance:
3 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Area:
Access:
Recreation opportunities:

North Pennine Birdwalks Walk 14: Blackton Reservoir

Oystercatcher © NPAP
The meadows, pastures and allotments of Baldersdale support large numbers of breeding waders which make an impressive sight during the spring and summer months. Like all areas of open water in the North Pennines, Blackton Reservoir also provides a refuge for wildfowl during the harsh winter months. This area is therefore worth a visit at any time of year.
Location:
Starting from the small car park at the road end.
Distance:
6 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Area:
Access:
Recreation opportunities:

North Pennine Birdwalks Walk 2: Tindale Tarn

Wigeon © NPAP
Located in the far north west of the AONB, Tindale Tarn is a good place to bird watch at any time of year in a highly scenic setting. A rich variety of breeding birds can be seen during spring and summer, including waders and black grouse. During the winter months, the Tarn attracts a range of wildfowl including wigeon and whooper swans. Heavily worked for zinc in the past, this area is also rich in industrial archaeology, including the remains of a quarry and smelter. The RSPB manages this site as part of their reserve at Geltsdale. An information centre is located at Stagsike Cottage which is accessible on foot. Disabled access by vehicle can be prearranged by phoning the reserve on 01697 746 717.
Location:
Small car park in Tindale.
Distance:
9 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Access:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

North Pennine Birdwalks Walk 4: The Chimneys and Dryburn Moor

Golden plover © NPAP
This walk epitomises much that is characteristic of the North Pennines AONB. High peaty moorland, the sweet melancholy call of the golden plover and the towering remains of chimneys from the area’s lead mining past. All this is surrounded by sweeping views of the dales and settlements below and can be reached without a strenuous climb!
Location:
Starting from a small road side lay-by.
Distance:
2 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections
Access:
Recreation opportunities:

North Pennine Birdwalks Walk 7: Burnhope Head

Merlin © NPAP
Even in the depths of winter the heather moorland at Burnhope Head is home to large numbers of red grouse. Seeming to catapult from the heather in display whilst giving their loud “get back, get back” call, red grouse are a dramatic sight. During spring and summer their numbers are swelled by a multitude of breeding waders and the moorland seems to burst with life. With sweeping views all around, this is always an impressive walk.
Location:
Starting from the large lay-by near Dead Friars Stone.
Distance:
5 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Access:
Recreation opportunities:

North Pennine Birdwalks Walk 9: Wellhope Moor

Grey partridge © NPAP
This walk offers both stunning views across the Nent Valley and the opportunity to experience a mix of typical North Pennines upland habitats: hay meadow, pasture and allotment, heather moorland, blanket bog and upland stream. Passing a derelict mine and many old mine shafts, it also typifies the historic lead mining landscape of the area.
Location:
Starting from a small road side lay-by.
Distance:
5 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections, Steep sections
Access:
Recreation opportunities:

Open access walks in Cumbria: Cardunneth Pike

Walkers above Castle Carrock reservoir © NPAP/Elizabeth Pickett
A classic ridge walk following the spine of Cumrew Fell, taking in two of the best viewpoints in the area. The route uses low level right of way for the outward journey, with a range of occupational tracks and desire lines tracks being used for the high level return leg. Part of return leg crosses open access land on a managed grouse moor, over which dogs are not allowed.
Location:
Starting from Castle Carrock village in the vicinity of The Weary Inn.
Distance:
18 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Open access walks in Cumbria: Cold Fell

Walkers on Gairs track © NPAP/Elizabeth Pickett
Marking the northern end of the Pennine Chain, the aptly named Cold Fell is also the most northerly mountain in Cumbria. Although this route is relatively short, it is a serious undertaking with a steep ascent and descent, coupled with terrain that is usually wet and hard going throughout the year. Nevertheless it’s still a fine walk which is full of interest with excellent views across the Border region.
Location:
Starting from car park beyond Clesketts near Hallbankgate.
Distance:
11 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections, Steep sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Open access walks in Cumbria: Dufton Pike

Dufton Pike © NPAP/Elizabeth Pickett
The picturesque village of Dufton nestles quietly on the western flank of the North Pennines overlooked by the pyramidal Dufton Pike, which is the focus of this walk. Despite the relatively short distance, this is a mountain walk in miniature and is perfect for when you have al lout a few hours to spare. The short sharp climb is ample payment for the reward at the summit: an extensive panorama across the Eden Valley to the distant Lakeland Fells, and unique view of the main Pennine Scarp lying close by.
Location:
Starting from the village green in Dufton village which is approx 3½ miles north of Appleby-in-Westmorland. Parking available in the small car park just off the village green.
Distance:
8 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections, Steep sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Open access walks in Cumbria: Geltsdale

Binney Bank wood below Tarnmonath Fell © NPAP/Gearoid Murphy
A good walk for days when the cloud is low, favouring a lower level circuit of the picturesque Geltsdale without the need to venture too high up. Discover remnants of the valley’s industrial past, whilst savouring the delights of her wildlife and scenery of this now tranquil Valley.
Location:
Starting from the parking verge at Jockey Shield near Castle Carrock.
Distance:
10 km
Terrain:
Off road sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Open access walks in Cumbria: Great Knipe

It's hard to imagine that this short, but thoroughly rewarding, 'away from it all' moorland walk lies so close to a major trans-Pennine road link. Seldom does this land attract a second glance from the thousands that pass below it each day. Contained within a Ministry of Defence ‘dry range’, this walk focuses upon an amphitheatre scarp culminating with the headland of Great Knipe, with its commanding views over the Stainmore Pass and across the upper realms of the greater Eden valley.
Location:
Starting off the A66, approx 3.5 miles to the east of Brough. Roadside parking is available on a minor road just off the A66 east-bound carriageway, at Slapestone Bridge
Distance:
8 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Recreation opportunities:

Open access walks in Cumbria: North Pennine Ridge (Northern Section)

Overlooking Geltsdale and the Tindale Fells © NPAP/Gearoid Murphy
A classic moorland traverse across wild terrain with hardly a discernable path for most of the way makes this a true wilderness experience. The ridge-top fence serves as a comforting navigational aid whilst you savour the solitude, tranquillity and open grandeur of this seldom frequented part of the county. This linear route is a serious undertaking in any weather, and to help with navigation it is described in both directions.
Location:
Starting from Hartside Café off the A686 between Alston and Melmerby.
Distance:
21 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Open access walks in Cumbria: North Pennine Ridge (Southern Section)

View of Pikes from Knock Fell © NPAP/Elizabeth Pickett
Following the spine of the Pennine ridge from Dufton to Hartside Pass this linear walk passes over Cross Fell which is the highest point in England outside of the Lake District. Partly following the Pennine Way National Trail and partly on pathless moorland this route rewards with stunning views throughout, especially those across the Eden valley to the distant Lakeland Fells. This linear route is a serious undertaking in any weather, and to help with navigation it is described in both directions.
Location:
Starting from the village green in Dufton village which is approx 3½ miles north of Appleby-in-Westmorland. Parking available in the small car park just off the village green.
Distance:
23 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Open access walks in Cumbria: Talkin Fell

View down the River Gelt Valley © NPAP/Gearoid Murphy
This short walk is ideal for those with a few hours to spare, and serves as a perfect introduction to open access. The route follows excellent public rights of way, and distinct desire lines once you venture onto the access land. On a clear day the panorama from the top of Talkin Fell is probably one of the best you’ll get for the effort involved in getting there.
Location:
Starting from the parking verge at Jockey Shield near Castle Carrock.
Distance:
7 km
Terrain:
Off road sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Open access walks in Cumbria: Thack Moor and Black Fell

Cottage near Hartside summit © NPAP/Simon Wilson
One of the more serious undertakings, this routes ventures onto the main North Pennine ridge, via the outlying top of Thack Moor. Tranquillity, solitude and a sense of moorland grandeur is guaranteed on the first section. A much deserved break at Hartside Café is recommended, before the return leg to Renwick following public rights of way on good tracks and paths.
Location:
Starting from Townhead, at the northern end of Renwick village towards the parish church. Roadside parking is available at the church.
Distance:
17 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Over the hill to Cowbyre Farm

Derwent Reservoir from above Blanchland © NPAP
This is a varied walk that begins with a climb up from the village of Blanchland. The walk passes through woodland and pasture with magnificent views of the Derwent Valley and Edmundbyers Common, finally dropping down to the river and returning to the village.
Location:
Staring from Blanchland car park.
Distance:
6 km
Terrain:
Off road sections, On road sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Rookhope: Fields and Fells

Rookhope © NPAP/Shane Harris
The town of Rookhope and its surrounding environs are littered with the remains of its once prosperous mining industry such as the Rookhope arch and Bolts Law engine house. This austere landscape inspired poet W H Auden to write some of his earliest work. Nowadays Rookhope supports fascinating upland flora and fauna and a small tourist industry as a stop off on the C2C cycle route. You can discover these and more interesting facets of Rookhope in this series of circular walks.
Location:
Starting from Rookhope Village Hall.
Distance:
8 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Area:
Access:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Sinderhope Pony Trekking Centre

Sinderhope Pony Trekking © NPAP/Charlie Headley
The Sinderhope Pony Trekking Centre is based on a traditional working hill farm in Northumberland which is surrounded by miles of beautiful moorland. The Centre offers treks of various lengths to suit all abilities, riding over moorland and through dales on our cobs and native type ponies. Lessons last 30 minutes or 50 minutes and they are taught in the indoor arena which provides a safe, enclosed and dry environment, with horses and ponies to provide a range of sizes, types and temperaments to suit everyone from the complete beginner to the competent rider. Canters are arranged for the more experienced rider, while basic instructions and support are offered to the nervous or novice rider. We also provide private trekking for individuals or groups if you would like to go out on your own with one of our guides, these sessions are subject to availability.
Location:
High Sinderhope, Sinderhope, Allendale, Northumberland, NE47 9SH.
Terrain:
Off road sections, On road sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Spring Gentian

Spring gentian © NPAP/Elizabeth Pickett
Teesdale is a botanist’s paradise, but one plant stands out: the spring gentian. Spring gentians are best seen on warm, bright days, from April to early June. A sun worshipper, this little flower closes as the weather becomes dull, leaving nothing to see but small, dark-blue spikes. However the flowers quickly open again when the sun emerges from behind the clouds. Hidden among the short vegetation, spring gentians often go unnoticed, but when you do find them they stop you in your tracks with their startling deep-blue flowers. The flowers are typically 15 to 30mm across. Look out for a delicate plant with a solitary, intense-blue flower, like a tiny, five-pointed star. It is surprisingly small for a flower with such a big reputation! You can see gentians in flower from many public footpaths in Upper Teesdale. Please stick to the paths to protect these and other rare plants.
Location:
Car park at Forest-in-Teesdale.
Distance:
11 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Area:
Access:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:
Download:

St John's Chapel: Farming, Mining and Methodism

Coronation Bridge in Ireshopeburn, Weardale © NPAP/Gearoid Murphy
This walk traces the history of three neighbouring villages Daddry Shield, St Johns Chapel and Ireshopeburn. From their origins as farming settlements, through to the expansion of the mining industry in the mid 19th Century and the associated rises in population and conversion of locals to Methodism, this region has witnessed dramatic changes which have left their mark on the landscape of the upper dale. This walk tells the story of these developments while pointing out historic buildings and events associated with them.The walk was devised and described by volunteers of The Weardale Museum (www.weardalemuseum.co.uk), Ireshopeburn, where much more information can be found.
Location:
Starting from the Weardale Inn or St John Chapel Cattle Market car park.
Distance:
11 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections, Steep sections
Area:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Take a closer look into Ashes Quarry Stanhope

Ashes Quarry above Stanhope in Weardale © NPAP/Neil Diment
Here, for 70 years and more, hundreds of men toiled by hand with simple tools to dig the Great Limestone out of the Weardale fells, just a short distance from the centre of Stanhope. They left behind a huge, mile-long hole in the ground which today, over 60 years since they downed tools, nature is slowly reclaiming. This 2-mile circular route follows the paths the quarrymen would have once taken to work. It rewards a bit of a climb at the start with fantastic views over Stanhope and a fascinating insight into Weardale's industrial past.
Location:
Starting from the Durham Dales Centre car park in Stanhope.
Distance:
3 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections, Steep sections
Area:
Recreation opportunities:

Taste Trails: Allendale to Whitfield Circular

Allendale Bakery © NPAP/Shane Harris
This route takes you from Allendale town past Allen mill and through the nearby village of Catton before crossing the valley of the River East Allen to Whitfield. The walk then returns to Allendale town along Isaac’s Tea Trail. The route includes riverside walking and takes you through pleasant farmland and scenic wooded valleys. The Allendale landscape has been shaped by a long history of farming, estate management and minerals extraction.
Location:
Starting from Allendale Town.
Distance:
18 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Teesdale Reservoir Walk

Hury Reservoir © NPAP/Beck Baker
This interesting walk takes in 3 of Northumbrian Waters reservoirs in Teesdale, with the opportunity to view another 3 reservoirs from the walks highpoint. The walk follows the Pennine Way from Grassholme Reservoir over moorland to reach the rocky flat-topped summit of Goldsborough Hill. Afterward you will descend to follow the shores of Hury and Blackton Reservoirs where you may see wigeon, common sandpiper and tufted duck. You will also pass by Meres beck meadow and Hannah’s meadow, which during the summer will be filled with beautiful wildflowers.
Location:
Car parks at the Northern end of the Balderhead Reservoir dam wall.
Distance:
13 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Area:
Access:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Walks from Allendale Caravan Park

River East Allen © NPAP/Shane Harris
This set of 3 walks from Allendale Caravan Park showcase the distinct beauty and character of Allendale. On the walks you will pass through pretty hay meadows, see remnants of the areas lead mining past, encounter the abundant wildlife of the region and be exposed to the dramatic moorland landscapes on the fell above the town.
Location:
Starting from Allendale Caravan Park.
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Recreation opportunities:

Weardale Way - Stanhope to White Kirkley

Footbridge over the Bollihope Burn © NPAP/Gearoid Murphy
Beginning in Stanhope the walk takes you across several burns and through a number of disused limestone quarries to reach the small hamlet of White Kirkley which sits above Frosterley. Limestone has been quarried from the valley sides around Frosterley since the 12th century but it was in the 1800s that the village became an important centre for limestone quarrying. Limestone has many uses - as a road stone, agricultural lime, for flux in the iron and steel industry and for cement. A special type of limestone is found in Frosterley; this fossil-rich stone, known as Frosterley marble, can be polished to a high shine. The most famous use of Frosterley marble is in Durham Cathedral. Here, the ceiling of the Chapel of the Nine Altars is supported by slender columns of this unusual stone.
Location:
Starting from the lay-by, near Unthank Farm, in Stanhope.
Distance:
7 km
Terrain:
Off road sections
Area:
Recreation opportunities:

Weardale Way - Westgate to Eastgate via Rookhope

Wildflowers in Ashy Bank wood near Eastgate © NPAP/Gearoid Murphy
The second section of the Weardale Way involves a fairly steep climb up Heights Pasture, above Westgate, before dropping down into the old mining village of Rookhope. The famed poet WH Auden once visited Rookhope as a child and he drew inspiration for many of his works from the North Pennine landscape. From Rookhope the trail heads back down into the Wear Valley following the Rookhope Burn all the way to small village of Eastgate. Eastgate marks the boundary of the former woodland where the Prince Bishops of Durham hunted deer.
Location:
Starting from the car park at Haswicks in Westgate.
Distance:
13 km
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections, Steep sections
Area:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Weardale Way - White Kirkley to Wolsingham

View over Harehope Quarry © NPAP/Gearoid Murphy
From White Kirkley the walk takes you above Harehope Quarry, which is now run as a workers co-operative offering environmental education and rural skills training. The path then climbs up over Harvey Hill to the edge of the grouse moors where you may see Red Grouse among the heather. The trail then drops down towards Wolsingham passing through a patch of ancient woodland at Ashes Beck. Note there are no facilities or parking spaces at White Kirkley, these are available in either Frosterley or Wolsingham.
Location:
Starting from White Kirkley.
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, On road sections
Area:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Wild Brown Trout - Cow Green Reservoir

Preparing the net © NPAP/Shane Harris
Cow Green Reservoir in Teesdale is one of best wild brown trout fisheries in the country. It is full of fighting fit trout, providing excellent sport. Surrounded by the fantastic scenery of the North Pennines grouse moors, there are few more tranquil and relaxing ways to spend a day’s fishing than roaming the banks of these waters, and even fewer places where you can catch truly wild browns. The trout in these reservoirs are 100% native, having descended from the original upland brownies which lived in the streams before the dams were built. Lightning quick and very hard fighting with unique colours and markings, these fish are a joy to catch. Please note, from Wednesday 5 September 2012, day permits for Cow Green, Balderhead and Selset are available to buy in person from Grassholme Reservoir, by calling 0845 155 02366 or online at www.fishpal.com.
Location:
Starting from the Cow Green car park
Terrain:
Off road sections
Area:
Access:
Recreation opportunities:

Wild North Discovery

Wild North Discovery © Wild North Discovery
Activities centred on discovery and exploration of the natural world. We offer bushcraft and survival skills (30 years experience and qualified to teach bushcrafts to groups through the Institute for Outdoor Learning), wild food foraging (as seen on TV with Robson Green), bird watching tours, wildlife & nature exploration activities including animal tracking, pond dipping and minibeast hunts for families, and greenwood crafts including pole lathe and willow basket weaving. Activities can be booked for a half or full day for two or more people either adult or family groups. Weekend and full week activities are also available.
Location:
Harehope Quarry Project - near Frosterley in Weardale. Activities are available at other sites in Weardale and Teesdale - see website for details
Terrain:
Boggy ground, Off road sections, Steep sections
Area:

Windmore end

Michael on Samoon at Windmore crag © Ron Kenyon
A long escarpment of quarried limestone, just about the road from Brough to Middleton-in-Teesdale. Routes from boulder problems up to 13 metres with a huge spread of climbing. Unfortunately there is no access to the left hand section, which is owned by Stainmore Parish Council. There is access to the central and righthand sections, for which climbers are very grateful. Local climber Peter Day climbed here in the 1960’s and together with other developments an initial guidebook was produced by Kelvin Neal in 1976, detailing 50 – 60 routes. Over the years all its sections have been developed. There are a total of 125 accessible routes with trad and bouldering grades in the ranges of Diff to E5 and V0 to V3 respectively.
Location:
Park at a layby towards the righthand end of the crag and approach through a gate further right again – do not climb over any walls!
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities: