Moorlands


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:

Dark Sky Discovery Site - Clesketts Car Park, RSPB Geltsdale

Set in the beautiful North Pennines AONB, Geltsdale is home to black grouse, birds of prey and breeding wading birds and is ideal for walking. There are 4 way marked trails leading from the car park of Howgill. The Stagsike trail will take 1-2 hours to walk and the other trails a little longer. Stagsike Cottages are approximately a 40 minute walk from the parking area and provide an information point and toilets. Many of the trails are on existing tracks but boots are essential for much of the year and waterproofs are recommended. There is no general vehicle access to Stagsike Cottages but disabled access can be pre-arranged by phoning the reserve (01697 746717). Trails are open at all times and the information point is open between 9am and 5pm. Dogs are welcome but they should be kept on a lead as the reserve is a working farm. A bus services the village of Hallbankgate, which is a mile away.
Location:
From the A69 near Brampton, take the A689 to Hallbankgate and Alston. At Hallbankgate, take the minor road that runs in front of the Belted Will pub; follow this minor road to the reserve car park at end at Clesketts.
Terrain:
Off road sections, On road sections
Recreation opportunities:

Dark Sky Discovery Site - Cow Green Reservoir

 © Beck Baker
Designated as a Dark Sky Discovery Site, Cow Green Reservoir has been recognised for the quality of the night time skies. This is a great place for professional and amateur astronomers to stargaze in the North Pennines AONB. Cow Green Reservoir in Teesdale is also 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. Permits are available to buy in person from Grassholme Reservoir, by calling 0845 155 02366 or online at www.fishpal.com.
Location:
From Middleton-in-Teesdale head up the valley to Langdon Beck on the B6277. Turn left onto a small road (signposted Cow Green Reservoir) and continue along here for approximately 2 miles to a car park.
Area:
Access:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Dark Sky Discovery Site - Derwent Reservoir North Shore

 © Beck Baker
Designated as a Dark Sky Discovery Site, Derwent Reservoir has been recognised for the quality of the night time skies. This is a great place for professional and amateur astronomers to stargaze in the North Pennines AONB. Access to the reservoir for stargazing is only available during organised events (see www.northpennines.org.uk for details). Derwent Reservoir is also Northumbrian Water’s most popular fishery, with anglers liking the combination of lots of bank space and the chance to catch specimen trout weighing up to 20 lbs. Throughout the season a number of tagged fish will be stocked with special prizes awarded to those anglers lucky enough to catch them. In addition, there is a designated pegged area for coarse anglers who can expect to catch some quality roach. Derwent is suitable for disabled anglers and visitors. On site they have an excellent shop stocked with everything you need for a day's fishing including rods, reels, tackle, accessories, clothing, worms, bait, ice creams and refreshments including cold drinks. Environment Agency rod licences are also on sale at this fishery. For those not fishing, there are several picnicking and play areas, plus spectacular walks along the north and south shores and across the dam. A wheelchair accessible trail runs from the south end of the dam along to Pow Hill Country Park and from the north shore of the dam wall to Millshield picnic site. Permits can be purchased online through the Fishpal website (www.fishpal.com/NorthumbrianWater).
Location:
Leave the A68 at the Manor House Pub, turning onto the B6278 towards Edmundbyers. The North Shore car parking is signposted off this road.
Terrain:
Off road sections, On road sections
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Dark Sky Discovery Site - Grassholme Reservoir

 © Beck Baker
Designated as a Dark Sky Discovery Site, Grassholme Reservoir has been recognised for the quality of the night time skies. This is a great place for professional and amateur astronomers to stargaze in the North Pennines AONB. Access to the reservoir for stargazing is only available during organised events (see www.northpennines.org.uk for details). Grassholme is firmly established as one of the top any method fisheries in the country, lying in the picturesque rolling pasture land of upper Teesdale. With four miles of bank space and many inlets and bays it offers a great variety of fishing. Grassholme also enjoys the luxury of its own local fish farm. Grassholme is suitable for disabled anglers and visitors. On site Northumbrian Water have provided an excellent lodge shop stocked with everything you need for a day’s fishing including rods, reels, tackle, accessories, clothing, worms, bait, ice creams and refreshments including hot and cold drinks. Environment Agency rod licences are also on sale at the fishery. There is a circular footpath around the lake providing magnificent views across the water and a pleasant picnicking area next to the visitor centre for you to relax at.
Location:
Take the B6277 from Barnard Castle towards Mickleton. Turn off at the western end of the village, sign posted Grassholme Reservoir. The main car park is roughly a mile up the road on the right.
Terrain:
Off road sections, On road sections
Area:
Facilities nearby
Recreation opportunities:

Dark Sky Discovery Site - Parkhead Station

 © Beck Baker
Parkhead station is one of the first five Dark Sky Discovery Sites in the North Pennines AONB to be designated. It has been recognised as a great place for amateur and professional astronomers to stargaze. With wide open views of the horizon and a location away from the light pollution of towns and cities, the skies are incredibly dark. Under a clear night sky, the major constellations can be seen and the Milky Way is also visible to the naked eye. The café is a converted railway station with a rich industrial history. Find out more on the website (www.parkheadstation.co.uk). Now it is a feature along a traffic free section of the Waskerley Way, just off the C2C cycle route which means astronomers are not going to be disturbed or interrupted by the glare of headlights from passing vehicles. During organised stargazing events, the café offers some warmth and sustenance and a place to discuss recent astronomical news and sightings.
Location:
Located on the B6278, 3 miles north of Stanhope, 10 miles from Consett.
Terrain:
Off road sections, On road sections
Area:
Recreation opportunities:
Interests:

Dark Sky Discovery Site - Tan Hill Inn

 © Alistair Lockett
Tan Hill Inn is one of the first five Dark Sky Discovery Sites to be designated in the North Pennines AONB. Famous for being the highest pub in Britain (at 528 metres above sea level) it is located on the borders of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, well away from any nearby light pollution. The Dark Sky Discovery Site Designation is recognition that there are high quality dark night skies here. There are many opportunities for amateur and professional astronomers to stargaze. The open moorland surrounding the Inn provides fantastic horizon-wide views of the skies so that nearly all features in the northern hemisphere can be seen. In clear skies, all of the major constellations, including Orion, can be seen, and the Milky Way is visible to the naked eye. Tan Hill Inn also offers some warmth and a place to discuss the latest astronomical news and sightings following an evening’s stargazing. Find out more at www.tanhillinn.co.uk.
Location:
On the North Pennines/Yorkshire Dales border. Sign posted as ‘Tan Hill Inn’ off to the south of the A66 Bowes to Brough. Nearest postcode is DL11 6ED.
Terrain:
Off road sections, On road sections
Area:
Facilities nearby
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.

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:

Killhope - The North Of England Lead Mining Museum

Washing Floor at Killhope © Killhope
A visit to Killhope, the award winning North of England Lead Mining Museum, is a unique and unforgettable experience. Killhope is a fully restored nineteenth century Victorian lead mine, where you can experience for yourself the life and work of the lead mining families of the Pennine dales. Our enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff are here to help you get the most from your visit; they are what make Killhope a multi award wining venue. Killhope is famous for its huge working waterwheel, but there is much more to Killhope. You can experience the mineshop where miners lived. You can work as a "washerboy" looking for minerals and galena (which is the lead ore). You can see the working machinery (which Fred Dibnah admired so much) in the "jigger house". But above all, Killhope's award-winning mine tour is unique. From the moment you put on your hard hats, cap-lamps and wellingtons, your visit becomes an unforgettable adventure! Killhope holds the largest collection of Spar Boxes which sits alongside Magnificent Minerals and the Pennine Jewels. Two permanent commissions, Letters of Lead and Language of Lead, part of museumaker, a prestigious national project. We also have an array of art works and installations which adorn our visitor centre and site. You can stroll round Killhope's woodland paths (maybe with a nature backpack). You will see some wildlife and Red Squirrels. Take a break in "Killhope Cafe" where Pip serves up wonderful home made soups, pasties and cakes. Our gift shop stocks a wide range of books, maps, keepsakes and souvenirs. Killhope - A Great Day Out in the Country for all the family! Open Daily during half term 16th - 24th February 2013 - 10.30am - 5.00pm. Open Daily 29th March - 3rd November 2013 10.30am - 5.00pm
Location:
Near Cowshill, Upper Weardale, Co. Durham, DL13 1AR.
Terrain:
Steep sections
Area:
Facilities nearby

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:

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
Facilities nearby

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:

School Explorers

School Explorers provide single or multi day bespoke adventure and outdoor education programmes in the North Pennines. Our programmes are individually tailored to meet the needs of schools and youth groups, from reception age to year 13 and older. Our peripatetic approach enables us to source and package the ideal learning experience. The School Explorer’s team is a group of highly skilled, experienced and qualified outdoor practitioners with a keen emphasis on creativity and a desire to help all young people explore not just the wilderness around them but also the learning that can be achieved through these experiences. Choose from our many established options of camping, accommodation in bunk houses, farm stays or even wild bush craft camps. Programmes include: bush craft, adventure journeys, climbing, team building challenges, hillwalking and expeditions. School Explorers are AALA licensed and hold the Quality Badge from the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom.
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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
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Facilities nearby
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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
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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
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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
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Facilities nearby
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Facilities nearby
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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
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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!
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