Follow in the footsteps of Roman settlers, hike amid breathtaking landscapes and gaze at a starlit sky in England’s least populated national park.
Northumberland National Park is an area of magnificent rolling green pastures, deep valleys, dense forests and clean rivers. It covers some 405 square miles (1,049 square kilometers) between the North Pennines and the Scottish border. The stunning countryside of Northumberland National Park invites you to explore at your own pace by bike, foot and horseback. Visit ancient ruins, discover pretty market towns and enjoy superb stargazing.
Endless miles of marked and unmarked trails meander throughout the park. Put on a pair of walking boots and hike across the park’s tallest hills, The Cheviots. Cross rivers via old bridges and stroll through a mystical forest to a waterfall at Hareshaw Linn. The moorland, outcrops and rivers of Coquetdale are a photographer’s dream while Breamish Valley is a favorite among horse riders.
A section of Hadrian’s Wall, the one-time defensive wall of the Roman region of Britannia, runs along the southern border of the park. Walk the 8-mile (13-kilometer) stretch between Housesteads Roman Fort and Walltown Crags. Snap a photo of the Sycamore Gap, a tree that stands in a dip in the wall. Exhibitions at The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre educate about the cultural history and geography of Northumberland.
Fishermen will enjoy casting a line into the River Tyne in search of salmon, brown trout and rainbow trout. There are also opportunities to spot wildlife such as the curlew bird, black grouse and red squirrels.
With some of the darkest skies in the U.K., the park is a stargazers paradise. Cawfields, Harbottle and Stonehaugh are all excellent locations for spotting constellations and the Milky Way.
The park is in the northernmost region of England. It’s about an hour’s drive from Newcastle-upon-Tyne and a 2-hour drive from Edinburgh. Local bus services travel between the park’s towns.
Entry to Northumberland National Park is free and it remains open year round. Visit the park’s official website to find out about guided walks, which have a fee, and to download a trail map.