Green Travel Guide to
Northumberland National Park
Explore the wild and beautiful Upper Coquet Valley, peppered with shaggy-coated feral goats; follow a bike trail in the Simonside Hills; ramble along a section of Hadrian’s Wall, perched on the high crags of the Whin Sill; cycle around North Tyne, home to ospreys, otters and red squirrels, or find complete solitude in the dramatic Cheviot Hills: the Northumberland National Park truly is a nature lovers’ paradise. Complete with undulating hills, rich heather moorlands, tall spruce forests and some of the darkest skies in Britain, this wild north eastern edge of England is one of the country’s most tranquil and impressive destinations.
Foreword by Tony Gates, Chief Executive,
Northumberland National Park Authority
Just what makes Northumberland National Park so special? As home to England’s cleanest rivers, darkest skies and cleanest air, it’s hard to choose.
Northumberland National Park has a wild beauty that is so uplifting it bestows a sense of wellness from being immersed in open and tranquil countryside, surrounded by the sounds and sights of nature and the stars above – you just have to experience it, to feel it!
The rich variety of dialects, sounds, tastes, traditions and culture add up to 6,000 years of human life here in Northumberland National Park. Northumbrians are passionate about their way of life and take enormous pride in sharing it with you. You’ll discover wonderful food, revel in the local festivals and be able to explore ancient rock art and hill forts. Picturesque towns and villages provide everything you need to make your stay really special and memorable. Northumberland National Park contains England’s first and only International Dark Sky Park (Gold Tier). On a clear night you can see the Milky Way, and even the Andromeda Galaxy (2.5 million light years away) with the naked eye!
New for 2015 is the Sandstone Way Mountain Bike Trail between Berwick Upon Tweed and Hexham, a 120-mile cycling adventure that takes in the glorious Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the National Park and Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site.
One of the best ways to access and enjoy Hadrian’s Wall Country is to take the Hadrian’s Wall Bus AD122 service, which visits all the main Roman attractions as well as passing though some of the most scenic landscapes in England.
This Green Traveller's Guide will also introduce you to many of the great places to stay, where to get great local produce and how to find the best places to visit.
Tony Gates, Chief Executive, Northumberland National Park Authority
What our writers discovered in the Northumberland National Park
Stay, Eat, See & Do
Our pick of places across the Northumberland Coast
Google Map Key:
Click on the coloured icons for more information about each listing
Green = Places to stay; Blue = Places to eat; Yellow = Attractions; Purple = Activities
Click on the square brackets top right of map to reveal expanded map
Northumberland National Park is the most sparsely populated national park in England with a population density less than that of Australia!
It has the cleanest and purest rivers in England
There are 424 historic monuments in the National Park
The National Park contains world class geological sites: the Whin Sill, upon which
Hadrian’s Wall was built, is generally regarded as the original sill of geological science and is regarded as one of the world’s most important geological heritage features
The most famous remains of Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site are found in Northumberland National Park
It has England’s darkest skies
The Cheviot, at 815 metres, is the highest point in Northumberland and was once part of a giant volcano
It is a haven for the iconic red squirrel and other important species, such as black grouse
Some of the best sites for ‘wax cap’ fungi in England are to be found in the National Park: come and see if you can spot their rainbow of colours!
Images: All provided by Northumberland National Park except tree and walkers © Diana Jarvis/Greentraveller. Old Church Cottages; Hexham Market © Diana Jarvis/Greentraveller; Hexham Abbey © Jo Keeling/Greentraveller; Cycling photo © Northumberland National Park.
Words by Jo Keeling.
Artwork for Green Traveller's Guides by Tina Smith and Mark Edwards.