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Northumberland National Park

Northumberland National Park, was designated in 1956 and is the most northerly of England's National Parks.

The Park covers an area of 1030sq kilometres/400sq miles, from Hadrian's Wall in the south, to the Cheviot Hills, which form the border with Scotland in the north.

Bamburgh Castle seen from the south dunes.
Bamburgh Castle ©Shutterstock / Dave Head

Here there are high hills, wide open sky-scapes, heather clad moorlands, forests and river valleys, often described as 'The Land of the Far Horizons'.

Kielder Water inlet with forest in the background
Kielder Water Inlet ©Shutterstock / Dave Head

The Northumberland National Park is one of the great remaining open spaces in Britain, with over 900km/600 miles of way-marked footpaths and bridleways.

Hadrian's Wall

In the south of Northumberland National Park is Hadrian's Wall, which ran from the east to west coast of England and is now a World Heritage Site.

Remains of Housesteads Roman fort on Hadrian's Wall
Housesteads Roman Fort, Hadrians Wall ©Shutterstock / Barnes Ian

Although much of the wall no longer exists, the best preserved section and its associated forts, are to be found within the Park.

Hadrian's Wall was built on an outcrop of hard volcanic rock, the Whin Sill, a natural north-facing cliff.

Here on a clear day you can walk and see for miles: Enjoy the wonderful views of the surrounding countryside!

Reiver Country

The river valleys of North Tyne and Redesdale form a gentle landscape in Northumberland National Park, but this was not always the case.

Simonside Hills, part of the Northumberland National Park
Simonside Hills part of Northumberland National Park ©Shutterstock / Dave Head

Known as 'Reiver Country', these quiet valleys were once terrorised by the warring clans from both north and south of the borders. The Reivers were outlaws who stole cattle, raided and burnt each other's homes.

Evidence of the conflicts, which took place between the 14th - 16th centuries still remain in the many ruined Peel Towers (look-out towers) and Bastles (fortified farms), found in this part of the National Park.

Northumberland as a whole has more castles, both ruined and preserved than any other county in England; a legacy of the Border Wars.

Warkworth castle in North Northumberland England
Warkworth Castle ©Shutterstock / Gail Johnson


Otterburn Training Area is owned by the Ministry of Defence and is used for military training. The Otterburn Training Area Access Guide shows the areas which are open to the public, both during and after firing.

This access guide is available from Northumberland National Park Centres, Information Points, Libraries, Tourist Information Centres, local shops and hostelries. For further information contact the Range Liaison Officer: Telephone: +44 (0)1912 394 201.

Sycamore Gap on Hadrians wall in northumberland
Hadrian's Wall ©Shutterstock / Kevin Tate

Three Beautiful Valleys

The beauty spot known as 'Happy Valley' is situated in Harthope Valley, here the stream or 'Burn' trickles along the valley floor and circular walks give rise to higher ground with lovely views.

Typical winter view high up in the Ingram Valley in Northumberland's national park
Ingram Valley ©Shutterstock / Gail Johnson

Beamish Valley offers car parking, picnic sites and is a popular destination with visitors. There is an information centre offering information on the history and wildlife of the valley.

Coquet Valley is gentle and peaceful, anglers come to fish for trout and salmon. Nearby are the Simonside Hills and the 19th century house Cragside, the first house in England to be lit by electricity.

Looking along Hadrian's Wall with Crag Lough lake in the distance
Crag Lough from Hadrian's Wall ©Shutterstock / Kevin Eaves

High Hills Country

The northern part of the Northumberland National Park, known as 'High Hills Country' is dominated by the Cheviot Hills, whose highest point is Cheviot 815m/2,674ft.

View to the Northumbrian Cheviot Hills in sunny autumn
View to Northern Cheviot Hills ©Shutterstock / Gail Johnson

These ancient hills were once volcanoes, now long extinct. Tens of thousands of years of wind and weather have moulded the rounded shapes we see today.

Bastle House on the Anglo Scottish Border
Bastle House ©Shutterstock / Roger Hall

You can find more information on the Northumberland National Park Website, or continue reading about other National Parks using the links at the bottom of the page.

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