September 2, 2017
Northumberland National Park covers more than 400 square miles which is about a quarter of the county. It stretches from the Scottish border, down to Hadrian’s wall. Despite it being one of the least visited national parks it has no shortage of attractions to pull people in.
The park is sparsely populated which means it is the ideal location for wildlife to breed. There are all sorts of natural habitats to explore such as moorland, woodland, haymeadows and Peat bogs. Each of these environments are unique and home to a variety of plants and animals.
One of the nature reserves within the park close to Hadrian’s wall is Greenlee Lough. The Lough is one of the most significant areas of wetland in Europe. There are many different kinds of pondweed and algae that thrive in the clean water here. This attracts wildlife such as waders and wildfowl.
There are plenty of walks whether guided or not that enable you to enjoy the spectacular scenery whilst keeping an eye out for the native wildlife or take in the historical sites. One such walk is the Thirlwall Castle walk. Why not visit Carvoran Roman Army museum whilst you are there to learn about what life was like for people living in the Roman times. If you're peckish en route, stop in at Ye Old Forge Tea Rooms at Greenhead for some soup or coffee and a cake.
For an easier and relatively short walk of 4km, you could head over to Simonside Forest and embark on the Simonside Family Walk. Look out for deer, adders and red squirrels. Red squirrels live in broadleaved and conifer woodlands as their diet consists of nuts, pine seeds and spruce seeds.
Or another walk recommended for families is the Reaveley Family Stroll. This is approximately 4:3km and will take you through woodland. Keep an eye out for barn owls and jackdaws as this is the perfect nesting area for them. The Plough Inn nearby is a family run pub serving home cooked food and is the perfect place to take a break.
Northumberland park is a great location for cyclists to explore too. The roads tend to be quiet and there are loads of routes to choose from depending on your skill level. There are also plenty of off road routes for families to enjoy too.
If you're up for a challenge, why not embark on the C2C sea to sea 140 mile journey from coast to coast? Starting at Tynemouth on the east coast and heading through Newcastle, Allenheads, Keswick and ending up on the West Coast town of Whitehaven.
Another adventurous cycle route is the Sandstone Way. This is an approximately 192km mountain biking route that heads along the Sandstone Ridge. On this route you will take in some spectacular scenery between Berwick-upon-Tweed and Hexham. For some refreshments along the way there are a few cafes to try such as the Doddington Dairy Milk Bar for hot and cold drinks, eat in or take away. Also there's Thomlinson’s cafe if it's a hearty meal you're after.