Northumberland National Park
There is a wild beauty in Northumberland National Park that bestows a sense of wellbeing just from being in open, surrounded by the sounds and sights of nature, and the stars above.
Within 15 minutes drive from Hexham, you can reach the iconic sections of Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site. Further north, the National Park extends across the North Tyne valley, Redesdale, Coquetdale, and the Cheviot Hills to the Scottish Border.
Northumberland National Park Website
Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site
Walltown Quarry Country Park, is only 30 minutes drive from Hexham and lies just to the north of Greenhead on the A69. It is ideal for families with young children. Here you are free to run about, fly kites, have picnics in the field, play in the small woodland and feed the ducks on the pond. You can also access some of the best sections of the Wall here too. The local kiosk and Information Point serves hot drinks and sandwiches and toilets are on site.
A 1 hour circular walk from Walltown takes you to the remains of Thirwall Castle and returns via the tea room in Greenhead nearby. The Hadrian’s Wall Bus (AD122) stops here with services running from May until September. If the weather turns, you can always pop into the Roman Army Museum which is located 50m from Walltown.
This summer will see the opening of The Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre on Hadrian’s Wall. In partnership with the YHA, and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, this new discovery centre with its year-round programme of outdoor activities and events will inspire you to go further and discover these natural treasures for yourself. Only a 20 minute drive from Hexham, we look forward to seeing you all soon.
Steel Rigg Car Park is located close to one of the most iconic and photographed views of the Wall. There is now an easy-access path linking the car park to a new view point, enabling those with push chairs and wheelchairs to get as close to the Wall as is possible.
Cawfields Picnic Site and Car Park is another landscaped quarry site and is signposted off the B6318, opposite the Milecastle Inn. Good walking access to Roman Milecastle 42. At night, it is one of the best Dark Sky Discovery sites to view the night sky. Look out for events taking place here on our website. There is a bus stop for the Hadrian’s Wall bus outside the Milecastle Inn.
The North Tyne Valley The countryside of Northumberland National Park changes as you head north – each river valley with its own special character. The route to Kielder Water and Forest Park passes through the North Tyne valley and is a scenic treat!
20 minutes from Hexham on the B6320, the small villages of Simonburn with its welcoming tea rooms, and Stonehaugh, with its picnic area on the Warksburn and star-gazing pavilion, are both worth a detour to.
The same road brings you to Bellingham, a thriving village with shops, eateries, campsite, an accoustic music club and a good golf course. Not to be missed on a visit here is the Bellingham Heritage Centre – an award-winning museum of the life of the valley through its rural and industrial past – including its former life as a railway station with classic carriages in the yard housing exhibits and a good tea room.
From the centre of the village is a lovely walk up to Hareshaw Linn - a wooded gorge - home to red squirrels and all kinds of rare woodland plants, ferns and lichens. The path up the gorge crosses six bridges, providing a short expedition that children love, and arrives at a 30’ waterfall at the end of your walk.
A tributary of the North Tyne is the Tarset valley, with its wild beauty and long views.
There is the bastle Trail from the centre of Greenhaugh and one of the National Park’s Poems in the Air can be discovered here too. In May/June the ancient flowering hay meadows of the valley are spectacular
Just before you get to the Kielder dam, make a detour to the village of Falstone and its friendly Old School Tea Room and pretty community picnic garden opposite.
For children, there is a really well-equipped playground just behind the village hall, and for all ages, a pleasant circular walk along the river takes you past the community sculpture of The Stell – a stone settee with a tale to tell!