Exploring the most Picturesque & Historic parts of England
The Northumberland National Park is surely Northumberland's special blessing. It is an area of wild, desolate moorland and dark, gloomy forest occupying 400 sqare miles of land which stretches from Hadrians Wall to the glorious Cheviots in the bloody, battle scarred, borders of Scotland. Once, long ago the ancient hills and valleys of the borders were crippled with strife as waring bandits fought for control. All that is long gone but relics remain in the many ruinous fortified farms and look out towers strewn throughout the National Park.
The cheviot hills are low in comparison to the pennines, they rise to only 2,674ft but dominate the landscape in the north. The pennine way, continues its torcherous climb along the east side of the National Park while in the south, Hadrians Wall, now a World Heritage Site, runs from west to east in the lower regions of the park. Not a great deal of this famous landmark remains and interest is focused on the forts built to protect and strenghen the walls. For a not too onerous stroll and wonderful views Hadrians wall provides an ideal vantage point.
This is the most northerly of England's National Parks and was designated as a protected area in 1956. Since this time it has been a favoured haunt of artists who strive to imprint the magical moorland and woodland scenery onto canvas.
Of the forests in the park, Kielder is a sprawling man made forest but is perhaps the most beautiful. It has 125 acres of conifers and a rich habitat of wildlife. Sparkling little streams enliveded with glistening rocks thread through the forest, creating a beautiful picture of quiet enchantment and serenity. Kielder Water, is the largest man made lake in Europe and offers a range of activities including fishing for trout and sailing. There are gentle walks around the lake and for those who enjoy the water but are less independent, there is a passenger pleasure craft offering trips on the water.
Few national parks have so many historic castles, abbeys, grand and historic houses and churches. The village of Bellingham has a 12th-century church while Alston, said to be the highest market town in England has stone houses and steeply rising cobbled streets. Naworth Castle lies close to Hadrians Wall, it was built in 1335 and modernised to provide an elegant, comfortable mansion in the 17th-century. The castle is open to the public and contains many treasures. The Duke of Northumberland built Kielder Castle in the late 18th-century. It stands close to some of the finest walks in the forest and contains a visitors centre. Ditches are all that remains of an old roman fort built in Whitley Castle in the 2nd-century. Lanercost Priory was built in 1166 and suffered severe damage at the hands of Scottish raiders. The landscape of the Northumberland National Park is littered with reminders of its ancient past and those named are but a few. There are delightful market towns and little hamlets all with a unique history of their own, such as Kilhope, once a centre for mining and now with a visitors centre showing mining throughout the ages.
The rich scenery is as diverse as it is beautiful. Rugged moorland fringes the northern territories of the Park where the Cheviot and Preston Hill rise as if to declare their supremecy over lesser and more gentle hills. Barrow Burn is beautiful, so too, is the River Alwin. The River Rede tumbles through Rochester and Horsley and in the valley below the River North Tyne snakes its way towards Redesmouth and Bellingham.
Peaceful valleys offer much pleasure to visitors, anglers converge into the Coquet Valley to fish for trout and salmon while others head for Armathwaite, a pretty village in the valley of the Eden offering pleasant walks taking in an ancient church and the tower of a riverside castle built into a Georgian mansion. The turbulent Aln, Wandsbeck and Blyth have an alure of their own and continue to enchant, as do the isolated farmsteads and ancient stone villages.
In spite of the variety of interest and the hauntingly beautiful scenery, the Northumberland National Park is the least visited and the least populated of all the National Parks. Perhaps, for the walker, botanist and the artist, this very loneliness is the attraction. Unusually, most of the Northumberland National Park is either owned by the Ministry of Defence or is still in private ownership. For over fifty years these collective owners have watched over and cared for the Northumberland National Park, ensuring its treasures and its beauty are there for posterity. Long may they continue to do so.
Please upload your photos of Northumberland National Park or see below for towns & villages near Northumberland National Park and a list of other nearby attractions to visit.
in the county of Northumberland(9.4 miles, 15.2 km, direction S)
The market town of Bellingham sits on one of Northumberland's prettiest stretches of water, the north bank of the River North Tyne...
in the county of Northumberland(11.2 miles, 18.0 km, direction E)
This pretty village straggles the banks of the sparkling River Coquet. It is a lively invigorating place, lying amidst the stunning countryside of Simonside, a 1,409 foot high peak...
in the county of Northumberland(14.7 miles, 23.7 km, direction W)
This small historic village lies at the northernmost edge of Kielder Water, it takes its name from the Kielder Burn the stream that links with the Deadwater Burn to form the North Tyne River...
in the county of Northumberland(17.6 miles, 28.3 km, direction SE)
This is an historic village, it took its name from a Baron de Bolam in the 13th century...
in the county of Northumberland(18.8 miles, 30.3 km, direction S)
The village of Wall lies in the high uplands of Northumberland in spacious countryside bordered by the rivers South Tyne and North Tyne, close to Chester's Fort on historic Hadrian's Wall...All towns in Northumberland
The clearly defined peaks of the glorious Cheviot Hills dominate the western side of the border territory as it juts boldly out.....
Ancient cup-and-ring marked outcrop and Iron Age hillfort in Northumberland National Park..
It would be hard to find a more pleasant and peaceful place than Rothbury. This enchanting little market town sits splendidly.....