Buying a new home in the North East? Here are some of the most charming walks in the area
Since recent Covid-19 lockdown rules have been imposed, most of our activities are now restricted. One thing that can still be enjoyed safely is walking around your local area and admiring the natural beauty that you may not usually have the spare time to do.
Enjoy the outdoors
Perhaps you need a little break from working at home or simply a moment to relax, by getting outside and having a stroll around your neighbourhood it can immediately help you feel more connected to the nature around you. Regularly enjoying some fresh air is beneficial to not only your physical health but also your mental health. By getting outside during these challenging times it could help you relax and clear your mind.
Walking alone or with members of your household is allowed within the lockdown guidelines, and if you live alone, meeting one other person outside is also permitted but wearing a mask and social distancing is encouraged.
Non-essential travel is not permitted by the new government rules, so whenever the restrictions ease and we are allowed to travel to different destinations for recreational purposes, some of the following natural attractions should be at the top of your list.
Admire the captivating beauty of High Force
A moderate six and a half mile walk stretches neatly alongside the River Tees leading to the breathtaking waterfall ‘High Force’, which is located in Forest-in-Teesdale. During this beautiful trail, you will encounter the region’s rich greenery, ancient juniper woodland and fascinating geology.
Starting at the Bowlees Visitor Centre then following across to the Pennine Way National Trail, you’ll reach Low Force first. This is a smaller waterfall just downstream of High Force.
When you eventually reach High Force, you are sure to be impressed by the spectacular sight. Pouring over a dolerite rock which formed approximately 295 million years ago, it drops 21 metres into a plunge pool below. This waterfall is one of the most impressive and powerful natural attractions of the North East.
The gentle and pretty woodland walk leading you to this natural waterfall is certainly refreshing and mind clearing, just be careful if the weather isn’t good as the terrain may be slippery.
Find out more about High Force and its surrounding area here.
Hadrian’s Wall is rich with history
The English Heritage site of Hadrian’s Wall stretches 73 miles from the East to West coast. The wall was built to guard the north west frontier of the Roman Empire. Today you can explore the it’s rich history and dramatic landscape at over twenty different sites across the length of the wall.
The Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail is the famous 84-mile long-distance footpath which follows the wall as it snakes along ridges and hills. The entire path actually takes around seven days to complete and there are campsites dotted around the area if you fancied tackling the whole route.
If 84 miles sounds too long, then there are many shorter walks suitable for all abilities to enjoy where tracks weave through the picture-perfect countryside.
Starting in Wallsend, Newcastle upon Tyne and ending in Bowness-on-Solway on the North West coast, the whole path is a fantastic experience, but the shorter routes based just in the North East are equally as enjoyable. The shorter walks can be completed in only a few hours, meaning that camping is not necessary.
Rich in history and interesting artefacts, if you love to learn about England’s past and fancy a refreshing walk, a day trip to Hadrian’s Wall is an excellent idea after lockdown.
Hardwick Park is the ideal family walking destination
For a family friendly outdoor stroll, Hardwick Park is a brilliant destination for children of all ages.
Located in Sedgefield, Stockton-on-Tees, this park has a 17 acre lake, which is home to many swans and geese, a children’s playground, many different walking routes and fascinating historic archaeological remains.
The 18th century parkland features beautiful views, rich heritage and ecological diversity; the perfect place for your family to visit for a fresh, energising walk. You can take a picnic whilst the cafe is currently closed, however when Hardwick Park is fully open again, come back and enjoy the full experience with access to the visitor centre and treat yourself to coffee and cake in the cafe.
The South Shields to Sunderland Coastal Path provides stunning views out to the North Sea
Take part in the nine mile point-to-point trail which is accessible for all skill levels, located parallel to the coastline with picturesque views along the entire walk.
You could start at either South Shields or Sunderland and make your way along this relatively flat coastal path. It will take approximately four hours to complete the entire route, so if you have lots of energy and enjoy walking, this is a great place to take in the scenery and get some exercise.
Many cafes and restaurants can be found along the way, perfect for a pit stop or a well-deserved reward at the end. Walking here would be beautiful on a warm spring day, so hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy this route next year, accompanied with a cup of coffee and some lunch from one of the local cafes once they reopen.
Enjoy the natural beauty of Northumberland by walking from Craster to Dunstanburgh
In Northumberland, this four mile loop is definitely one of the most beautiful short walks in the region.
Starting in Craster, you can follow the path to Dunstanburgh Castle and back (two miles each way) whilst appreciating the beautiful coastline and wildlife. This walk is also dog friendly, unlike some other National Trust sites.
Flat terrain makes this route easy for walkers of all abilities and by following the coastal pathway, it’s difficult to get lost.
There are several points along the path where you can access the stone beach which is fun for children to explore or simply to take in the beautiful seaside surroundings. This coastline is also excellent for spotting wildlife - dolphins and seals are commonly seen, but there has recently been sightings of killer whales too!
Once you reach Dunstanburgh Castle, you have the option to turn back or head across to Low Newton, which offers a beautiful sandy beach and a pub overlooking the shore.
This coastal destination is perfect for a summer day out, where you could enjoy a picnic overlooking the sea. The castle is also open to visitors, but due to the current situation you must pre-book online.
Sutton Bank offers the finest view in England
Located just outside of the North East in the Hambleton District of the North York Moors, you will find Sutton Bank. From the top, you can appreciate the extensive views over the Vale of York and the Vale of Mowbray.
Vet and author James Herriot declared the exquisite view from the cliff top of Sutton Bank escarpment the ‘finest in England’. So why not venture out to the top of the bank and blow away the cobwebs with a walk or cycle ride?
Fear not, you don’t have to walk 978ft to reach the top of Sutton Bank, you can drive up to the car park located next to the visitor and cycle hire centre (which is currently closed until further notice) and start your journey along one of one of the many routes available.
One unique aspect of Sutton Bank is that it’s an official ‘Dark Sky Discovery Site’, one of three in the North York Moors. This means that it’s one of the best places in the country to see stars, because of the low levels of light pollution and clear horizons. In the darkest areas of the National Park you’re able to spot up to 2,000 stars at a time.
Overall, we think this small handful of places would make great destinations to visit once this imminent lockdown period has ended. All offering something completely different, but each linked by one thing in common; the natural beauty of the North East. Each location is a breath of fresh air and would make great day (or night) trips in the coming year.
For now though, you can enjoy the nature of your local area, look forward to what’s possible in the future and plan where you would like to visit.